Press release

MillionPlus comment on A level and BTEC results day

16 Aug 2018

MillionPlus, the Association for Modern Universities, has today (16 August) commented on the UCAS statistical release for A level and BTEC results day.

Dr Greg Walker, Chief Executive of MillionPlus, said:

“This is a crucial day for half a million students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland who have received their A Level and BTEC results. Congratulations to all learners for their achievements - headlines about overall pass rates disguise many individual stories of success from people of all ages.

“Regardless of a fall in the number of 18-year olds due to demographics and changes to the structure of exams, overall achievement at A levels and BTECs has held up well. A record 16.1% of people from the most disadvantaged backgrounds have been accepted, a rise of 0.4 percentage points on last year. Also in the mix of so much political and economic uncertainty it is pleasing to see an increase of 1% in EU students, and 4% in international students being accepted. We now need to come to an international agreement with our partners in the EU and EEA to ensure a reciprocal arrangement on university fees otherwise we risk facing a potential decline in acceptances in the future.

"Though there are many paths to success in life, university is an opportunity for students to broaden their horizons and equip themselves with the skills for a successful career. Clearing now offers a clear opportunity for prospective students, whatever their stage in life, to consider studying for a degree which so many people later describe as a life-changing experience.

“Despite these positives, the bigger picture is that of a missed national opportunity in the overall fall in the number of acceptances to university. An ambitious country with aspirations to be a global leader post-Brexit should be putting in place policies to ensure that more people had the benefit of a university education, not fewer. The Post-18 Education Review provides us with the chance to reboot our approach, ensuring that the apprenticeship levy is used more flexibly for work-based higher education and Foundation degrees. Improving support for mature students to study would also put us back on track to meet the challenge of the race to the top of the international high level skills league.”


Notes to editors

  • For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact Dan Blows on 020 7717 1658 or email
  • MillionPlus is the Association for Modern Universities in the UK, and the voice of 21st century higher education. We champion, promote and raise awareness of the essential role and impact of modern universities in the UK’s world-leading higher education sector. More information can be found at
  • What are modern universities? Modern universities are long established centres of higher education in their communities with roots that stretch back decades, if not centuries. Many gained university title following legislation agreed by parliament in 1992. They make up almost half of the UK university sector with over a million students studying at modern universities every year.
  • Modern universities: key facts 2018
  • The full UCAS statistical report and interactive data explorer can be here.