Clearing 2014: Daily visualisation overview

It’s that exciting and nerve-wracking time of year again. For most who have applied to UCAS to get a place at university, they will know today which institution they are going to attend. For tens of thousands however, the letter will bring less welcome news, but it is important to keep in mind the options and to keep calm and use clearing.

Looking at an overview of Clearing figures from 2013, this should give applicants some hope. Last year, those who did not apply to the main scheme, which closed on 30 June, but applied directly to Clearing, had an excellent chance of getting a place at university. Of 21,950 who applied to Clearing directly in 2013, 15,000 got a place. Overall, 57,000 students in 2013 got their place through Clearing, which was 12% of all acceptances. Continue reading

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Keep calm and use clearing

Think Clearing is a ‘second-best’ option? Think again, says The Student Room community editor Nik Taylor

Clearing comes with its own myth. Some see it as an academic failure; a route that would-be undergrads take if they’ve bombed their exams. That’s an untruth that is being eroded, but perhaps not quickly enough.

What is true is that a lot of students use Clearing: more than 57,000 students found their place at university this way in 2013. What’s also true is that almost all UK universities use it to offer places on at least some of their courses. Continue reading

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Trends in undergraduate recruitment

A new report published today by Universities UK looks at recent trends in the recruitment of undergraduates in England, focussing on students from the UK and EU. Drawing on analysis of publicly available data, combined with evidence gathered from interviews and surveys of Universities UK members, the report provides an assessment of trends covering a period of significant change for universities. Including ongoing transition to a new funding system, reductions in public funding, and the impact of the economic downturn. Continue reading

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Higher and Higher…

It’s an occupational hazard that I still get a little nervous as Higher results day approaches, even though it was many years ago since I was anxiously waiting on my own set of results to find out whether I had secured the place I wanted at university.

This year there is a lot to celebrate. As of midnight on Monday, 23,780 Scottish students got a place at Scotland’s 17 higher education institutions that are part of the UCAS admissions system. That is just over 1,000 more than last year; an increase of 4%. Continue reading

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Strong growth in the demand for degrees

Just weeks away from results days, the demand for degree level learning is showing strong growth whilst the shifting qualifications landscape and changes to number controls mean subtle recruitment challenges lie in wait for universities.

As UCAS’ latest statistics show, there has been a 4% increase in demand for places so far this year, with an additional 17,000 UK students making applications by the end of June compared to 2013. Continue reading

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Send us your views on the student fees and loans system – Prof Sir Christopher Snowden

As more people begin to suggest changes to England’s student loan system ­– as seen again this week with reports that government officials are considering a plan to let universities buy debt – Professor Sir Christopher Snowden outlines how the new Student Funding Panel would like to hear about more such ideas and from a range of people and organisations.

Professor Sir Christopher Snowden

Have the reforms to higher education in England improved the quality of the student experience? What impact will lifting the cap on student numbers have on the sustainability of the public finances? Does the reformed system encourage universities to widen access?

These are all questions on which the Student Funding Panel, launched by Universities UK in April this year, is considering and seeking views. Continue reading

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Why economic growth plans are (sort of) like travel guides

The concept of a local economic plan is an interesting one: distilling the priorities, problems, hopes and future of an area into a hundred page document, and creating a vision of where you want to be in six years’ time (and, ideally, at each annual reporting deadline within that period). It is important, however, to frame these plans in the wider policy context. Continue reading

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Leading visual effects company on importance of university links

Universities UK is currently working with the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) to examine how universities are working with employers to develop alternative and innovative pathways to high level skills. In this blog, Amy Smith from Framestore, a world leader in visual effects and the company behind the images in the Oscar-winning film Gravity, shares her thoughts on how universities are working with fast-paced creative and digital industries to meet their skills needs and how we can strengthen these partnerships.

Ten years ago, the team at Framestore identified a need to collaborate more closely with higher education institutions to help to work better with the creative sector. Our efforts have taken on many forms over the years, including providing guest lecturers, career guidance and coaching; attending events and job fairs; sitting on course advisory boards; offering internships and providing hardware. Continue reading

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Translating the potential of open data into practice

“Data is the next oil. Data is the new capital of the 21st century. Data will spur innovation and drive growth.” We’ve all heard statements like these over the last few years. And in many ways they’re true. As the volume and richness of data rapidly increases, so does the demand for insight into strategies that can be implemented to harness its full value.

Open data democratises this evolving market. Open data sets are proliferating, with over 8 million data sets available through Quandl and and nearly 20,000 through According to McKinsey, open data has a potential global value of $3 trillion. Lateral Economics estimates that open data – including open access research – could contribute $13 trillion to G20 economies cumulatively over the next five years. The assessment carried out for the 2013 Shakespeare Review estimated that the direct economic impact of public sector information in 2011 was over £7 billion. Continue reading

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Creating value from open data


Open data, the principle and practice of making data available for anyone to use, for any purpose, at no cost has the potential to make a major impact on the world around us. Given these prospects, the UK higher education sector is already starting to get on board. A number of universities (Southampton, Oxford, and the Open University, to name a few) have taken on the agenda, and are rapidly developing tools and practices. Sector agencies and bodies such as JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee), HESA (Higher Education Statistics Agency), the Research Councils, and the Royal Society are also working in the same direction. Continue reading

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