Dental and medical deferrals for 2021/22 will be funded

The universities minister asks OfS to enable funding for 480 medicine students and 150 dentistry students who deferred their place as a result of A-level changes

Medical and dental schools will get extra subject funding for students who deferred their places to the 2021/22 academic year, the universities minister has today confirmed.

Dentistry and medicine numbers are among those usually capped by the government in England. These caps were lifted last August because more students than usual met the top grade requirements, due to the pandemic’s disruption of A-levels.

However, there are currently 480 medicine students and 150 dentistry students who deferred their place as a result of the A level changes that need to be accommodated in the 2021/22 academic year, on top of the usual intake.

The additional places will be made available to medical and dental schools where the deferred offers are held. If those schools are unable to accommodate those deferrals, remaining places will be with other providers.

The temporary measure is for the 2021/22 intake only, and places on medicine and dentistry courses will remain capped in future years.

Writing to Office for Students (OfS) chair James Wharton, universities minister Michelle Donelan said:

“The move to centre assessed grades in summer 2020 A levels resulted in more applicants for medicine and dentistry courses meeting the terms of their offer than forecast. As a result of the increased demand for places, some students were unable to take up a place at their chosen medical or dental school and decided to defer entry to the 2021/22 academic year. In addition, a number of students decided to resit their exams in the autumn with the aim of improving their grades and were successful in meeting the terms of their offers.

I have agreed with Ministers in the Department of Health and Social Care that these additional students should be funded within the existing Strategic Priorities Grant (SPG) allocation – Michelle Donelan

“In total, based on the latest estimates from Health Education England (HEE), there are 480 medicine students and 150 dentistry students who deferred their place as a result of the A level changes (including successful Autumn 2020 resits) that need to be accommodated in the 2021/22 academic year, in addition to the standard medicine and dentistry student number intake targets.

“I have agreed with Ministers in the Department of Health and Social Care that these additional students should be funded within the existing Strategic Priorities Grant (SPG) allocation. The intake targets will remain in place for all other 2021/22 students entering medicine and dentistry courses and should be managed by the OfS in the normal way.

“The additional places allocated will only be for entry in 2021-22 and will not influence the operation of the medical and dental intake targets in future years which will continue to be managed closely by the OfS so that medical and dental schools remain within their controlled limits. HEE have been discussing the placement of these students with individual medical and dental schools. Each school is also aware of the number of students holding an offer for a deferred entry place in 2021/22.

“I would like the Office for Students to work with the HEE and the schools to allocate the additional places in such a way that applicants from this year’s cohort are not disadvantaged. Through this process the medical and dental schools will confirm the numbers of students they will be able to offer places for, including the students who deferred, in the coming academic year. This will form the basis of the intake target for 2021/22.

“The additional places to accommodate deferrals should in the first instance be made available to schools where the deferred offers are held. If a school is unable to accommodate all the additional entrants, whether these are deferrals or entrants from the 2021/22 A Level cohort, any remaining places should be made available elsewhere. I welcome the support and efforts of the medical and dental schools in managing this process.

“Funding for these additional students will need to be included within the existing Strategic Priorities Grant (SPG) allocations for the 2021/22 academic year, thereby ensuring providers receive the necessary high-cost subject funding to support these students.”


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