Every part of society has been impacted by Covid-19, but its longest lasting effects may well be on the young, with those due to sit GCSEs and A levels, or equivalent, this summer amongst those most affected.
As well as facing almost a year of disruption to their studies as a consequence of the initial closure of schools and more recently whole year groups being placed into isolation, they also face continuing uncertainty around the forthcoming A-level cycle.
In order to support sixth-form students due to sit their exams in the UK next summer and help ensure they are not disadvantaged compared with those who sat their exams before Covid as well as future cohorts, the University of Birmingham has announced that it will be introducing additional flexibility around its admissions approach this year. This will involve reducing the entry requirements across the majority of its undergraduate degree programmes by one grade.
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, Professor Sir David Eastwood said: “We recognise the need to adapt our admissions approach for this year given the extraordinary disruption affecting these students and their schools and the fact that many are likely to experience more than a year of interrupted learning by the time they sit their exams next summer.
“We have considered what we can do as a University to recognise and reward potential, mitigate some of the educational challenges as result of Covid, and reduce some of the pressure on students and teachers at this challenging time. Providing greater flexibility in our admissions for 2021 entry is one such area. Reducing the entry requirements for almost all of our programmes by one grade will, we hope, alleviate some of the anxieties and ensure that anyone who chooses to apply to study at the University of Birmingham is given the best opportunity to succeed in that ambition.”
The headline adjustment to entry grades will be applied across the majority of programmes. It will also be applied to any widening participation applicants at the University of Birmingham such as through the Pathways to Birmingham programme or contextual offer-making. In implementing this change the University also recognises the wider need to review university admissions nationally in order to develop a more effective admissions system that puts the needs of students front and centre.
The programmes that are not included are Medicine, Dentistry and Dental Hygiene, Nursing, Physiotherapy, and Social Work, where there is external regulation, as well as the University’s Foundation Year and degree apprenticeship programmes.