Re-marks soar as students try to make grade

A-level candidates challenge their marks in attempt to get place at their university of choice

Growing numbers of disappointed A-level candidates are demanding their papers be re-marked in a bid to win a university place.

University admissions officers are reporting an increase in requests for re-marks from youngsters who have failed to get the necessary grades to take up provisional offers of a place.

However, even if the re-mark gives them the grades they need, they may still not be able to secure a university place this autumn.

Tim Westlake, the director of admissions at the University of Manchester, said: "Our feeling is that – as securing a place at university intensifies – students who narrowly missed out on their grades are requesting re-marks in order to obtain their first or second choices.

"We will endeavour to honour students a place with us this year. However we cannot guarantee students will have a place. Even if we could, it would not be in the interests of us or the student in question.

"We can, however, guarantee they will have a place to study with us next year if they are successful in obtaining the required grades to satisfy their offer through a re-mark – although they may have to defer for a year."

Other universities have reported a similar trend among applicants. University vice-chancellors have always made it clear that a provisional offer guarantees a place if the student meets the requirement demanded.

However, it was being said yesterday that – if the grades are met through a re-mark – universities are not legally bound to provide a place that year but are "honour bound" to take the student in the following year. "We are sure that in 99.9 per cent of cases that would happen," said a source.

One of the reasons candidates would be asked to defer is that it can take several weeks for a re-mark to be concluded. Universities would also not get any additional finance to take on an extra student once they had filled their allocated places.

The squeeze on university places is more acute this year as record numbers – 610,000 – have applied for a place (a 10 per cent increase on last year). In addition, the numbers meeting grade requirements for a provisional place were at an all-time high (371,000).

The number of places on offer has only increased by a maximum of 13,000 – and 10,000 of these have been made available on the understanding from ministers that there will be no extra finance to meet teaching costs. Many universities – including Oxford and Cambridge – have turned down the offer on the grounds that it would dilute the quality of education they offer.

Universities added that only a handful of students were taking advantage of a five-day "breather" – which means those achieving better grades than expected would have any provisional offer held open for five days if they wanted to try for a place at one of the country's leading universities. Many youngsters are playing safe and staying with what they have been offered.

This year, the A-level pass rate rose for the 27th year in succession – with a record number of A grades being awarded (26.5 per cent).

Universities are warning that – as a result of this year's squeeze – thousands are delaying entry to higher education until next year. As a result, the admissions process is likely to be just as tough, if not tougher, in 2010.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Recruitment Genius: Plumber

£30000 - £31000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An independent boys' school sit...

Tradewind Recruitment: Graduate - Newly Qualified Teachers Required For Sept 2015

£21000 - £50000 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: Graduate Teachers/ Newly Qua...

Tradewind Recruitment: Class Teacher Required for a 'Good@ school - Ofsted 2015

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: My client primary school loc...

Tradewind Recruitment: Class Teachers Required in Norwich and Great Yarmouth

£20000 - £45000 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: I am working on behalf of a ...

Day In a Page

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue