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Friday, 18 August, 2000, 04:08 GMT 05:08 UK
Course scramble in clearing
university helpline
Universities are also taking a flood of calls
Calls from A-level students who did not make the grade are inundating the clearing system to find vacant university places.

Around 84,000 students are eligible for clearing this year, after failing to get the grades necessary to get into their first choice university.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas) said the service got off to a record start on Thursday when students across England, Wales and Northern Ireland received their results.

Its website had recorded 160,000 searches for vacant university places by midday, more than twice the number recorded for the entire A-level results day last year.

But students have found it harder to find places this year.

Lad culture

By Friday lunchtime, 1,631 had found a course compared with around 2,830 at the same time in 1999.

The Ucas hotline, 01242 227788, was also being swamped with calls from anxious students.

For the first time in A-level history, girls got more A grades than boys.

Boys also surrendered their traditional strongholds in maths and science, with the cult of "laddism" blamed for boys' static performance.

Leading educationalist Dr Mary James of Cambridge University blamed magazines such as Loaded and FHM for encouraging boys to conform to an anti-work "lad culture".

"Lads' magazines are part of it to some degree, certainly - you've got Loaded, FHM and they all contribute to issues of masculinity that we cannot ignore," she said.


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16 Aug 00 | UK Education
16 Aug 00 | UK Education
18 Aug 00 | Scotland
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