School, college and university admissions FAQs

We are reviewing all FAQs on a regular basis – adding new questions as they arise, updating answers to existing questions as information changes, and removing obsolete questions. 

If you have a question which is not covered here, and you are an ASCL member, please email, and we will try to find an answer and share it here. 

These FAQs are provided for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal or professional advice. They represent ASCL’s views, but you rely on them at your own risk. For specific advice relevant to your particular circumstances, please contact your employer’s HR service or legal advisers.

The DfE published guidance on 14 April on how the admission appeals process will work this year.

This guidance outlines proposed new regulations which will relax some of the current requirements set out in the School Admission Appeals Code 2012 to enable admission authorities to proceed with appeals in the current situation.

These new regulations will:

  • disapply the requirement that appeals panels must be held in person and instead give flexibility for panel hearings to take place either in person, by telephone, video conference or through a paper-based appeal where all parties can make representations in writing
  • relax the rules with regard to what happens if one of the three panel members withdraws (temporarily or permanently) to make it permissible for the panel to continue with and conclude the appeal as a panel of two
  • amend the deadlines relating to appeals for the time that the new regulations are in force
This guidance was updated on 24 April to confirm that these regulations have now come into force, and will remain in force until 31 January 2021.

UCAS’s current view is that deferrals remain fairly static despite media rumours. This means that universities will make offers to students requesting deferrals in the usual way and, provided they meet the conditions of their offers, they will be guaranteed places. 

"For now", the UCAS line is to maintain current deadlines, but "this could change should the public health situation evolve and/or customer feedback require us to review this". 


Estimated grades are usually completed after a full year of Y12 teaching and formalised mock exams. This will obviously not be the case this year for many students.  UCAS has been assured that "universities will be flexible in their approaches this summer" as "Ofqual are managing the awarding of grades in line with the comparable outcomes process to ensure consistency of standards across years". 

This question is particularly pertinent now that the BMAT test series has been moved back from September to November. "For now", the UCAS message is that of retaining a consistent approach to the next cycle, which is familiar to all applicants and universities. However, they "remain alert to customer feedback and are keeping this under constant review".

Work experience is critical for some courses, e.g. voluntary work in a hospital for medicine. The Medical Schools Council (MSC) has issued guidance on their website around work experience, which can be found here

This is an individual university decision, but all universities must have a deferrals policy. If they change this policy, they will contact applicants to let them know, particularly if they decide that a deferral means the applicant will have to re-apply for 2021 entry.

UCAS has acknowledged that there may well be more appeals and administrative issues over grades this summer. They have therefore decided to extend the deadline for applicants to meet academic offer conditions from 31 August to 7 September. However, this remains an advisory deadline. Should a university choose to work to a different date they will need to communicate with affected applicants to make them aware of this.

The DfE is currently assessing this, in discussion with local authorities. 

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