Willetts: Students who take traditional subjects should be given university admissions priority

EXPECTATION David Willetts MP
EXPECTATION David Willetts MP
Eleanor Warringer, 10, from Alverstoke
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HAVANT MP and universities minister David Willetts has applauded the higher uptake of ‘core’ A-level subjects this year.

He has also told The News going to university next year when tuition fees treble ‘shouldn’t be seen as a disaster’.

Mr Willetts said: ‘There’s a very encouraging trend also of more students doing the core disciplines that open up their options like maths, the sciences, history, languages.

‘I also congratulate those students getting good grades at A-level.

‘People who don’t get in this year shouldn’t give up. Delaying till 2012 shouldn’t be seen as a disaster as there will be lower student loan repayments and better maintenance support.

‘There are lots of options. You can try again next year, you can start working and perhaps later on go to university as a part time student who for the first time next year will get loans, or you can apply for an apprenticeship.’

This year more students than ever are rushing to get into university before the tuition fees increase, which will leave record numbers of applicants without a place in September 2011.

Mr Willetts speaking with the Daily Telegraph said that the points system used in university admissions ‘sends a very bad message to young people by implying that all A-levels have an equal chance of helping them into university’.

Ucas, which processes university applications, allocates points based on the grade achieved, regardless of the subject.

Mr Willetts added: ‘[Ucas] are operating a massive system with more than half a million applications, but they need to signal the importance of some A-levels more than others and that message is often hidden behind a tariff point model.’

He also said that work-based apprenticeships should be accepted as a way to get into university.