ONE third of A-Level students will miss out on their top choice for university as exam boards cracked the whip on grading this year.
The major blow to youngsters on A-Level results day comes as the total number of pupils accepted onto degree courses dropped two per cent on last year.
Initial UCAS admissions service figures show only 425,830 spots have been taken up so far.
- Read the latest on A-Level results on our live blog.
Claire Marchant, UCAS Chief Executive, said: "Two thirds of those who applied to UK higher education have got their first choice as we sit here today."
Exam boards toughened up their act this year after the pandemic saw two A-Level cohorts awarded “generous grades”.
Because of the pandemic normal exams were ditched in 2020 and 2021.
Pupils still took A-Levels, but they were based on coursework and marked by teachers.
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Education Secretary James Cleverly told Sky News this morning it was “always the plan” to reverse grade inflation.
He said: “The plan was always to get grades back to the kind of levels that we were seeing before the pandemic.
“That is going to be seen this year so students might get slightly lower grades than they were expecting, or they were hoping. We should see the majority of students get into the institution they want to.”
Pupils who missed out on their goal marks are being encouraged to phone their schools and choice universities to discuss options.
Mr Cleverly said the UCAS Clearing is a great way to pick an alternative course.
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UCAS is pushing students towards more apprenticeships instead.
Around 1,000 students will receive T-Level results for the first time in vocational subjects – where they can combine study with an industry placement to get more skills and experience.
Despite thousands of crushed pupils missing out on dream uni placements, Mr Cleverly insisted this year’s results were positive.
Around 20 per cent more 18-year-olds got onto first preference or reserve choices than in 2019.
Offering words of wisdom to disappointed teens, Mr Cleverly said: "If you're disappointed with your results but don't worry.
“You'll get to university, marry the love of your life and have a successful career."
Fresh polling yesterday revealed that more than one in four parents are unhappy with their child's education post-pandemic.
Nearly two thirds (63 per cent) say the exam system needs updating – and a third (37 per cent) reckon they should have fewer exams at the end of year, according to research My Online Schooling.
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