Post-1992 institutions play pivotal role in Clearing, says UK university leader

Birmingham City University Vice Chancellor [Academic] Professor Peter Francis

Birmingham City University is gearing up for its largest ever Clearing operation - with more than 550 members of staff on standby to support and guide prospective students through the process of finding the right university place for them.

As widespread reports fuel fears that students are set to miss out on higher education places this summer, post-1992 institutions such as Birmingham City University are set to play a pivotal role in meeting demand and, crucially, providing places on quality courses which match students’ aspirations.

Birmingham City University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Peter Francis, said: “Fears over sufficient university places fail to recognise the last 30 years of higher educational transformation, which has seen universities like ours playing an important and significant role in meeting the aspirations of many thousands of young people.

“As a forward-thinking university, we have invested heavily this year to deliver our biggest ever Clearing operation to ensure we are ready to meet demand from the moment hotlines go live. My best wishes to all those looking to secure places at university this year.”

Birmingham City University will have over 120 operators manning its Clearing hotline, supported by hundreds of academic experts in specialist areas, all of whom will be working together to ensure a smooth and simple process to guide prospective students through what can be a stressful time and to ensure they find the right course for them in line with results.

It comes as Schools Minister Will Quince has revealed he himself used Clearing to secure a university place, as national data shows that in 2021, over 47,000 students found a university place through Clearing and 23% of this proportion went into the process without having applied to university in the first place.

Data experts DataHE estimate there are around 28,000 students not currently holding an offer of a university place, compared to 16,000 at this stage in the admissions process in 2019. Some of the rise is thought to be down to grades lowering as government regulators Ofqual are phasing activity to see grades return to pre-pandemic levels by 2023, following the last two years which saw higher than average grades during Covid when exams were cancelled and grades were based on teacher assessments.

Meanwhile, data from Marcomms Success highlights that increasing numbers of people are choosing to change their minds or trade-up during the Clearing process - a trend that has been on the rise since 2017. High achievers (53%) are now twice as likely to use Clearing for these reasons, versus those who did not achieve grades for their chosen course (27%), according to the research.

Birmingham City University’s Clearing hotline opens at 8am on Thursday 18 August and will run until 10pm that day, then 8am – 10pm on Friday 19 August, and will remain open over the weekend.  Last year saw the University make over 2,500 offers during Clearing, including over 900 on A-level results day itself.

Students will once again have the opportunity to visit Birmingham City University’s campuses to see facilities and chat to staff, with drop-in open days taking place on Friday 19, Saturday 20 and Monday 22 August.  After the initial August 18 peak, an outbound call model will also begin, providing additional information and support to specific groups of applicant and offer holders. 

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