Birmingham introduces 1000 unconditional offers

The University of Birmingham has launched an initiative that involves offering unconditional offers to A-level students who have been predicted top grades by their teachers in a bi...

The University of Birmingham has launched an initiative that involves offering unconditional offers to A-level students who have been predicted top grades by their teachers in a bid to attract the best possible students.

Predicted grades are usually based on GCSE and AS level results. 1000 unconditional offers are expected to be given across a range of 12 subjects with the University usually taking in around 4300 students each year. The move comes after it was revealed last year that the number of university applicants had dropped by 8.7%.

However, University Vice-Chancellor Professor David Eastwood told The Telegraph that ‘the issue here is less about filling our quotas and more about attracting the best possible students to a highly-selective university.’

'We believe that the effect of this is that they will do better in the summer.'
Professor Eastwood went on to say that the University’s offer will motivate students to do even better in their A-level exams, adding ‘it’s a time when there are lots of pressures on young people and we are trying to take some of those pressures off. We believe that the effect of this is that they will do better in the summer. They have already got very strong performance in the bag and we think there is no danger of them coasting.’

Guild President David Franklin commented, ‘This may provide an answer to some short-term recruitment anxieties, but I question whether students will still be motivated to get top grades with an unconditional offer. It would be a shame if, by removing over 1000 ‘conditional’ places, this strategy works to the detriment of students with lower predictions who then overachieve in their exams. I also question how this might work in the future if other universities follow suit or whether grade predictions will become inflated if school teachers seek to take advantage of such a strategy.’

Yet these unconditional offers have failed to convince everyone offered. A-level student Dan Lawrence wants to study Economics and was given an unconditional offer. Having already told the University of Birmingham on the phone recently that he was not so interested in coming to Birmingham, he still received an unconditional offer which struck him as ‘somewhat desperate’. Those students accepting the unconditional offer will be expected to name Birmingham as their ‘firm choice’.

He told Redbrick, ‘Birmingham was never high on my list of choices and this hasn't really changed that. I do think it is unfair that I have such a good offer. Why they are sending me this offer, instead of giving it to someone who deserves it more and wants to go to Birmingham is beyond me.’

'Many pupils will have less motivation to work for their A-levels and it is likely to have an adverse effect on results.'
Ben Gallick, a maths teacher at a secondary school in Hertfordshire, spoke to Redbrick stating, ‘if they have an unconditional offer, many pupils will have less motivation to work for their A-levels and it is likely to have an adverse effect on results. Predicted grades are a very accurate reflection on ability 95% of the time but it does occasionally throw up an anomaly.’

SHARE

Zak Bentley



Published

15th March 2013



Photography by

Millie Guy



Share