Admissions tutor at Worcester College, Oxford, explains why they accepted all placeholders

14 August 2020, 20:10 | Updated: 14 August 2020, 20:11

By Kate Buck

An Oxford College admissions tutor has explained why they have taken every student who was offered a place despite the outcome of this year's A-levels.

Professor Laura Ashe, Tutor for Admissions at Worcester College, Oxford, told LBC's Rachel Johnson that "it seemed wrong" that those whose grades were pulled down by the previous performance of their school should suffer.

Thousands of students were left gutted on Thursday after their A-levels were downgraded by a government algorithm, which meant many have been forced to miss their university places.

But the college announced today that every UK-placeholder who was offered a spot will be admitted to study.

"In a normal year we over offer a bit and we assume that some people won't make their grades and then we don't accept them," Prof Ashe said.

"But when A-levels were cancelled and we realised this was going to mean that none of these students were going to actually be taking these exams we felt that we weren't going to have any new information that reflected directly on their ability or their potential.

The admissions college at Oxford
The admissions college at Oxford. Picture: PA

"So we took the view at that point that we were going to need to find a way to make places for all these people."

Prof Ashe added that the algorithm the government has used has made it unfair for bright students from traditionally low-performing schools.

"Groups of students that were underrepresented at Oxford, students who come from more disadvantaged backgrounds were disproportionately affected by this year's grades," she said.

"It was announced just quite recently by Ofqual that the prior performance of schools was going to play a key role in how that grades were calculated and that means if someone is the brightest person their school has ever seen their grade was going to be pulled down by the fact other people in earlier years hasn't performed as well.

"And that seemed wrong for us."

Listen to the full exchange in the video above.

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