Some of Britain’s leading universities have revealed they’ll continue teaching classes on Zoom despite Education Secretary Gavin Williamson calling for online lessons to end.
Of the 24 institutions that make up the elite Russell Group, 20 confirmed that some undergraduate teaching will continue to be online.
Meanwhile, institutions including Russell Group members Birmingham and Leeds have confirmed that they had no places available through Clearing this year after grade inflation saw A Level results hit a record high yesterday.
Manchester University, which regularly has several places available through Clearing, also had no vacancies this year.
Almost half of all pupils were given A or A* results – up from 38.5 per cent in 2020 and 25.2 per cent in 2019.
Yet the results have triggered fears over grade inflation and of courses being over-subscribed – prompting some universities to offer pupils £10,000 to defer their entry for the year.
Another concern will be the return of Zoom teaching, after Mr Williamson demanded the Office for Students investigate any institution that still offers online lessons from next semester.
The regulator said it would not enforce the demand and also said universities could teach pupils however they wished as long as they were providing a ‘good quality nursing writers online experience of higher education’.
Students wave their A-Level exam results after collecting them as Britain’s top universities defy Gavin Williamson’s call for no more Zoom classes
King’s College London, Birmingham and Manchester universities were among the institutions without Clearing places this year
Yesterday’s results came after teachers decided grades for a second year in a row after exams were cancelled due to the pandemic.
They used coursework, classroom performance and mini-assessments to reach their decisions.
However, the huge success of pupils meant more met their university entry requirements than ever before, prompting some institutions to close their Clearing programmes before the results were even released.
The University of Birmingham said in a statement: ‘We are able to confirm that we do not have any places available in Clearing & Adjustment this year.
You can search our available courses for 2022 or if you are still interested in applying for study in 2021 check out the UCAS website. We wish you all the best.’
King’s College London said: ‘For 2021 entry, King’s College London will not have places on any of our courses via Clearing or quality nursing writers online Adjustment on A level results day.
If you currently have an offer to study at King’s, you can find out more about confirmation on our website to get prepared for results day.’
While Leeds University simply wrote: ‘Leeds is a popular university and our courses are in high demand. As a result, this year we do not have any vacancies in clearing.’
The row has further damaged the Education Secretary’s position with rumours that Boris Johnson could sack him for his ‘anti-woke’ Equalities Minister after Mr Williamson was accused of ruining the credibility of A-levels by ‘baking in’ soaring grade inflation and allowing a growing results gap between private and state schools.
Mr Williamson, nicknamed Private Pike by critics who compare him to the hapless young soldier in Dad’s Army, is said to be fighting plans for Kemi Badenoch to take over in the next reshuffle, reportedly telling allies he ‘knows where the bodies are’.
It came as it was revealed that A-level grades could be scrapped in a massive overhaul of the education system.
Gavin Williamson, who famously keeps a whip on his office desk, is reported to have warned that he ‘knows where the bodies are and [the]PM is too weak to sack him’ over the A-Level results chaos
Boris is said to favour Kemi Badenoch, his equalities minister who has been vocal in her concerns about the the woke-ification of British education. Williamson’s allies have previously claimed that Mr Johnson’s wife, Carrie, is against him
The number of teenagers getting top grades in A-Levels has risen across the board but private schools are pulling further ahead of state schools, almost doubling the number of As and A*s in the past two years since exams were postponed
It is understood the government is looking at possibly replacing the A*-E letter grades with a numerical system similar to GCSEs.
At the same time, the proportion of students allowed to achieve the top grades will be reduced gradually over a period of years until it returns to pre-pandemic levels, meaning there could be years before proper exams return.
Meanwhile, it was also revealed that medical students are to be offered £10,000 to switch schools amid a scramble for top university places.
<div class="art-ins mol-factbox floatRHS news" data-version="2" id="mol-c2d129c0-fa99-11eb-a5fd-4b554e173481" website universities defy Gavin Williamson's order to stop Zoom classes