UNISON calls for ‘sustainable and sufficient’ university funding

Call comes amid chaos caused by government handling of A-level results

UNISON today called on the government to properly support universities, staff and prospective students, as admissions departments face the chaos created by the handling of the exam situation throughout the UK.

“Only a month ago, many universities were predicting a 20% reduction in the number of UK students going to university – yet this year looks set to see high demand for university places,” said UNISON senior national officer Ruth Levin.

UNISON members in university admissions were already working under difficult conditions this year, due to the pandemic, while supporting A-level, Scottish highers and BTEC students in applying for university.

“And they’re now having to work even harder,” Ms Levin said, “to navigate the chaos created by the Scottish and Westminster governments in relation to the last-minute changes to the exam awarding systems.”

She added: “With the offer for some students to sit A-level exams in the autumn, it is not clear how all students will have equal and fair access to higher education, apprenticeships and work in the coming months.

“Ministers must do all they can support prospective students embarking on this journey.

“In addition, they need to recognise the value placed on a university education, and provide sustainable and sufficient funding for a sector facing the most serious financial challenge in its history.”