A-level results 2009

20 August 2009

Responding to the release of this year’s A-level results, which show that the number of students receiving A grades has increased for the 27th consecutive year, Dr Wendy Piatt, Director General of The Russell Group of 20 leading research intensive universities, said:

“A level students will rightly be congratulated for all their hard work and achievements this year.

“Although there will be a struggle for university places through Clearing, Russell Group universities are ensuring timely advice and information is available for candidates who may have missed out on their grade offers.

“Competition for places at Russell Group universities has always been tough. This is because students see their degrees as intellectually challenging as well as the basis for getting top jobs after graduating. The introduction of fees has done nothing to change this; indeed the intense competition for places this year has demolished the persistent myth that tuition fees would put students off higher education.

“Despite the scaremongering about debt, demand has never been greater. Students clearly realise that a degree on the whole is still a good investment and that they can access financial support from both the Government and universities.

“However access to increased funds for our universities remains a pressing priority. If university places continue to be rationed because of a lack of funding then this week’s scenes will be repeated in future years and many students capable of benefiting from higher education will miss out.”

Notes to editors

Subject and university choices can be crucial to maximising a young person's life chances so students must have access to quality information, advice and guidance. For example:

  • Research undertaken by the Centre for Economics of Education has identified an average wage premium of nearly 10% (9.4%) for a graduate from a Russell Group university compared to a graduate from a modern university. This statistic comes from an OLS linear estimation technique, which controls for individual characteristics including A-level scores, parental background, the school the individual attended among other factors affecting wages. “Does it pay to attend a prestigious university?” Arnaud Chevalier and Gavan Conlon, March 2003, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE (table 5 for the 1995 cohort, page 29).
  • Studies by Anna Vignoles and Peter Dolton have found that "individuals who have mathematics A Level earn between 7% and 11% more than otherwise similar individuals who do not take mathematics beyond the age of 16.

Policy area

Related case studies