Cap lifted on uni places for medical students after results fiasco


The cap on university places to study medicine has been temporarily lifted as A-level students scramble to get onto courses because of the algorithm fiasco.

All those who may have missed out on their first choice of further study will be entitled to go there either this coming academic year or next.

The government made the decision after stories of pupils being unfairly downgraded due to a controversial algorithm marking them in lieu of exams cancelled because of coronavirus.

Students from Codsall Community High School march to the constituency office of their local MP Gavin Williamson, who is also the Education Secretary, as a protest over the continuing issues of last week's A level results which saw some candidates receive lower-than-expected grades after their exams were cancelled as a result of coronavirus
An algorithm was initially used which unfairly downgraded some pupils

Ministers were facing pressure after the Royal College of GPs said a “large number of potential medical students” had been affected and a “deeply worrying” proportion come from areas which are already under-doctored.

The organisation warned at least 20% more places to study medicine are needed just to ensure there are enough GPs in the future.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 20:  A pile of GCSE results at Stoke Newington School on August 20, 2015 in London, United Kingdom. GCSE grades from A* to C rose slightly this year with A* and A grades falling.  (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Results may not be passed on to universities until the end of the week

And students who were on track to get good enough grades said they had been left in limbo.

One, Chris Byrne, said: “I managed to get the offers and it’s still been ripped away from me by something out of my control, which is incredibly frustrating.

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“I’m stuck waiting… There’s just a lot of uncertainty about what’s going to happen.”

Then on Thursday, the Department for Education announced the cap would be lifted on medicine, dentistry, veterinary science and teaching courses for all domestic students.

Extra funding will also be handed to universities for them to be able to handle the increase in pupils.

medical students practising as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge tour the Science and Health Building at Coventry University, during their visit to the city.
Some students hoping to study medicine were left in limbo

But the government said UCAS may not share applicants’ revised grades with universities until “the end of the week”, making the timing even trickier for those who want to get on with confirming their final places.

Universities minister Michelle Donelan admitted it is an “incredibly difficult time for students” .

She reassured them that “every effort is being made to make sure all those who planned to, can move on to higher education”.

Ms Donelan added: “This pandemic has highlighted more than ever the importance of our fantastic healthcare services and the need to invest in them.

“So I am pleased we are removing the cap on these courses and providing additional funding so more students can take up their places now and become our future doctors and healthcare professionals.”

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