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The university admissions system doesn’t make the grade

No system-wide planning, no number controls, blank cheques from the government—the approach here is crazy

By Alison Wolf   October 2019

Students in Port Talbot celebrate their A-Level results. Photo: © GARETH EVERETT/HUW EVANS PICTURE/SHUTTERSTOCK

Modern lives are built around the academic year, as our ancestors’ were built around the harvest. This September, with almost half of school-leavers heading for higher education, universities will crank up for almost 2.5m arrivals and returnees. Meanwhile, senior managers will be hyperventilating over student numbers. Have we recruited enough? Have the offer-holders actually turned up? What if they haven’t?

It’s not only universities but also English schools that are now more directly…

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