Today's news

August 26, 2004

Delay term to aid fair entry, say top v-cs
Two prominent university heads declared for the first time this week that they would be willing to delay the start of the academic year to make it possible to select students after they have received their A-level results. Most university heads support a move towards an admissions system based on results rather than predicted grades. But Eric Thomas, vice-chancellor of Bristol University, and David Eastwood, vice-chancellor of the University of East Anglia, are the first to announce that they would be willing to delay the start of courses to make this a reality.
Times Higher, Independent

More English students opt for Scottish universities
The number of students from England coming to study at Scottish universities has risen by 6.4 per cent since last year, figures from Ucas, the university admissions service, show. Last night, university representatives and student groups said the increase was not as large as expected, but warned that future rises would have to be monitored closely to ensure Scottish students were not squeezed out.

More women heading to university
Women are expected to outnumber men by ,000 at university this year, provisional figures for students who have confirmed their places showed today. The number of women already accepted on to degree courses for this year has risen by 4.2 per cent, on last year. In comparison, the number of men has risen by 3.6 per cent.

Rise in number of European students
University admissions figures published yesterday showed a big rise in the number of European students gaining places, up 39.4 per cent to 8,221.

Girl with 6 A grades may miss Oxford
Vildane Berani, 18, from Rotherham, who gained 6 A grades in her exams this summer, may have to give up her dream of studying medicine at Oxford because of a bureaucratic wrangle over her citizenship. The Kosovan refugee, who fled with her family to Britain 5 years ago, is still technically classified as an overseas student. Unless her citizenship is clarified quickly, she will have to find around £250,000 to cover the tuition and accommodation of her six-year course at Merton College.
Daily Mail

GCSE students scooping higher grades
The nail-biting wait for GCSE results came to an end for hundreds of thousands of teenagers in England and Wales today, who have achieved a record haul of top grades, however, the overall pass rate dropped 0.1 per cent to 96.5 per cent when new job-related courses were taken into account. The proportion of entries awarded a C or better rose to 59.2 per cent from 58.1 per cent while there was a 0.7 per cent rise in the ones awarded the top two grades.
Daily Mail, Financial Times, Times, Daily Telegraph, Guardian, Independent

Boys narrow exam gap on girls
Boys are narrowing the gender gap in achievement at GCSE, according to the latest examination results published today. The proportion of boys getting a grade C or better rose by 1.3 per cent to 54.9 per cent. Girls' results at grade C or better improved by 0.9 percentage points this year to 63.3 per cent. The boys' success has reduced the gap in performance between the sexes to 8.4 percentage points, the smallest for at least a decade.
Times, Daily Telegraph, Guardian

Archaeology 'must not become history'
Thousands of young archaeologists are rallying to the defence of the country's only GCSE in the subject, which is facing abolition by the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance examining board. An online opinion poll and petition will be launched today by the Young Archaeologists' Club, which has seen a steady rise in membership following TV series such as Time Team .

Fewer pupils taking language GCSEs
A decline in the number of 16-year-olds taking French or German GCSEs was greeted with dismay yesterday as physical education, religious education and citizenship were shown to be sharply rising in popularity. Headteachers expect the downward trend for languages to get worse because 14-year-olds perceive them to be more difficult than other subjects.
Fin ancial Times, Times (Comment)

Scientists vote Blade Runner best sci-fi film of all time
Ridley Scott's Blade Runner , based loosely on Philip K Dick's short story, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? , is the favourite science fiction film of scientists, according to a poll. Second and third places went to Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey and the first two films of the original Star Wars trilogy.

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