A record number of students have been accepted to UK degree courses this year, Ucas figures show.
In total, 435,430 students have had places confirmed on an undergraduate course in the UK, up 5 per cent on the same point last year, according to data published by the university admissions service.
It comes as students were at home opening their A-level results, on the second year of grades based on teacher-assessment rather than examinations due to the pandemic.
A record 395,770 students have been accepted on their first choice full-time undergraduate course in the UK, up 8 per cent from 365,500 in 2020.
The figures come on the day that students across England, Wales and Northern Ireland are receiving their A-level results, and students across Scotland are receiving their Highers results.
Overall, 388,230 people from across the UK have had places confirmed. This is an 8 per cent increase on results day last year.
Gavin Williamson could not guarantee that summer exams will return next year, despite concerns of record grade inflation on Tuesday.
The proportion of A-levels graded A or higher leapt from 25.5 per cent in 2019 to 38.5 per cent in 2020, after the Government adopted a last-minute change to the way exams were assessed during a chaotic results day. This year’s grade inflation is expected to be even higher.
But the Education Secretary insisted grades had been awarded on a “rigorous” basis, adding that despite the disruption to education “they have still achieved so very much and employers can have real confidence in the grades that they get”.
Mr Williamson also raised the prospect that teacher assessment could continue next year, telling Sky News: “In a few weeks time as we go back to the winter period, we will be doing another extensive consultation about contingency, which will largely be based on teacher assessed grades.
“I very much hope we will be moving into more normal patterns from next year… We are planning to move back to exams as part of assessment but always have to have contingency plans.”
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