Universities breach A-level results embargo by confirming student places a day early


A number of universities have breached the A-level results embargo and confirmed student places ahead of results day tomorrow.

One university also released grade information directly to students, triggering UCAS to launch an investigation into the universities’ automated systems, which is blamed for the error.

A-level grades can be released to students from 6am tomorrow and university place information can be tracked on UCAS from 8am, but publication ahead of the official release time is strictly forbidden.

Place confirmations from the universities, which have not been named, went to students with a conditional grade offer, meaning the students could make assumptions about their achieved grades.

A UCAS spokesperson told FE Week: “Regrettably there have been a small number of process errors, typically where universities’ automated systems have released communications to prospective students ahead of results day.

“In each case the provider concerned has informed UCAS immediately and swift action has been taken to correct the errors. The majority of these imply applicant status rather than achieved grades.

“However, in one case we believe a very small number of students may have had access to their results.

“We take these matters very seriously and, as you would expect, we have immediately alerted the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) and the regulators of these errors. These cases are currently under investigation and a full report will be made to the regulators and awarding bodies in due course.”

A JCQ spokesperson said exam boards take security of results “extremely seriously” and they were “concerned” to learn of the breach.

JCQ, which represents all of the exam boards, is now in talks with UCAS to gather all of the details of the error and understand how this can be avoided in the future.

The spokesperson added: “There is, of course, a balance to be had between providing universities with results a few days early so they can prepare admissions and maintaining the security and fairness of these results.”

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