Exam results, News

Universities breach A-level results embargo by confirming student places a day early


A number of universities have breached the A-level results embargo and confirmed student places ahead of results day tomorrow.

One university also released grade information directly to students, triggering UCAS to launch an investigation into the universities’ automated systems, which is blamed for the error.

A-level grades can be released to students from 6am tomorrow and university place information can be tracked on UCAS from 8am, but publication ahead of the official release time is strictly forbidden.

Place confirmations from the universities, which have not been named, went to students with a conditional grade offer, meaning the students could make assumptions about their achieved grades.

A UCAS spokesperson told Schools Week: “Regrettably there have been a small number of process errors, typically where universities’ automated systems have released communications to prospective students ahead of results day.

“In each case the provider concerned has informed UCAS immediately and swift action has been taken to correct the errors. The majority of these imply applicant status rather than achieved grades.

“However, in one case we believe a very small number of students may have had access to their results.

“We take these matters very seriously and, as you would expect, we have immediately alerted the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) and the regulators of these errors. These cases are currently under investigation and a full report will be made to the regulators and awarding bodies in due course.”

A JCQ spokesperson said exam boards take security of results “extremely seriously” and they were “concerned” to learn of the breach.

JCQ, which represents all of the exam boards, is now in talks with UCAS to gather all of the details of the error and understand how this can be avoided in the future.

The spokesperson added: “There is, of course, a balance to be had between providing universities with results a few days early so they can prepare admissions and maintaining the security and fairness of these results.”

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  1. Helen Skilton

    The official time for releasing results to candidates is 6.00am according to JCQ guidelines. Information cannot be released to the press or Local Authority until 9.30 am.

    • Frog face

      No your right they don’t. This issue is with the way the information is delivered to applicants.

      These poor kids have been waiting for there results only to find out by an email from a university that they have/have not met the grade. It’s a poor show for the Universites to take away the delivery of the results from the official channels. Lots of the students arrange to meet with fellow students so they can get there grades in a group and not through a random email from an institution that knows and has always known that this imbargo is in place.

      It’s not down to universities to deliver this news…. Some of the kids would have been completely alone when they received an email that they had missed out on a place it disgusting…