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Ucas chief: Thousands of uni vacancies still available

The chief executive of Ucas said students who applied late or got lower A-level grades than expected could still choose from a large selection of courses.

Mary Curnock Cook said:

We have nearly 30,000 courses which are advertising vacancies in clearing.

A lot of those will only be for people who have the very highest grades because the Government arrangements for funding mean that universities aren't limited as to how many of those they can recruit.

The reality is that there are vacancies across all sorts of courses and institutions.

So anybody who is applying late after they got their results or who didn't quite get what they wanted today, there are loads of opportunities for them to find out about what is available through our website.

You can see what courses are available in the clearing process on the Ucas website.

Teachers warn against A-level reform

Nansi Ellis, head of education policy at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said after A-level results were revealed today:

We are worried about the Government's plans for new look A-levels.

We hope the Government rethinks its plans to return to a system of A-levels that only benefited an elite group of students who did well with an intensive regime culminating in one set of final course exams.

We think the current system, with AS-levels as the first half of an A-level, is better for the vast majority of students.

– Nansi Ellis

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NUT: Education reforms will hurt disadvantaged pupils

Britain's biggest teachers' union said Government education reforms will harm the prospects of disadvantaged students in the future.

After A-level results were revealed today, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said:

Today’s results demonstrate the continued high achievement of students and the hard work of their teachers.

It is likely that in future years, as a result of the decoupling of AS-Levels from A-Levels as well as end to modularity, fewer disadvantaged students will continue in education.

A-Levels are just one qualification in an overly complicated 14-19 education landscape, where there is a lack of parity of esteem between different types of qualification.

If A-Levels are the ‘gold standard’, then let us make our way towards a system in which vocational qualifications are afforded equal respect.

– Christine Blower, NUT

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Identical twins part for first time after A-level success

A pair of identical twin sisters found out they will soon be separated by thousands of miles after receiving their A-level results.

Eleanor and Sophie Harrison from Newcastle have spent their entire lives at school together, but in a few weeks one of them will begin studying in America.

Eleanor and Sophie celebrate their A-level results at school in Jesmond, Newcastle Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Eleanor, 18, achieved the results she needed to go to the University of California where she will be studying English, while her sister Sophie will head to Leeds to study art and design.

Eleanor said: "We will keep in touch on Skype - we've been at school together since we were four."

A-level subject gender gap 'worrying'

A teaching leader said he was "worried" about the huge variance in subjects chosen by girls and boys in their A-levels.

Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said teachers should challenge stereotypical views:

We need, as teachers, to try and raise awareness of these stereotypical views that occur.

But it's a societal thing as well; in wider society we need to try and break those stereotypical models. We need to show role models of people who are doing different things.

– Brian Lightman

A-level subject choice gender gap 'widens'

The latest A-level results showed there were huge gender differences in pupils' choices in subject, with officials saying the gap has "extenuated" this year.

Girls were more likely to take subjects such as English Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

For instance, girls accounted for more than seven in 10 entries for English exams, while four in every five physics exam entries were for boys.

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