A-level results 2022 LIVE: Second highest ever number of students accepted onto university courses

·16 min read
A-level results 2022 LIVE: Second highest ever number of students accepted onto university courses

Near-record numbers of students have been accepted onto courses this year, UCAS figures show, although there is a slight drop from last year.

A total of 425,830 people have had places confirmed - the second highest number on record, with A-level results this year once again being based on exams.

In 2021, which saw exams cancelled and teacher-assessed grades used instead, a record 435,430 people had places confirmed.

Ucas said 19% more 18-year-olds in the UK achieved a place at either their first or insurance choice this year, compared with 2019, before the pandemic.

The number of students from the most disadvantaged backgrounds to gain places on courses is 6,850 this year, up by 3,770 in 2019.

The admissions service said this translates to a narrowing of the gap between the most and least advantaged.

In addition to A-level and BTec results, this year is also the first for T-level results, a new type of vocational qualification.

A-level live blog ends

12:14 , Josh Salisbury

Our live coverage of A-level results day is now ending.

For an overview of all the day’s developments, please read our main piece here.

Teenager who commuted from London to Bristol wins Oxford place

12:10 , Josh Salisbury

A teenager who commuted from London to Bristol for A-levels has won a place at Oxford.

When Martha Heaps' family moved from the West Country to Highbury in north London during lockdown, the 18-year-old did not want to disrupt her studies at St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School in Bristol.

So for two years she either studied remotely from her home in Highbury or travelled more than 100 miles to stay with friends in Bristol when she attended classes.

Now the teenager has won a place at Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford, to read mathematics and philosophy after getting A*s in English literature, philosophy, maths and further maths.

“I really wanted to stay here for school," she said. “With Covid-19 it worked out that I was home schooling more in the first year of sixth form.

“The school made allowances so that I could stay more at home and learn remotely."

Deaf students being let down by lack of support at A-level, says charity

11:48 , Josh Salisbury

Deaf students across the country face receiving grades lower than what they could have achieved because of a lack of support, a charity has warned.

Martin McLean, Senior Policy Advisor at the National Deaf Children’s Society said: “Deaf students across the country will be picking up their results today and some will have achieved less than they could have because they didn’t get the right support.

“Last year alone, less than half of deaf students achieved at least two A-levels or equivalent, compared to two thirds of hearing students.

“It’s crucial that they get the support they need and the Government must address this shocking shortfall as part of its ongoing SEND review. Education is a right, not a privilege, and deaf students deserve the same opportunities as everyone else.”

T-level students receive results for first time

11:30 , Josh Salisbury

Students have received their T-level results for the first time ever.

The qualifications, which are equivalent to three A-levels, offer students hands on experience on the job alongside learning at a school or college.

Of the 1,029 pupils receiving their results on Thursday, 92.2% passed, with 31.9% achieving a Distinction and 2.7% were awarded the top grade of a Distinction*.

The first courses started in September 2020 in construction, digital, and education and childcare.

Jo Saxton, chief regulator at exams body Ofqual, said: “This year, students have achieved many well-established vocational qualifications.

“We’re also seeing the first students celebrating the successful completion of T-levels in construction, digital, and education and childcare.

“All these qualifications will help students progress into further and higher education, an apprenticeship or other employment. I wish them all well in their next steps.”

London pupil says generation ‘not treated entirely fair’ over exams disruption

11:14 , Josh Salisbury

Rand El-Shebli, from Battersea in south London, said she felt her generation had not been treated fairly as she opened her A-level results.

The 17-year-old is now going on to study psychology at Queen Mary University of London, after achieving A in media studies, B psychology and B in sociology.

“I was expecting a bit better, but overall I'm happy because for those to be the first exams since SATs, it's a big achievement and everyone should be proud regardless of what they got," she told PA news agency.

“We're the first year to never have sat GCSEs then go straight into A-levels. We did have some help but I feel like it's not entirely fair but overall I think people did get what they deserved."

DfE confirms near record for students getting first choice

11:12 , Josh Salisbury

The Department for Education has confirmed that this year is a near-record year for numbers of students getting their first choice.

It said nearly 180,000 18-year-old students in England have had their place at their first choice of university confirmed.

This is the largest number ever on record for an examination year, and a 20% increase on 2019, when exams were last sat.

“I want to congratulate students getting their results today and say a big thank you to the teachers who helped them get to this point,” said Education Secretary, James Cleverly.

“These students have experienced unprecedented disruption over the last couple of years, and such excellent results are a testament to their resilience and hard work.”

English Lit drops out of top ten A-level choices for first time

11:00 , Josh Salisbury

English literature has fallen out of the top 10 most popular subjects at A-level for the first time.

It saw the biggest drop in candidates for a single subject with more than 1,000 entries, falling by 9.4% from 39,492 in 2021 to 35,791 this year.

The increase in the popularity of geography managed to push English literature out of the top 10.

The top five subject rankings by popularity are unchanged this year, with maths, psychology, biology, chemistry and history remaining the top choices for students.

Under-representation of women in computing A-level subjects ‘serious problem’

10:50 , Josh Salisbury

More needs to be done to tackle barriers preventing more girls from taking Computing and related subjects, a social enterprise has said.

Anna Brailsford, CEO of Code First Girls, which gives free coding courses to girls, said: “This summer, boys made up more than eight in 10 computing A Level entrants.

“Computing had the single biggest gender gap at A Level, closely followed by physics, maths and ICT.

“This serious underrepresentation of women is a huge problem, and we must recognise and dismantle the barriers that are standing in the way of women pursuing these subjects.”

She said that the UK’s tech job market could be worth £30bn by 2025, but there stands to be only one qualified woman for every 115 roles.

“It is clear schools, universities and businesses need to do much more to support women into tech, at every stage of the pipeline,” she said.

UCAS: ‘Don’t panic’ if you haven’t met offer but don’t dither, either

10:25 , Josh Salisbury

UCAS has advised students who have missed their offer to “don’t panic, but don’t dither”.

Edward Peck, the deputy of chair of UCAS, said: “My advice to folk is don’t panic but don’t dither. Consider your options and make that call to the university you want to go to by lunchtime, is what I would do.

“You’ll also get an email from UCAS actually from Clearing plus telling you what the options are that you might want to consider based on your previous choices.”

He advised students to then chat to an advisor at their college or school before hitting the phones to talk to prospective universities.

Education secretary: My A-levels were ‘awful'

10:20 , Josh Salisbury

Asked on BBC Breakfast about his own A-level results, Education Secretary James Cleverly refused to share them, saying they were “awful”.

Mr Cleverly said the grades he received were “genuinely, shockingly, awful,” but that they accurately reflected the effort put in during his sixth-form years.

He said: “I got to university, went into politics and I’m now secretary of state for education, so I managed to get back on the horse as it were”.

Pressed on what the grades were, he said: “Don’t ask me what my results were. I do remember but I’m not going to tell you ... they were awful but I’m not going to tell you”.

Pictured: Students receive their results

10:03 , Josh Salisbury

Students have been pictured up and down the country receiving their A-level results today.

Students at Northwood College for Girls, Northwood, Middlesex, celebrate their A-level results. (Matt Writtle)
Students at Northwood College for Girls, Northwood, Middlesex, celebrate their A-level results. (Matt Writtle)
Hajar Jamal and Rachel Taiwoe (left) at A Level results day at The Harris Academy in Tottenham (Jeremy Selwyn)
Hajar Jamal and Rachel Taiwoe (left) at A Level results day at The Harris Academy in Tottenham (Jeremy Selwyn)
Naima Mohamoud receives her A-level results at Oasis Academy Hadley, Enfield, north London (PA)
Naima Mohamoud receives her A-level results at Oasis Academy Hadley, Enfield, north London (PA)

Student: ‘I’m very happy with results but some of my friends have been disappointed'

09:50 , Josh Salisbury

Among the students receiving their grades today was Alfie Astley, 18, a pupil at Ark Putney Academy in south-west London, who said he was “very happy" with results of A* in geography, A in art and A in biology.

He is now going to Loughborough University, his first choice, to study graphic design, where he will become the first in his family to study for a degree.

Alfie told the PA news agency: "With Covid it was quite strange, in and out of school constantly and with the struggles of online learning.

“It never really felt real until the last few months when the A-levels started and then it was a mad rush to be prepared and sit the exams, as there was a big question over whether we could actually sit the exams.

“I know that some of my friends feel a bit disappointed or frustrated; they've received offers but not getting into their first choice. I'm very grateful that I wasn't negatively impacted by anything that I had no control over, such as grade inflation."

Fierce scramble for places in clearing as top A-level grades fall

09:35 , Josh Salisbury

While numbers of students being accepted onto courses are at near-records, Thursdsay saw a big drop in top A-Level grades amid the return of exams.

Top grades are almost one fifth lower than last year, meaning teenagers now face a scramble to secure university places in one of the most fiercely competitive clearing rounds yet.

Results published on Thursday show that 36.4 per cent of A-Levels were awarded an A or A* – a drop of 8.4 percentage points compared to last year when grades were decided by teacher assessment and reached unprecedented levels.

UCAS chief executive, Clare Marchant, said there are more than 27,000 courses in clearing.

Read our full piece here.

No plans to remove cap on medical students, says education secretary

08:55 , Josh Salisbury

Education Secretary James Cleverly said there are no plans to raise the cap on the number of medical student admissions.

Asked on BBC Radio 4's Today programme why the Government will not lift the cap, he said: "The NHS has always relied significantly on medical professionals from overseas, and I doubt that that will change any time in my lifetime.

“We are recruiting more doctors and more nurses, we are training more homegrown medical talent. That is right. We are seeing those medical professional numbers go up, but, as I say, the nature of those incredibly highly technical vocational medical courses makes them different to other courses."

He later said medical courses in other countries often have “huge" fees for students, adding: “We have chosen to make a different decision. We don't put the financial burden on the students themselves. The Government heavily subsidises courses because the courses themselves are important and that is the trade-off.

"The cap means we don't impose the costs on the students themselves."

Around two-thirds of students getting into first choice, says UCAS boss

08:46 , Josh Salisbury

Around two-thirds of students are getting into their first choice university, UCAS’s chief executive has said.

Speaking to Sky News, Clare Marchant said: “What we’re seeing is a very positive picture compared to 2019.

“We’re seeing around two-thirds of students getting their first place which is just above 2019 actually, and is great.

“But also the number of disadvantaged students progressing to Higher Education, to universities and colleges, has increased since 2019, so 47,000 of them.

“So huge congratulations to everybody … hugely challenging two years and [it’s] to be celebrated”.

More 18-year-olds gained place at first or insurance than in 2019 - UCAS

08:22 , Josh Salisbury

The total number of students accepted on to UK degree courses has decreased slightly on last year, according to initial figures.

Initial figures from Ucas show admissions have decreased by 2 per cent on last year, with 425,830 taking up places so far.

However, 19% more 18 year olds in the UK have gained a place at their firm or insurance choice compared to 2019 - the last time exams were sat.

Some 20,360 students found out today they do not have a place, UCAS said, meaning they are eligible for clearing.

46,850 students from the most disadvantaged backgrounds have been accepted, an increase of 3,770 on 2019.

“Congratulations to everyone who has worked incredibly hard and received their results today,” said UCAS Chief Executive Clare Marchant.

“Throughout this year, there has been much discussion about what the return to examinations would mean for progression to higher education. Today we have seen more students progress compared to the last time students sat exams.

“This year has seen a growth in the number of 18 year olds in the population, which will continue for the remainder of the decade, and creates a more competitive environment for students in the years to come.”

Most will get their first choice, says education secretary

08:07 , Josh Salisbury

The "majority" of students will get their first choice university place, and are not being crowded out by a deferred cohort, the Education Secretary has said.

Asked by BBC Breakfast if deferred applications would lead to more competition for university places, James Cleverly said: "We should remember that there has been an increase in the number of courses, and as you say the number of 18-year-olds has been increasing, but so has the number of university courses.

"Predominantly of course, students are competing with the other people that took exams this year.

Mr Cleverly said there had been a "tighter set of results than last year" with the return of exams, but added: "We have got to remember that the majority of students will probably be getting into their first choice institution, that is incredibly good news."

Around 80,000 fewer top grades predicted this year than 2021

07:51 , Josh Salisbury

There will be around 80,000 fewer top A-level grades this year because of a return to exams, an education professor has predicted.

For the first time since 2019, students sat exams for their A-levels, with 2020 and 2021 seeing record top grades awarded based on teacher assessment.

“Ofqual has told us that this year's top A-level grades will be half-way between what they were in 2019 and those of 2021,” said Professor Alan Smithers, Director of Centre for Education and Employment Research at the University of Buckingham.

“This year then there will be around 80,000 more available than 2019, but 80,000 fewer than in 2021.”

Cohort ‘most disrupted of any since WW2'

07:32 , Josh Salisbury

This year’s cohort for A-level and BTec results are the most disrupted since WW2 as students prepare themselves for a scramble for places, an education union leader has said.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “This cohort has been more disrupted than any since the Second World War.

“They have spent the past two-and-a-half years under the shadow of the pandemic. The impact on results is likely to be uneven depending on how schools, colleges and communities have been affected.”

While most students are expected to get into their first-choice university, many insitutions including those in the Russell Group, are reporting fewer clearing places than in previous years.

Results expected from around 8am

07:26 , Josh Salisbury

Results are typically available in schools or colleges from 8am.

Students should have been told whether they can pick up their results and when by their educational institution or teachers.

UCAS Track, the platform which allows students to see whether they have been accepted into their first choice university, should update from around 8am to 8.30am.

UCAS Track also has information on clearing if students did not receive a place in their top two choices.

Race for places in clearing to be ‘more dynamic than previous years'

07:17 , Josh Salisbury

iJames Cleverly, the education secretary, has warned that he expects the race for places in clearing is expected to be “more dynamic than in previous years”.

Clearing allows those who did not meet their offer grades to attempt to find a university place elsewhere. Around 40 per cent of applicants are expected to try and find a place through the system.

Some universities, such as Bristol and Edinburgh, have said they have no places in clearing.

Speaking to the Telegraph, Mr Cleverly also said it was right for prestigious universities to favour students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

He told the paper: “If universities are recognising that for some students in some circumstances, getting the top grade or whatever grade they’re making offers against, are harder than students from other schools and other backgrounds then I’m not uncomfortable with that.”

UCAS expects most students to get into their first choice university

07:07 , Josh Salisbury

Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of A-level results day.

In a letter to students, UCAS has said it expects most students to get into their first-choice university.

It told students: “Universities understood what grades will look like overall this year and took this into account when making offers. It’s not meaningful to compare this year’s results to those in 2021, because it was a different form of assessment.

“In 2019, when exams last went ahead, around three quarters of UK 18-year-old applicants were placed at their first choice. Come results day this year, UCAS again expects most students will secure their place at their first choice.”