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Ucas: Half a million people to go to university

The total number of people going to university could top half a million for the first time this year, the university admissions service Ucas said.

University graduation
Record numbers of students are heading to university this year. Credit: PA

Record numbers of students are heading to university this year, with almost 400,000 accepted on to degree courses already.

Read more: Hundreds of thousands of students await A-level results

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National

Warning: Too many students 'pick meaningless degrees'

Too many students are still opting for "meaningless" degrees instead of vocational courses to help plug the country's skills gap, a leading industry qualifications body has said.

Pupil
Too many students are still opting for Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Excellence, Achievement and Learning Limited, which oversees qualifications for the engineering, manufacturing and building services sectors, sounded the warning as thousands of young people were set to pick up their A-level results.

The body is proposing a Ucas-style clearing service for apprenticeships and work placements, cross-party talks at government level and an inquiry into the Careers Service.

"We need one million new skilled workers in the engineering sector alone in the next six years to cope with demand - and as it stands, that just won't happen," said Elizabeth Bonfield, EAL head of business innovation.

This is a grave situation which has been in the making for decades. The pursuance of low-value often meaningless university degrees is still being led by those that influence the decision making of our young people.

– Elizabeth Bonfield, EAL

Read: Hundreds of thousands of students await A-level results

National

A-levels: Pass rate falls for first time in 32 years

The overall A-level pass rate has fallen for the first time in 32 years and there has been a small slide in the number of students achieving top grades, officials say.

Around 300,000 sixth-formers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive their A-level results today.

Read: Hundreds of thousands of students await A-level results

Slimline Tom gets his grades

A 19-year-old student from Sheffield who lost 10 stone in 10 months after vowing to turn his life around is celebrating securing his dream of going to university.

Thomas Lowson ( right) and friend
Thomas Lowson ( right) and friend celebrate their A-Level success

Thomas Lowson suffered bullying and health problems when he reached 24 stone in January last year.

Now, after succeeding with a massive weight loss programme and moving to study A-levels at Sheffield College, Thomas has got the grades he needs to study English at Leeds Trinity University.

Celebrating this morning, he said: "The world's my oyster with results like this.

"Nerves have been setting in. It's been a case of pacing back and forth in my house from 4am this morning - I'm paranoid and pessimistic.

"But now I'm guaranteed to go to uni. I needed a C and a D, and I got a C and a B. I'm obviously exhilarated by that result."

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Sheffield University offering places to students who exceed expectations

It is a big day for students across the region as they pick up their A Level results.

But while it is normal for students who have done worse than they expected to go through clearing, Sheffield University has launched a new scheme encouraging students who have done better than predicted to ring up for a place.

Paul White, from the university, says students should apply for courses they really want to do:

Slim-downed student Tom hopes for big exam success

As students across our region anxiously await their A level results tomorrow, one teenager from Sheffield has more reason to be looking ahead than most.

Heading for sixth form college not only meant the chance of going to university for Thomas Lowson it also meant a chance to change his life forever.

Bullied and teased over his weight since childhood he'd ballooned to 24 stones. Now though in little over a year that has all changed. Martin Fisher has the story.

Top tips for A-Level Results Day

A-Level results day is a long awaited date etched into many people's diaries, but according to the University of Bradford it does not need to be as stress filled as the actual exams.

A-Level results
A-Level results Credit: ITV Yorkshire

Mark Garratt, Director of External Affairs at the University of Bradford, said: "It's a big day for students, parents and teachers, and anxieties run high, but with a little preparation beforehand it is possible to survive it and make plans for a very successful future."

He advises "It is important to keep calm and be prepared for all possible outcomes.

"You may do better than you think and wish to 'adjust' your choice, or you may not achieve the grades you need and have to enter Clearing, the process through which students can apply to any university spaces not yet filled.

"Either way it's important to have a Plan B in place before 14 August.

"Think about what subject areas you're interested in, where your strengths lie, and what universities you'd like to study at.

"Do lots of research so you are ready to take action as quickly as possible to secure the university or course you want once you know your results. "

Here are a useful list of top tips for surviving results day and the Clearing process:

  • Stay calm, don't panic and get organised.
  • Draw up a list of alternative options available to you. That list should include alternative courses and universities.
  • Think about where you want to go and what the university you're looking at has to offer. Is there an opportunity for a placement year? What are the graduate prospects? What is the student experience like? Will you be using state-of-the-art equipment in your study? Who will you be taught by?
  • Be realistic in choosing courses you want to study. Time is of the essence on results day. Use UCAS and check the course against your grades before calling.
  • On the day do recognise that if you're not getting offers for a course, due to your grades, you might need to rethink your chosen subject area or University you're applying to.
  • Visit the universities you are considering attending where possible and remember to take someone with you for impartial advice.
  • Make sure you're contactable and can find information easily. Be close to a phone and computer.
  • Do remember to stay calm. A-level results day and Clearing can be a daunting time, especially if you've suffered a disappointment with grades. Ringing up universities for a place through Clearing might be the last thing you feel like doing. Remember, thousands of other students in the UK will be in the same position and universities deal with the process of Clearing every year.

College sends old furniture to deprived Pakistan schools

Bradford College is sending unwanted furniture following the closure of the college's McMillian Building to deprived schools in Pakistan.

Furniture being sent to schools in Pakistan
Bradford College is sending furniture to schools in Pakistan Credit: Bradford College

Dr. Amjad Shaikh from the charity Rehabilitation Response and Jack Doyle from Bradford Rotary Club and 15 colleagues from removal firm, Business Moves Group, were on hand to load the lorry full of furniture.

The furniture which was mostly tables, chairs and drawers is now on its way to Chiniot, a small town in Pakistan.

“The furniture is going to a place that really needs it. When I visited the schools there were thousands of children sat on the floor trying to study. It was deeply upsetting to see the poor standards of their education environment, especially when these children are so keen to learn,” said Dr Shaikh.

“We involve local Rotarians here and in Pakistan, so they can ensure that the furniture is not being misused."

With the vast redevelopments currently going on at Bradford College, the closing of their old buildings means over 160 containers have been sent to Pakistan and will continue to be sent over the upcoming months.

“Although we are lucky to be undergoing so many redevelopments at the college, we must remember that schools in these less developed countries have very little and it really is pleasing to know our old furniture is going to good use,” said Ian Fox, Project Officer at Bradford College.

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