University chiefs want change to unconditional offers

Unconditional offers are “reducing the motivation and quality” of sixth-form education and lead too many students to the wrong university or degree, according to several college leaders in the United Kingdom, writes Rosemary Bennett for The Times.

In a letter to The Times, they call for sweeping changes to the widespread practice of making unconditional offers on the proviso that a student makes the university their firm choice. The group, which includes the principal of King’s College London and the vice-chancellors of Brunel, Buckingham and Hertfordshire universities, says that these offers skew students’ choices of university. A number of school leaders, including heads of academy chains and independent schools, also signed the letter.

According to UCAS, the university admissions service, there was a twenty-fold increase in the number of unconditional offers between 2013 and 2018, from 2,985 to 67,915. One in four pupils now receives at least one, which means that to take up that place they do not even need to sit their A-level exams. The Office for Students is examining the practice and UCAS will publish a league table in January of which institutions are offering the most free passes.
Full report on The Times site