Universities 'handing out unconditional offers like confetti' – sixth form principal says

William Baldwin, principal of BHASVIC
William Baldwin, principal of BHASVIC

The principal of a Brighton and Hove sixth form has said universities are handing out unconditional offers like ‘confetti’.

This comes as Brighton, Hove & Sussex Sixth Form College (BHASVIC) announced it had achieved its best ever A-Level results yesterday (August 16), despite more difficult exams.

Mr Baldwin with students at BHASVIC on results day

Mr Baldwin with students at BHASVIC on results day

William Baldwin, principal of BHASVIC, said: “Universities pressed for change in A-Level delivery, they said A-Levels weren’t preparing students for higher education which is why the government moved towards the change in specification to linear delivery, with exams at the end of two years, and now universities are handing out unconditional offers like confetti.

“Unconditional offers have gone up 1600 per cent since 2014, so what I find disheartening is that those that were pushing for the change to linearity are now ignoring the results of that in the interests of their finances.

“I understand it’s a competitive world but our students have had to work against a backdrop of unconditional offers which could demotivate them as a result.”

In terms of funding for Post-16 education, Mr Baldwin added: “We’re doing all of this on £4000 per student per year. That is a figure that hasn’t changed since 2013 which is a very long time.

“The government must do something about this and I believe it should be at the forefront of change.”

Yesterday BHAVIC recorded a 99.4 per cent pass rate, with 90 per cent of grades at A* to C.

Mr Baldwin said: “Exam results this year are astonishing at BHASVIC, we are absolutely over the moon with them. All in all, it’s a bumper crop this year and I am pinching myself.

“They’re the highest results we have ever recorded, and when given the backdrop of linearity and changes to specifications, it’s incredible.”

This comes after substantial changes to the A-Level exam system. From 2017, students have been made to sit all their A-Level exams at the end of two years of study, instead of taking modular exams throughout the course.

The change was brought in by the Government with the intention of making exams harder for students to prepare them for higher education.

Mr Baldwin said: “This is what makes this all the more remarkable really, linearity means students take all their exams at the end of two years with less coursework components, and our results have gone up, our pass rates have gone up, our high grades have gone up.

“We’ve worked incredibly hard to make sure we have got the delivery of those courses right.

“We’re also really lucky in the sense that our students have brought with them a learning culture where they’re ready to learn and succeed; we’ve got a recipe here now where it’s a virtuous cycle of students coming, knowing that if they work hard they will get good results.

“We have to remember that for some students just turning up for college is an achievement against a backdrop of mental health issues, dysfunctional homes and so on. So, let's not lose sight of that within the educational sphere, exam results definitely don’t capture everything.”

Brighton and Hove 'way ahead of the national average' for top A-Level grades
A-Levels: Record-breaking results for BHASVIC