A-level results day sees top grades fall but university places rise


A record number of students have been accepted onto university courses this year, although the proportion of top grades at A-level decreased very slightly compared to last year.

According to the Ucas (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) admissions service, 409,000 university places have been confirmed, a rise of 3 per cent from last year.

However, there was a small decrease in the proportion of top grades awarded, with 25.9 per cent of entries achieving A* or A grades. This is down from the 26 per cent recorded last year.

Over 850,000 A-levels were taken this year, with English, maths and biology being the most popular subjects chosen.

The overall pass rate (an E being the lowest pass grade) was 98.1 per cent, a rise of 0.1 per cent, and 8.2 per cent of students received an A*, the same percentage as last year.

The gender gap has increased, with 27,000 more females set to begin university this year than men.

“The over-riding message from this year’s figures is one of stability,” said Michael Turner, of the Joint Council for Qualifications. “There have been no significant changes to the system.”

There has also been a 20 per cent rise in maths entries since 2010, helped by the government pushing for a stronger uptake of core subjects. Nick Gibb, the schools minister, said: “As a result [of the government’s actions], thousands more pupils, from all backgrounds, are studying subjects that will secure them a place at a top university or an apprenticeship and that will help to secure well-paid employment.”