While we plan to run Confirmation and Clearing in a similar way to previous years, we will, as always, be looking to make enhancements wherever possible. Here’s a round-up of all things new for 2021.

Introducing Clearing Plus

Students who find themselves in Clearing can view a list of courses they've personally been matched to in Track – alongside our search tool, which contains over 30,000 course options. 

How will it work?

If your students find themselves unplaced, there are still plenty of universities and colleges looking for students just like them. Clearing Plus means finding the right alternative has never been easier:

  1. If students find themselves in Clearing, there will be a new 'View matches' button in Track.
  2. Once they click this they can start browsing courses they've been matched to based on their application and the type of students universities and colleges have told us they're looking for. Student lists are dynamic and will update as their application updates – for example, when they get their grades, and depending on the spaces universities and colleges have remaining.  
  3. If they find a course they want to be considered for, they should click the 'I'm interested' button and their details will be passed to the relevant university/college.
  4. If the university or college still has places, they may reach out to discuss things further and make an offer.
  5. If your students receive an offer, they just need to add it as a Clearing choice in Track so their place can be confirmed.

Although Clearing Plus is designed to enhance the process of finding another place, it’s important unplaced students remain proactive – they can still also use our search tool to browse all official Clearing vacancies and contact universities and colleges directly to discuss options, as they usually would in Clearing.

Want to know more? Here are our five things you need to know.

Awarding of results

As you’ll know, the summer exam series hasn’t taken place and grades will be awarded differently. We’re closely monitoring the situation and have collated information on how the UK is intending to award results on our coronavirus hub.  

Although the process for awarding grades may be different, the admissions process to confirm your students’ places will remain broadly similar to previous years. We're expecting to receive the assessed results from many awarding bodies and we will process those in the normal way and pass them on to the universities and colleges to confirm places during the results embargo period (see below for timings).

EU and international students receiving calculated/teacher assessed grades should follow the normal processes and confirm their results with their chosen universities and colleges. There is more information for international students on our coronavirus hub.

Embargo timings

JCQ and SQA have changed their 2020 results embargo timings for 2021. The results embargo is the period before UK results day, where universities and colleges are given early access to embargoed teacher/centre-assessed grades. This allows them to prepare and make decisions ahead of the official publication date of exam results (10 August 2021 for the whole of the UK). It also gives you, as teachers, advisers, and exam centres, time to plan for the publication dates. 

The JCQ results embargo period for 2021:

  • 12 noon on 4 August to 08:30 10 August

Once the results embargo has lifted at 08:30 (UK time) on UK results day, Tuesday 10 August:

  • students can access Track to check the status of their UCAS application
  • you and your colleagues will be able to access the adviser portal to see how your students have done
  • universities and colleges can start contacting applicants and are able to discuss an individual’s status with them

'Decline my place'

Last year over 40,000 applicants used the functionality to withdraw from their confirmed place and used the ‘decline my place’ button in Track to release themselves into Clearing – saving time and giving them direct control over their application.

The same functionality will be available again this year for all placed applicants – and we'll also be capturing the reasons students release in Track, to provide greater insight.

In case you need it, here’s a recap on how it works:

  • In Track, applicants click the ‘Decline my place’ button on their homepage.
  • They’re taken to a page which explains what they’re about to do, and a drop-down question which they must complete – this is where we’ll capture their reason for releasing – before confirming.
  • The applicant will then receive an email to confirm they’re in Clearing, and advising them to phone the university or college they declined if they’ve made a mistake.

As in previous years, if applicants want to stay at the same university or college but swap the course they’re studying, they should contact the provider as they may be able to arrange the swap without declining their place.

Our partnership with BBC Bitesize

This year, students will be looking for information and advice online more than ever. Our exciting new partnership with BBC Bitesize means students will have access to enhanced information and advice in more places, as they continue their application journey outside school or college. We’ll let you know more about this in the coming weeks.