Top grades up nationally, but thousands of university places still available

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The proportion of top A-level grades has risen this year, the BBC resports.

A* and A grades were awarded to 26.3 per cent of entries - up by 0.5 percentage points compared with last year.

The number of university places allocated has fallen - with tens of thousands of places still available.

The Ucas university admissions body says that 416,000 places have so far been confirmed - down 2% on last year.

This is expected to mean a “buyer’s market”, with more options available to those looking for university places.

The fall in university entry follows a reduction in applications and a demographic dip in the number of 18-year-olds.

Many universities, including in the prestigious Russell Group, will still have places on offer through the clearing system, which matches people looking for places with vacancies on courses.

Changes to the qualifications system in England mean 13 A-level subjects this year have been decided solely by final exams, with no link to coursework or AS-levels.

The national results have been kept similar to last year, with over a quarter of entries receiving top grades.

But in those 13 subjects, which include history, English, psychology, physics, chemistry and biology, there were 0.7% fewer A* and A grades.

Also, the gender gap has narrowed in these new-style A-levels, with boys’ results falling less than for girls.