Students from Grenfell should be accepted to their first choice of university, whatever their A Level results, an education campaigner has said.
Professor Chris Imafidon has written to the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) urging them to make sure that survivors of the devastating blaze two months ago are accepted into university.
He said that students caught up in the fire, which killed at least 80 people, went through “hell” and that it would be unfair to compare their results with those of their peers who still had their homes and security.
His comments come as Kensington and Chelsea Council announces that pupils who took exams in the wake of the fire can have results reviewed.
Professor Chris Imafidon, a local resident and campaigner, told HuffPost UK that Grenfell survivors should not be judged solely on their A Level results but that their GCSE marks and predicted grades should be taken into consideration.
He said: “On June 14 students woke up and all of their revision papers were incinerated, every single computer they had got burned down, yet they had to go to an exam on June 15.
“It is totally unfair for a student who had a... (home) to be assessed the same way as somebody who just came out of a fire.”
Describing the trauma students in the tower and surrounding blocks went through that night, Imafidon said: “They went through hell.
“They didn’t have parents to support them, they didn’t have homes, they lived in hotels, they couldn’t cook normal food.
“Think what a disorientating impact that would have on anybody’s life, it’s incredible.”
He added: “The resilience that is needed to do an undergraduate degree is not ingrained at A Level.
“The A Level is only one indicator of whether or not a student will be successful in their degree.
“It is completely barmy for one to say that all of their GCSE grades will be discounted, every other achievement they have had will be discounted, and then for university they are selected solely on A Level, so I have written to UCAS.”
Imafidon said that about a dozen students were affected by the blaze and that, of the university admissions departments he has spoken to, professors have agreed they will take into account the circumstances of Grenfell applicants, using predicted grades and GCSE results as a guide.
Helen Thorne, director of external affairs at UCAS, said: “Universities and colleges are understanding of the circumstances of applicants.
“We would encourage any applicants affected by the Grenfell fire to contact their university choices as soon as possible to discuss their situation if they have not already done so.”
Kensington and Chelsea Council said that on GCSE and A Level results days, counselling and mental health support, along with options for further education and career advice will be available, with schools in North Kensington given priority.
The council said that it is working with exam bodies and schools to ensure that any pupils who took exams around the time of the fire have their grades looked at, reviewed and modified accordingly if necessary.
The council said that there were “many applications” for special consideration made by schools on behalf of their students during the GCSE and A Level examination period last term.
Elizabeth Campbell, leader of Tory council, said: “We know that some pupils took exams following the night of the fire and in the days afterwards, and I want to ensure that their chances of a university or sixth form place are not impacted by something totally out of their control.
“The council has written to schools and made support available as pupils come to collect GCSE and A Level results over the next two weeks. We will also be there with help when the first day of term arrives in September.
“I’d like to thank the headteachers and teachers involved in this effort, they are a credit to the schools and communities they serve.”
UCAS said that if any applicants impacted by the Grenfell fire find themselves in Clearing, they can contact advisors on Twitter @ucas_online and Facebook at www.facebook.com/ucasonline.
For any applicants who want wider advice about their choices after A Levels they can contact the Department for Education Exam Results Helpline on 0808 100 8000.”