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 latest view is that the increased numbers of places offered this year has balanced out the marginal increase in deferrals. This means that there should be no discernible impact on the number of places available for entry in 2021.

Applications for any course at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, or for most courses in medicine, veterinary medicine/science, and dentistry, should arrive at UCAS by 18:00 on 15 October to guarantee equal consideration. Students can add choices with a different deadline later but can only have five choices in total.  

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.

n broad terms, first-time applicants to medicine are likely to all be in the same situation. All medical schools are aware that the opportunities for work experience have been affected and will take this into account. Consequently, medical schools will have to adapt their expectations to the situation applicants find themselves in. Students should make sure to check the medical school's website for updates on work experience. Additionally, you should keep in mind that clinical work experience is not generally a requirement for applying to medical school in any year.

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.

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

In terms of advice for autumn series students, this is the best page.

Essentially, a university/college may use a DCF (Delayed Confirmation) decision for applicants who you wish to remain at Conditional Firm in the 2020 cycle, to await the results of the autumn series, which are expected by 31 January 2021. However, if a university or college is not willing to use the DCF route, the applicant will need to reapply in the 2021 cycle.

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