No strings attached: Birmingham extends unconditional offers to lure high-flyers

Admissions officers are privately predicting others may follow the example

Education Editor

One of the country's leading universities is to increase the number of unconditional offers of places it make to students in an attempt to attract more high-flyers.

A pilot scheme mounted at Birmingham University this year saw more than 300 high-achieving students snapping up places at the university.

With competition between universities being stepped up now the Government is allowing them to recruit extra students provided that have at least an A and two B grade passes at A-levels, admissions officers are privately predicting others may follow Birmingham's example.

The decision to increase the number of unconditional offers follows information that students are more likely to accept a place if they are made an unconditional offer - the percentage of acceptances rose from about a quarter to just over a third.

Only a few of those accepting unconditional offers then went on to fail to score highly in their A-levels, the university found.

"There were one or two who crashed and burned or took their foot off the accelerator," said Roderick Smith, director of admissions at Birmingham. "But we came to the conclusion that it was a risk that we could take." Checks on GCSE and AS-level performance had minimised the risk.

Critics have claimed that it may benefit applicants from private schools who are more likely to be predicted to get high grades at A-level but Mr Smith said that the pilot "did not skew the socio-economic background of our students".

Meanwhile, fewer teenagers scored at least five A* to C grade passes at GCSE including maths and English, according to a breakdown of the results.

It showed the figure had fallen from 59.4 per cent to 58.6 per cent.  One of the reasons could be a decline in the number of private school pupils sitting the exams - and opting for alternatives to the GCSE instead.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

MBDA UK Ltd: HR Advisor - Recruitment and Graduate Programme

Competitive Salary & Benefits: MBDA UK Ltd:    What’s the opportunity? We...

MBDA UK Ltd: Software Graduate

Competitive Salary & Benefits: MBDA UK Ltd:   Role Title: Softwa...

Ashdown Group: Graduate IT Support - Surrey - £28,000

£22000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Graduate IT Support Helpdesk / Devel...

Guru Careers: Graduate Database Administrator / Junior DBA

£20 - 25k: Guru Careers: A Graduate Database Administrator / Junior DBA is nee...

SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen