Admission statement

November 12, 1999

I sensed no hostility from delegates to the new post-16 qualifications at the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals conference ("Admissions officers dig in heels on A levels", THES, November 5).

Admissions staff have always made their own decisions on entry based on the academic requirement of the course and have for many years accepted broad-based qualifications.

All of the many admissions staff I have been in contact with as chair of the admissions working group of the Higher Education Liaison Officers Association have welcomed the breadth of study offered by the new qualifications and the certification of key skills vital to success in higher education and employment. It is understandable that staff who will not be required to select students on the basis of the reforms until the 2002 cycle, and who have to cope with a research assessment exercise before that, have yet to develop detailed requirements for entry.

Educational liaison officers, on the other hand, are working hard to provide guidance to year-11 students. The picture emerging is that HEIs will welcome breadth as demonstrated by taking four subjects at A/S level or equivalent in year 12, but also require evidence of depth of study by looking for at least two of these subjects to be continued to A level or GNVQ in year 13. Evidence of competence in key skills will be welcomed, but whether this will be considered as part of the offer remains to be seen.

John Wright, Educational liaison coordinator, University of Surrey

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