This time 12 months ago, the future was looking grim for the University of Southampton after undergraduate intake for the year ahead fell by 600 PLACES.
Last year, Southampton had received a government cap which limited the places they could give to students with A-level grades lower than AAB. However, the University struggled to secure a high number of students with these grades, which is where the slump arose. Southampton was part of what Cameron described as the ‘squeezed middle’ of universities.
Nutbeam however pointed to the government’s overestimated prediction of A-grade achievers – conducive to the cap – as the reason behind last year’s slump. He told Times Higher Education:
Along with a number of Russell Group universities, we were caught out by the miscalculation of the government of the number of students who get A at A-level.
Following this miscalculation, adjustments were made which resulted in Southampton this year being allowed to take on an unlimited number of ABB achievers – more generous than last year’s limit of only 1,500 below AAB. This has in turn led to an intake increase of 25% this year.
Despite this increased leniency however Nutbeam stated that the Uni didn’t concede their high grade demands to up intake, saying
we held our ground pretty well.
He also criticised the ‘snobbish’ attitude that some universities have towards clearing; on results day this August he stated that the University was to recruit more ABB students through clearing and adjustment (the reverse of clearing – where students who did better than expected can ‘upgrade’ to a more selective university).
As a result of this, Nutbeam predicted that recruitment could be up this year by 15 or even 20%, though the final figure is 5% more than he predicted.
Bearing in mind last year’s drop, do you think the steep increase in student intake a good or bad thing? Let us know in comments.