Leading UK universities have been forced to turn away hundreds of talented students due to an excessive flow of applications. The volume of applicants has exceeded all expectations. Consequently, British students, who until recently had hoped to receive a place in one of the top universities, have been left without any opportunity to gain a higher education this year.
The British education system is overburdened with applications due to the high school "A- Level" system of assessment. In 2021, the number of students who passed all exams and gained the highest "A-level" results broke all records. According to university rules, they are obligated to enrol all the students who meet their educational standards. As a result, universities such as Oxford and Cambridge, the country's leading universities, were physically unprepared for such an influx of top-class students. Limited teaching staff, a shortage of places in dormitories, and even a lack of classroom capacity meant that they could not enrol all applicants.
In 2020, a similar situation occurred connected to the A-levels system of assessment: universities could barely cope with the flow of applications and enrolled 20-30% more students than they had originally planned. Additionally, several of last year's failed applicants are expected to be registered in 2021. Universities have had to break their promises to be able to cope with the current flow of applications. As a result, not only the 2021 graduates were affected, but also the 2020 ones who had been waiting their turn for admission..
According to education experts, the failure of the A-levels system for this year and in 2020 is because exams were cancelled due to COVID-19. Most schools awarded students grades based on their overall performance, which has led to higher results.
"The educational impact of the pandemic has resulted in a stratification of the education system and inequality. Students from poor backgrounds who rely on a budget and need to find a university in less expensive locations are in a really difficult situation," said Peter Lample, founder of the Sutton Foundation. He has referred all students who have not yet received their university places to UCAS, which manages UK university applications. Soon, UCAS’s primary objective will be to help students find a free educational programme that matches their interests.