Coronavirus update

We’re closely monitoring the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), to ensure we do all we can to help students with their applications.

Latest update (22 May)

Today, UCAS sent a letter from the Minister for Higher Education, Diane Dodds MLA, to applicants in Northern Ireland. This includes an update on the options available to students.

For your reference, here’s a copy of what we emailed them.

On 4 May, UCAS also sent a letter from the Universities Minister, Michelle Donelan, to applicants in England. This included an update on Government support to students and universities. 

Here’s a copy of what we emailed them.

The Welsh Government also issued a policy statement outlining their ongoing support for universities and students.

Results days for 2020

A level results day has been confirmed, and SQA is working to ensure students receive their results by 4 August.

On 16 April, the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, announced that A level results in England will be released on 13 August 2020, with GCSE results to follow on 20 August.

Pearson has also now confirmed its results day will be 13 August – the same day as A level results day.

SQA is in regular discussion with UCAS and universities to help students progress on to the next stage of their education or employment, and are working to ensure they receive their results by 4 August.

On Wednesday 8 April, we hosted a webinar to discuss immediate changes to the 2020 cycle and some early insight as to changes in applicant and provider behaviour. You can listen back to the webinar here.

Ofqual (the examinations regulator) has now shared further details on how grades will be calculated for A levels, Extended Project Qualifications (EPQ), Advanced Extension Awards (AEA) in maths, and GCSEs.

The process outlined will ensure a set of fair and justifiable examination results are awarded for everyone affected by the examination and assessment cancellations. The announcement from Ofqual provides further information as to how and when students’ grades will be awarded to them by their examining body. What is important to note is that the grades awarded will be regulated and should be treated in the same way as in previous years.

Clare Marchant, UCAS’ Chief Executive, said: ‘It’s essential for their future education and careers that students receive a set of fair and justifiable examination results. The processes outlined by Ofqual today will do exactly that.

‘The best available evidence in the extraordinary circumstances we are all in will be used to calculate regulated grades that will stay with students for years to come.

‘For those applying to higher education, we expect them to be treated fairly and consistently, and universities and colleges to consider these grades in the same way as any qualifications from previous years.’

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The Scottish Qualifications Authority has provided an important update regarding the awarding of qualifications for 2020.

This includes the process on how estimated grades will be determined.

SQA is in regular discussions with UCAS, Colleges Scotland, and Universities Scotland, to help students progress on to the next stage of their education or employment.

SQA has said they are working to ensure students receive their grades no later than 4 August 2020. UCAS expects these qualifications to be treated the same as any other grade issued in any other year, and for the normal Confirmation and Clearing process to run broadly the same as it did last year.

Qualifications Wales has also shared an important update on how grades will be calculated for GCSEs, AS, A level, and Skills Challenge Certificate.

For every qualification, each school will be required to submit:

  • a centre assessment grade for each student. This is the professional judgement of the subject teachers about the grade that the student is most likely to have achieved if they had sat exams this summer.  
  • the rank order of students within each grade, for each qualification.

This is to ensure that students receive a fair and justifiable grade. Again, as this is a regulated grade, you should treat these grades the same as any other grade achieved in previous years.

2020 cycle decision-making

UCAS Undergraduate

On 23 March, the Government asked providers in England to stop making unconditional offers or amending existing offers to students for two weeks. A further announcement from Michelle Donelan, Universities Minister, and the letter from the Office for Students called for an extension of the unconditional offer-making moratorium for England until 20 April – with the only exceptions being applicants who have already achieved their Level 3 or equivalent qualification.

Kirsty Williams, the Welsh Education Minister, and Economy Minister Diane Dodds in Northern Ireland, have also written to providers within their jurisdictions to request an extended moratorium.

To give everyone more time to gain clarity on the new processes for awarding qualifications and to give students more time to consider their options, we have extended the upcoming May undergraduate offer deadlines for universities and students by two weeks. 

UCAS Teacher Training

Changes to rolling decision dates

UCAS Teacher Training and the Department for Education (DfE) have agreed that all reject by default and decline by default dates for will now be paused by a further six weeks, which means that no offers will be declined or applications rejected until Monday 1 June.

Guidance for teacher training providers in England

The Department for Education (DfE) has issued guidance for initial teacher training (ITT) providers in England on the delivery of ITT and recruitment for programmes in the 2020 cycle. The published ITT criteria and supporting advice has also been updated; both guidance documents may be amended or updated further where necessary. The DfE has confirmed that recruitment will continue and asked providers to consider how to adapt their processes so they can complete elements such as interviews and assessments. 

The DfE has also shared guidance for applicants, which covers advice around aspects such as school experience, interviews, and funding.

Guidance for teacher training providers in Wales

The Welsh Government has issued temporary guidance for Initial Teacher Education (ITE) partnerships. It has confirmed that recruitment for the 2020 cycle will continue, and given details of a revised process to support this.

Updated on 17 March 2020

Impact on UCAS events  

We have taken the decision to postpone  all UCAS higher education exhibitions until 31 July.

The UCAS Media employer breakfast event on Monday 23 March has also been postponed.  

The Admissions Conference on 27-28 April and the International Teachers’ and Advisers’ Conference on 4-5 June have been cancelled.

These decisions have been made to protect the health and wellbeing of those attending, and we are currently working to notify all those affected. 

Impact on international qualifications   

English language test centres may be temporarily closed, but some tests might be available online: 

Assessment arrangements and availability of results for international qualifications may also be subject to change.

More information can be found on the websites of the international awarding bodies below:

Applicants have until 7 September to meet the academic conditions of their offers. Therefore, possible delays to publication of exam results until then should not impact their places being confirmed. 

UCAS remains committed to supporting our colleagues across higher education

We’ve launched a new engagement package for higher education providers, to support the sector with recruitment. The package will help you build and establish connections, and will complement the outreach and marketing you’re already doing.

Find out more about the engagement package.

We’ll continue to update information on, including: 

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