19/08/2010 08:12 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Universities Feeling The Pressure As A Level Pass Rates Soar

Financial cuts and record numbers of applicants could mean that 200,000 students miss out on university places this autumn.

Figures indicate that around 660,000 students have applied for courses this year, an 11 per cent increase on 2009's admissions. UCAS - the Universities and Colleges Admission Service - said that by 6am today, some 379,411 applicants had their courses confirmed, leaving hundreds of thousands of others facing a scramble for remaining places.

The Association of Graduate Recruiters chief executive, Carl Gilleard, told reporters that students should consider taking a year out as the clearing process and battle for places would be 'more stressful than ever'.

He said: 'My advice for school leavers that feel university is the right route for them, but miss out on a place this year, is to consider getting some broader experience - either in the workplace or by volunteering - which will help strengthen their application to university next time around.'

Whilst critics claimed 'dumbed down' A Levels were to blame for the lack of places, as more and more youngsters attained higher grades, Christine Blower, the general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, disagreed:
'There is no evidence that this has happened,' she said, 'Denigrating the achievement of students seems to be a national sport and does nothing to reflect the immense achievement of young people and their teachers.'

What do you think?
Are 'easy' A Levels to blame for placement chaos?