Ucas: Universities won’t yield to private school lobbying

As results day approaches, Ucas chief executive Clare Marchant says admissions professionals “won’t have any truck” with unfair lobbying by private schools and parents

Ucas chief executive Clare Marchant has today sought to dispel concerns about the lobbying of university admissions departments by private schools and parents in the run-up to results day on 10 August.

In a video interview and discussion hosted today (Friday 30 July) by the Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi), Ms Marchant was asked her views on reports in the media about private schools attempting to ‘game’ the admissions system by lobbying top universities on behalf of pupils who have narrowly missed out on their required grades.

Chairman of the Independent Schools Council (ISC) Barnaby Lenon, who was once headmaster of Harrow, told the Sunday Times last week that some private schools – who already know A-level results – had sent pleading letters on behalf of borderline candidates, a practice which breaches Ofqual guidelines.

University professionals and admissions professionals work as we do – for a fair and transparent admissions service. And they won’t have any truck with that at all – Clare Marchant, Ucas

“I don’t know a university that’ll have any time for that at all,” Ms Marchant told Hepi director Nick Hillman and an online audience of sector professionals.

“So it doesn’t concern me […] You know, university professionals and admissions professionals work as we do – for a fair and transparent admissions service.

“And they won’t have any truck with that at all.”

A recent Sutton Trust report showed that almost a quarter of private school teachers had been “approached or pressured” by parents over pupils’ results.

Earlier this month, Ucas statistics showed the number of offers for places in higher education had increased by 3% this year to its highest ever figure.


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