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Qualification reform statement

Beginning in 2015, and taking approximately three years to be rolled out to all subjects, GCSE’s, AS and A level qualifications are being reformed in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. At Coventry we understand that this may lead to some uncertainty within Schools and Colleges, particularly with regard to admissions to Higher Education, and especially in light of financial constraints that Schools and Colleges may be facing in regard to their Post-16 curriculum.

Coventry University is not planning to change its typical entry requirements as a result of these reforms (except where specified in this guide) but will monitor the performance of students as the reforms become established and will respond as necessary to any performance trends.

We hope that this short guide offers reassurance about the approach to the reforms taken by Coventry University. We are committed to fair admissions for all of our programmes and this has been our guiding principle in drafting our response to the reforms

A fuller explanation of the reforms can be found here.

AS and A level

Coventry University fully appreciates that Schools and Colleges may have difficulties in offering four full A level subjects and as such we would not expect applicants to offer this to gain entry. We currently make offers based upon the performance in three A levels, or equivalencies, in the case of a mixed qualification offer.

Reforms in England (although not in Wales or Northern Ireland) will result in a linear two year A level and provide a choice for Schools and Colleges in putting their students forward for AS levels or not. No advantage or disadvantage will be given to applicants as a result of their School or College’s approach to AS entry and we believe that each School or College should base their policy on the best fit to their particular circumstances. We would recommend that Schools and Colleges make use of the applicants UCAS reference to briefly outline their policy to provide context to the application form assessor.

It is recognised that a positive performance in AS level at Year 12 may help to motivate students and offer support to their A level predicted grades but where these are not available referral to ‘mock’ or other internal assessments would be welcomed within the student reference.

We appreciate that as the reforms are phased in that applicants may be offering a mix of ‘old’ and ‘new’ A and AS qualifications and we will not discriminate between the variants in our offer-making or decision-making at results time. As indicated above we will monitor trends in performance and make changes to future entry requirements if required.

The reforms to AS and A level will not change our positive approach to students offering a mix of qualification types.

Practical Skills in Science

Reformed A levels in Biology, Physics and Chemistry will see the introduction of a separate pass/fail grade for a Practical Skills element (England only). This is in addition to the traditional written examination grade. Whilst recognising the importance of practical skills within these disciplines Coventry will not be asking for a Practical Skills pass grade in addition to the written examination grade. However a pass grade in Practical Skills may strengthen an application when borderline cases are considered.


We regard the new Grade 4 as being equivalent to the previous C grade in GCSE grading. Grade 5 will be regarded as satisfactory for meeting entry requirements that stipulate a GCSE grade B under the previous letter grading system.

There is no requirement for students in England to offer the ‘EBacc’

Core mathematics

We welcome the development of the Core Mathematics course and believe that those students who wish to follow subjects at university that draw upon mathematical or statistical knowledge (e.g. business, psychology, sciences) but don’t wish to take A/AS mathematics may find it useful preparation. However we would not discriminate against students who do not, or cannot, take this option.

Vocational Qualifications

We will continue to consider applicants offering relevant Cambridge Technical, BTEC and other vocational qualifications including the new Tech Level qualifications. These may be as standalone qualifications or as part of mix of qualifications such as an A level and BTEC. With regard to BTEC qualification reforms we are aware that the effect of the changes, if any, upon collective performance level is uncertain however we will monitor trends in performance and make changes to future entry requirements if required.

Extended Project (EPQ)

We welcome the independent learning opportunities that the EPQ offers and the additional academic and research experience that it brings. In common with other additional qualifications (e.g. additional subject AS’s) the EPQ is taken into account at initial consideration and results stages even though it may not form part of any offer made to the applicant. A strong EPQ performance may strengthen an application considered borderline.

If any Schools and Colleges wish us to clarify any of the above then please contact the Recruitment and Admissions Office via or tel. +44 (0)24 7765 2222

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