Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

PQA consultation hits the mark

PQA consultation hits the mark

SHA has strongly welcomed the DfES consultation document, published in September, on a post qualification application (PQA) process for university admissions.

Too often applicants make poor decisions because they have to make a choice far too early and may not be confident in their A level results. Judgements of university admissions tutors are limited too by having to rely on predicted grades made far in advance of A level examinations.

We believe a PQA system would avoid these problems and bring a greater degree of fairness to the applications process. It would also help students from families with no background in higher education to aim high when they have achieved good A level grades.

A PQA system would mean some adjustments for both universities and schools and colleges, but we feel the long-term benefits for students overwhelmingly outweigh the arguments against change.

SHA published a report on PQA in November 2004. The government used the report as the starting point for a committee, chaired by the former vice chancellor of Leeds University, Sir Alan Wilson, to look into PQA.

We are gratified to see many of SHA's recommendations in the PQA consultation, which recommends a phased approach. It would start with reforms to the applications process which should allow students with better than expected results to apply to the most selective universities.

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