Universities chastised for unconditional offers to pupils

School pupils are being told by universities that they don’t need to finish their A-levels, it has been claimed, as Bill Watkin, chief executive of the Sixth-Form Colleges’ Association, has warned of the “unhelpful” impact on schools and colleges of unconditional offers, which promise university places to pupils regardless of their A-level results, writes Alix Robertson for Schools Week.

Speaking at the Festival of Higher Education at the University of Buckingham, Watkin chastised universities for their recruitment tactics, and said the sixth-form sector is “finding it extremely unhelpful to have so many unconditional offers made to their students”. After the talk, Watkin told Schools Week that sixth-form pupils are “increasingly the subject of persuasive strategies” from universities, including lowering entry requirements and offering funded places to attract more students.

Watkin said some universities are now setting a lower bar in terms of entry level criteria – so perhaps BBB instead of AAB – and even offering to cover a student’s first year tuition costs. The Office for Students, the new universities’ regulator, is investigating unconditional offers after the number of such offers issued to 18-year-olds in England increased by 17 times in just four years.
Full report on the Schools Week site