Enquiry Form

Daily News Roundup - Fewer pupils expecting to go to university, says survey

Daily summary of the latest news and opinions from the world of independent education bought to you by Education Advisers...  

Fewer pupils expecting to go to university, says survey

The number of secondary school pupils in England and Wales expecting to go on to university has fallen for the second year in a row, a survey has found.

While a high proportion of 11 to 16-year-olds (74%) do plan to study for a degree, this figure is the lowest since 2009, the Sutton Trust survey suggests.

It is down from 77% last year and 79% in 2015, from a high of 81% in 2013.

The government said the reality was that entry rates for 18-year-olds had been rising every year since 2012.

Figures from the university admissions service, Ucas show that 32.5% of 18-year-olds in England and 29.5% in Wales went into higher education last year - the highest recorded entry rate for both countries.

'Did not like the idea'

The Sutton Trust said its findings were an important indicator of pupils' plans before they took their GCSEs.

The annual poll, which this year quizzed 2,612 children in Years 7 to 11 across the two countries, found:

  • one in seven (14%) said they were unlikely to go on to higher education, compared with 11% last year and 8% in 2012
  • of these, seven in 10 said they did not like the idea of going to university or did not enjoy studying
  • nearly two-thirds (64%) of those unlikely to go cited financial issues, such as wanting to start earning as soon as possible and concern over debt
  • more than two in five (44%) thought they were not clever enough, or would not get good enough results
  • a similar proportion (42%) did not think they would need a degree for the jobs they wanted to do

Of those who said they were likely to study for a degree, around half (51%) said they were worried about the cost of higher education - up from 47% last year.

The biggest money concern was tuition fees, followed by having to repay student loans for up to 30 years and the cost of living as a student.


See also: University Advice

Confusion reigns over new rules for independent coursework reviews

Schools will have to commission independent reviews of GCSE coursework marks if pupils ask, according to new rules imposed by exam boards.

Updated guidance from the Joint Council for Qualifications obliges schools to use an “independent assessor” to review marks of non-exam assessments (NEAs) when asked to do so by pupils from now on.

But a dispute between the JCQ and the exams regulator Ofqual has caused confusion over which school staff will be eligible to carry out the reviews, and led to concerns that some schools may have to foot the bill for extra external staff.

The JCQ, which represents exam boards OCR, AQA, Edexcel and WJEC, included the rule in its latest guidance, coming into force from September.

As these appeals have to be carried out by an independent person, small departments will have to try and recruit outside of school

It claims that the rules have been introduced to avoid conflicts of interest, but that it is up to Ofqual to decide who qualifies as an assessor.

For its part, Ofqual insists it has always allowed reviews, and has only made a slight change to its rules to allow a third-party assessor “if necessary”.

The guidance stipulates that where reviews of coursework marks are requested by pupils, schools must appoint an external assessor with “appropriate competence”, but “no personal interest” in the review to carry it out. This assessor must not have had any “previous involvement in the assessment of that candidate”.