Numbers cap lifted on student doctors after A-level fiasco

Cap on number of students allowed on medicine, dentistry and veterinary science courses will be lifted to give pupils a lifeline after A-levels fiasco

  • Caps on medicine, dentistry and veterinary science courses have been lifted 
  • The Department for Education also pledged extra funding to help universities
  • More applicants to these high-cost courses will be able to enrol this year or next 

A cap on the number of students allowed places on medicine, dentistry, veterinary science and teaching courses will be lifted – in a lifeline for pupils affected by the exams debacle.

The Department for Education also pledged extra funding to help universities afford to teach increased numbers of students after grades were boosted.

The move means applicants to these high-cost, competitive courses will be able to enrol this year or next, after universities said they may run out of capacity.

A cap on the number of students allowed places on medicine, dentistry, veterinary science and teaching courses will be lifted in a lifeline for pupils affected by the exams debacle

Universities minister Michelle Donelan said: ‘I am delighted that the Government and the higher education sector have agreed that all students who achieved the required grades will be offered a place at their first-choice university.

‘I want universities to do all they can to take them on this year or offer alternative courses or deferred places where required.’ 

She added: ‘This pandemic has highlighted more than ever the importance of our fantastic healthcare services and the need to invest in them.’

Universities minister Michelle Donelan said: ‘I am delighted that the Government and the higher education sector have agreed that all students who achieved the required grades will be offered a place at their first-choice university

Universities have been struggling to deal with the potential moves of 15,000 students, who now could revert to their first-choice destinations after initially missing out when they were awarded botched Ofqual grades. 

The sector welcomed the announcement, but warned that more investment was needed to help universities deal with the shock.

Alistair Jarvis, chief executive of Universities UK, said: ‘The policy U-turn on A-levels has created significant challenges for universities caused by late movement of students between institutions. 

‘Government now needs to urgently confirm funding both to ensure the financial stability of institutions suffering from a loss of students, and to offer further support to maintain and build capacity where needed.’

Dr Tim Bradshaw, head of the elite Russell Group of universities, added: ‘The Government’s decision today to provide additional funding for high-cost courses, such and chemistry and physics, and to lift the number caps on specialist courses, including medicine and dentistry, is a very positive step which will allow us to increase capacity and help more students to benefit from a high quality education.’ 

Universities said they will honour all offers to students who fulfil the criteria with their new grades – but they may need to wait a year if the course is already full.

Students can ‘self-release’ through UCAS if they have already accepted an offer from a second-choice destination, and revert back to their first preference. 

The Government has already lifted the overall student numbers cap in response to the results fiasco.

Ofqual yesterday confirmed that A-level grades have surged to record highs after the U-turn.

An incredible 40.9 per cent of Further Maths students were given an A*, up from 24 per cent last year, while 53.1 per cent of classical subjects students got an A or A*, and 58.3 of German students achieved an A or A* – up from 40.4 per cent.

The proportion of A-level entries receiving an A or higher also increased to a record high of 38.1 per cent for England, from 25.2 per cent last year.

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