[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 November 2005, 12:05 GMT
Problems hit course applications
Computer room
Teacher training applicants have complained of poor information
Applications for teacher training courses have been held up this year by the installation of a new IT system.

Many students have said they have not been told whether their chosen institutions have received their forms.

The BBC News website has received emails from dozens of PGCE applicants who have complained about delays.

GTTR - the branch of the admissions service which deals with teacher training - said institutions had now received all electronic applications.

A GTTR spokesperson said a new IT system had caused "initial delays" in the processing of applications.

The overall university admissions service Ucas handles over 500,000 applications each year - with many students now currently applying for courses beginning in autumn 2006.

'Ridiculous'

Prospective teacher Anna Stach said GTTR staff had been unable to confirm that her application had been forwarded to her chosen institutions.

"My form still hasn't been sent, I suddenly have two applications going with GTTR and my name changed from Anna to Carla, while my date of birth also got mixed up.

"This system is a complete mess," she said.

And Zoe Abrahams said even though she sent her application early, she believed later applications had made more progress.

"I applied at the beginning of October and apparently the forms have still not been sent.

"Considering most universities arrange their PCGE interviews for November, the entire situation is ridiculous."

The GTTR spokesperson said: "The process of transferring electronic data onto the template for the copy forms has resulted in some technical glitches, causing delays in sending applications to institutions."

But he said students should be reassured that all institutions had now received electronic applications, and that if any needed more time to consider an application, that would be given.

Information missing

Problems have also been continuing with this year's UK university applications process, handled by Ucas, following the introduction of an electronic system.

Some students have found that their chosen universities apparently have not received any details about them.

Ucas said the universities could look up the information via a secure web link.

But a statement on its website acknowledges not all institutions are in a position to receive data electronically.

And there had also been problems providing them with paper versions of applications.

A Devon parent, Paul Evans, told the BBC News website that his daughter, Ellis, had made her applications electronically in October.

But then one of her chosen universities e-mailed her and, although it had received her personal statement, did not have information about her qualifications.

"She was asked to e-mail the admissions tutor with the missing information," Mr Evans said.

"Concerned by this I contacted her school who contacted the university and they confirmed the missing data from Ucas.

Other applicants have said the facility to "track" their applications is not working or has missed off information.

Melissa Froude told the BBC News website that when she accessed her application online, all her employment details had disappeared.

Hindsight

When problems were reported three weeks ago, Ucas said there had been some "glitches" but no one would be disadvantaged.

That assurance stands.

A spokeswoman said applications were being processed more quickly than last year.

"But universities still want paper copy forms, and reformatting the electronic information to go back onto paper has been challenging to say the least."

A statement on the Ucas website says that while the new electronic systems are being bedded in "there may be some delays in processing your application and passing on your information to the universities and colleges concerned".

Asked whether the system could not have been designed so that the information it contained could be printed out, the spokeswoman said: "Hindsight is a wonderful thing."


If you have also been affected by problems in the Ucas system this year - as student or administrator - tell us about it using the form below.

Name
Your e-mail address
Town & Country
Comments

The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published. Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.


Some of the comments we have received:

I've been waiting almost three weeks since my UCAS application was sent off, and only two universities have acknowledged receiving my application, despite UCAS (after putting me on hold for 10 minutes) telling me every choice had received an application! It all seems rather vague; all the UCAS Track website says is that my choices are 'referred'.
Tom, Student, Penzance, Cornwall, England

I am applying to a local university, and have had no confirmation letter, and UCAS inform me that my details have not been passed on to the local university, as yet.
Laura Jury, Brixham, UK

It's terrible! My parents had to pay 15 to UCAS for me to apply, and for that you hope you can have some confidence in the system. These 'glitches' should have been foreseen and ironed out long ago...
Alice, Gloucestershire, UK

This problem also applies to CUKAS, the application system into the conservatoires in the UK. My son has submitted his application and when we track the history we find that all his education data (qualifications) has disappeared, his National Insurance number has changed and that he is not in full-time education but on a sandwich course. We also find that other data has changed and then corrected itself overnight, this includes his name, address and current college. In one instance he became a female living in Yugoslavia and being educated in Poland. I have contacted CUKAS on several occasions and they assure me that the data accessed by the conservatoires is correct, and that the problem seems to be confined to the tracking software.

Currently we have received replies from five out of the six conservatoires so hopefully they are correct in their statement.
Colin Monk, Northampton, UK

I'm in the process of applying for PGCE courses via the GTTR. Having submitted my form over three weeks ago, I have heard no word from them or the universities that I applied to. When I try to call the GTTR I either am a very long way down a queue or my call gets cut off. This clearly doesn't tally with their claims of answering 90% of calls within 30 seconds (source: http://www.gttr.ac.uk/customer.html). Having looked repeatedly at their website, I discovered today an update saying that all their delays in sending out forms have been due to a new computer system being implemented. However, this doesn't explain why forms sent at the beginning of October (when they advised people to apply) are being processed slower than those received within the past week.

I am seriously upset with this lack of communication from the GTTR and hope that it won't mean I lose out on a place at my choice of uni due to their lack of organisation.
Sarah Pannell, Brighton, England

I have been affected by the problems UCAS are suffering. I have applied for a PGCE through the GTTR, which is run by UCAS, and even though I sent my application off five weeks ago, I still haven't heard anything from the GTTR. Luckily for me I know that my first choice university has received my application, because they emailed me and told me.
Kirsty Hatfield, Hull, East Yorkshire

Like thousands of others I have applied for a primary PGCE course through GTTR, which is the same application system as UCAS. Having finished and sent my application form on the 1 October, I am still waiting to hear anything from GTTR. The system is a mess and I know that many others are in the same boat, but when you are given excuses week after week, you lose faith in the system!
Alexandra, Sheffield

My form was received by GTTR at the end of September and they took my payment very efficiently. As of yet I have had no welcome letter so unsure if application has made it to the university yet. When you ring GTTR you get told it will be sent soon!
H, Leicestershire, UK

I had to wait over eight weeks for my application to be transferred from the GTTR (a branch of UCAS dealing with teacher training) to my first choice of university. During all this time, the staff was unable to provide any information on the progress of my application or the difficulties GTTR was having.

I have also found out that the contact details I provided GTTR with were altered when they reached the university: my home and contact addresses ended up becoming the same, and had "France" added at the bottom. GTTR was very efficient at cashing the application fee though.
Michael, abroad

I have recently applied through the GTTR for a primary place at Manchester University. However, the GTTR are absolutely useless! Applicants were informed that they could apply at the start of September but as yet, most of the applications have still not been sent to the universities. GTTR are offering very little advice as staff seem to be getting irate at callers wanting to know what is going on. It seems GTTR are experiencing the same problems as Ucas with their computer system.
Gemma Tyrer, Manchester

I have only heard from one of four universities and applied by 15 October deadline - this is rather worrying as it's so late! The Ucas tracking system isn't even active on my login.
Lisa, London UK

After a huge delay by my college to send it off, UCAS have taken about three days to process my application and, to my worry, I have nothing sent to the university of my choice. I originally paid 15 on September 15 and to hear nothing nearly two months on isn't encouraging.
Shanine Salmon, Southampton

I sent my PGCE application off in the first week the forms came out and it still hasn't been sent to my first choice university. I failed to get onto the course last year and I'm now very upset that I may also fail again this year because my form is not processed in time.
Michelle Flatley, Liverpool

I applied to teacher training in the middle of October and have heard nothing, not even an acknowledgement or a quick email to say there were delays. Your website is the first I've heard that there are problems. They could at least have posted something on their website that I have been checking every day to let us know that there are delays.
Emma North, London




SEE ALSO:
Student application woes persist
07 Nov 05 |  Education
Online university form 'glitches'
14 Oct 05 |  Education
'No rush for university' claim
20 Jul 05 |  Education
University entry overhaul planned
14 Sep 04 |  Education
Pupils try university entry exam
19 Sep 05 |  Education


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific