A statement on admissions 2020 from The Queen’s College
Please note that we issued an updated statement on 17 August 2020.
Queen’s is committed to providing the best possible education for those most able to benefit from it, whatever their personal circumstances and background. We invest strongly in outreach, working with others, and focussing on specific areas of London and of the North West of England, where we have historic links.
All those involved in admissions and in teaching are aware that the impacts of the pandemic have caused much uncertainty and anxiety for those taking A-levels this year. We are extremely sympathetic to everyone affected by these difficult and stressful circumstances, and sensitive to the widespread concerns that students from underrepresented backgrounds would be particularly impacted. Queen’s has worked throughout to ensure that no offer holder is unfairly disadvantaged.
Oxford has a common admissions framework, designed to ensure that the best students are selected irrespective of which college they initially applied to. We were delighted to see that we were the College with the lowest number of offer holders missing their grades, while continuing to increase the proportion of UK offers going to those from underrepresented socio-economic groups. The situation at present is that Queen’s is accepting its largest ever intake of undergraduates and amongst UK undergraduates the proportion that come from state schools is the highest on record.1
Each year, Oxford is able to prepare for A-level results day by seeing grades in advance. When someone’s grades do not meet the conditions of their offer, we do not automatically reject them, but carefully consider each individual’s case. The college, working together with the relevant faculties, examines whether there are mitigating circumstances that mean clemency should be exercised. This is in addition to reviewing all the other evidence available to us from the application process and interview performance. We have also written to all schools where we have offer-holders and asked them to tell us about any special or extenuating circumstances that might help us to make a fairer decision.
Like all colleges, we consider a wide and detailed range of contextual data because we know that factors such as socio-economic disadvantage and school performance can make it difficult for students to demonstrate their full potential before applying to university. This year it was anticipated that the method of allocating grades without actual examinations would systematically disadvantage students from schools and neighbourhoods with less history of sending people to Oxbridge. Oxford therefore revised the guidelines on clemency to give even more weight to indicators of social disadvantage, and we have taken these indicators very much into account.
Meanwhile, we at Queen’s are working hard to ensure that all our students have a safe and successful year ahead and we look forward to welcoming them to the College at the start of the Michaelmas term.
1. Currently, 67% of UK candidates accepted by Queen's this year are from state schools.