Responding to news that A-Level students will now be given grades estimated by their teachers rather than via an algorithm, Medical Students Committee co-chairs at the BMA, Gurdas Singh and Chris Smith, said: “This U-turn by the Government is a sign of the enormous pressure ministers and the Prime Minister were under to make good the unedifying mistakes they had made. While it means thousands of students will, quite rightly, now be given more appropriate grades, there is still no clear understanding of how this will impact on the offering of places by universities.
“If on the basis of being allocated poorer grades than expected, many will have missed out on a place at any of their chosen schools, taking instead a non-medical course. For others, this could mean having to take a gap year, which could present a whole new set of issues for disadvantaged students. All of these scenarios could mean an end to many students’ ambitions to have a career in medicine, and so the BMA is calling on medical schools to review the applications of those who were not awarded a place in light of this afternoon’s announcement. Equally, students who have successfully secured a place at medical school shouldn't have this revoked, and any subsequent increase in places must be matched by funding and resources throughout medical school, followed by additional jobs in the foundation programme when appropriate.
“For those who choose to go into graduate-entry medicine, especially if they are accepted onto standard-entry courses, funding currently isn’t guaranteed or sufficient, so this must also be rectified as soon as possible.
“The BMA therefore, wants the Government to provide extra resource to colleges and universities to make sure students and staff are not unfairly disadvantaged by these failures and we will be writing to Ofqual to clarify our position in detail. It is important that these potential additional places will be appropriately funded so as not to adversely impact on existing students and the welfare of university staff. At a time when the demands of education are likely to be increased, students will need continued access to the same standard of facilities in terms of resources and time, both with their teachers and patients.
“We will also continue to monitor this situation to ensure that students are not disadvantaged or discriminated against and that anyone who has been offered a place on a medical course before or after this announcement, should be accepted.”
Notes to editors
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