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EDITIONS
Thursday, 17 August, 2000, 13:18 GMT 14:18 UK
Laura's moment of truth
Students look happy to receive their results
Happy students at Peter Symonds College, Winchester
Among the A-level students who returned to school on Thursday to collect their results was Tyneside teenager Laura Spence.

Earlier this year she was at the centre of a row about Oxford University's admissions policy.

Laura Spence collecting A-level results
Laura Spence: Heading for Harvard
Laura, 18, was refused a place to read medicine at Magdalen College despite being predicted to score grade As in geography, biology, chemistry, English and general studies.

She then went on to win a scholarship to study biochemistry at Harvard University in the United States, and government ministers condemned the Oxford college's decision.

On Thursday, Laura arrived at Monkseaton Community High School to pick up her results.

She refused to reveal her grades, but her head teacher, Dr Paul Kelley, later said she scored five straight As - as expected.

He said Laura was one of the few students in England taking A-levels who had not had to worry on Thursday.

Questions about admissions

"Like others, she won her place through American examinations and her academic profile generally."

Laura's case had raised questions about the way university admissions were handled in the UK.

Dr Paul Kelley
Dr Paul Kelley: "Major flaws in admissions system"

"In the US - and most other countries - universities know students' results before they grant admission, and everyone knows where they stand long before this time in the year," he said.

"The UK system of offers, to be confirmed when results are published, often prevents universities from making valid or justifiable decisions on admission offers because they must estimate a candidate's ability and potential without the final A-level results.

"The admissions system as it stands has major flaws, including huge unnecessary pressure put on students up to August and beyond.

"The recent problems in Scotland only emphasise this point.

"Meanwhile, students going to American universities from this country - and the millions like them abroad - know exactly where they are going."

Among those relieved to have passed was Manisha Solanki of Feltham, Middlesex.

Manisha Solanki
Manisha Solanki: Wants to be a chartered accountant

She got a D in English Literature and an E in maths - not enough to get her into her first choice of university, but enough to secure her a place at her second choice.

The 18-year-old, who attended Longford Community School in Feltham, will now go to London Guildhall University in September to study accounting and finance.

She eventually wants to become a chartered accountant.

"I really wanted to get into university, but needed 16 points for my first choice, Kingston-upon-Thames. Even when I chose it, I thought this was too high for me," she said.

"London Guildhall wanted eight points. I only got six, but I phoned them up and they accepted me.

"I would have liked to have got two Cs, but that was just dreaming. I'm not that happy with my grades, but I'm just glad I passed, and that I'm going to university. I was scared of failing and wasting a whole two years."


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26 May 00 | UK Education
26 May 00 | UK Education
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