Special Admissions arrangements for 2021

These arrangements are for applicants who are expecting to enrol in September 2021 who would normally be completing qualifications and receiving results in summer 2021.

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It also affects undergraduate applicants who have applied for 2022 entry in the current cycle and who need to meet all the conditions of their offer before the current admissions cycle ends.

For some qualifications, alternative arrangements for assessing students and awarding a final grade will be made. However, some students will not be able to complete their qualification and be awarded a final grade in time to start their programme in autumn term 2021.

The policies below will apply to conditional offer holders who have been asked to achieve certain grades and new applicants who may be made conditional or unconditional offers both in the remainder of the current admissions cycle and via Clearing.

A-levels and other UK qualifications

Following the recent government announcement, alternative arrangements are being made for UK GCSEs and A level exams, and we currently are awaiting guidance from Ofqual and the Department for Education around these alternative arrangements. The government has announced that schools and colleges can continue with the vocational and technical exams due to take place in January where it is right to do so.

If you feel your grades are not a reflection of your ability, you can submit a mitigating circumstances claim, preferably with a supporting statement from your school/college/university or other evidence to admissions-confidential@gold.ac.uk. We will give some consideration to all mitigating circumstances claims, with or without supporting evidence, but confirmation is not guaranteed.

Any applicant unhappy with their confirmation decision can request feedback and, if appropriate, use the admissions appeals process.

Private candidates

Some students are taking qualifications such as A-levels or GCSEs privately. This may be because they are re-sitting qualifications, are homeschooled, studying via distance learning etc. As they are not necessarily attending an institution it will be more difficult to obtain a grade on the basis of coursework completed. For some, including those studying via distance learning, tutors may be able to provide information to the head of the centre where the exam is being taken and a grade can be calculated from this, which will be considered in the normal way.

Candidates who are unable to obtain any grade for this year for their GCSE or A-levels

A-levels – we can look at whether it’s possible to make a decision on previous academic achievement such as GCSE performance, assessment during the application process (such as portfolio consideration or interview) or to undertake some additional assessment at this stage in order to confirm.

GCSE – for general undergraduate programmes where a GCSE grade is required (usually in Maths) we will look at the applicant’s other academic achievements and, where possible, waive this requirement if it appears they have the general academic ability to catch up or have subject knowledge from other sources. It may be necessary to have some additional maths support on programme.

For PGCE programmes, there are alternatives to GCSEs that some people may use. The Department of Educational Studies does also run GCSE-equivalency tests, which are currently on hold. If the campus is re-opened in time, we may be able to offer this as an alternative.

For Social Work, there are a greater range of alternatives but it may still be difficult to register for these if they are running. More online options are being developed, and it is likely that applicants will be able to meet requirements with some of these.

Degree-level study

Applicants for postgraduate programmes may be required to complete degree-level study with particular grades to meet conditions for entry onto our programmes.

It is expected that most higher education providers will be able to provide alternative teaching and assessment, and we will consider final results in the same way as normal. If there are circumstances in which it is not possible for an applicant to achieve a final result on their degree programme we can consider module marks on their programme and an academic assessment can be made on this basis.

EU and International

International Baccalaureate

If exams are cancelled and applicants are assessed based on coursework rather than exams, some of which will be externally assessed, these grades will be accepted as equivalent to normal IB grades.

International foundation programmes

The majority of international foundation pathway providers have moved to online teaching and assessment. These arrangements will be considered on a case-by-case basis, but grades are likely to be accepted as equivalent to normal results.

Individual country qualifications

For other countries, we will look at the arrangements on a case-by-case basis. Where exams have been cancelled and alternative arrangements have been made to provide grades based on coursework etc, we will accept these grades as long as the alternative assessment methods are sufficiently robust. Alternative assessment methods would ideally be based on an assessment of completed work or an online assessment and would preferably include some external marking, moderation or oversight. Where we do not consider these alternative arrangements to be sufficiently robust for automatic consideration, the applicant can still be considered in the same way as applicants who are not awarded a final grade.

Where an applicant is not able to complete their qualification at all (or in time to start in the autumn term) and no alternative arrangements are made by their awarding body, we may take a number of steps.

  • We may be able to confirm their place on grades achieved so far – for example, for an applicant completing a degree we may be able to look at their module grades. If we were to accept an applicant on this basis a special entry form would be needed to confirm that the department are happy to accept the applicant and to demonstrate the basis on which they have been confirmed.
  • For some programmes, we may be able to accept applicants on the assessment methods used when processing their Goldsmiths application, such as an interview or portfolio. Again a special entry form would be needed to show that this has taken place.
  • If there is not sufficient information from previous study or marks achieved earlier in their current qualification, and the applicant has received an offer based on their application alone, departments may wish to undertake further assessment in order to decide whether to confirm a conditional offer. This may include an interview or providing examples of written work to demonstrate the applicant’s ability and potential.
  • If appropriate we can consider offering an applicant who has not completed their entry qualification an alternative programme, such as an Integrated Degree or International Foundation Certificate (IFC).
  • Where it is not possible to accept an applicant for 2021 entry, we would recommend deferring entry – retaining the conditions so the applicant can complete their qualification next year. For applications via UCAS, where it is not possible to defer a conditional offer, we may be able to make a guaranteed offer for 2021 entry – the applicant would need to reapply via UCAS or complete a Record of Prior Acceptance (RPA) form but would not need to be interviewed again or submit another portfolio.
  • In some cases, where it is considered the applicant’s situation, previous grades etc, suggest they would not have met their offer conditions we may choose to reject them. They will be able to reapply as normal in a future year if they subsequently achieve the required grades or are re-sitting.

Any applicant unhappy with their confirmation decision can request feedback and if appropriate use the admissions appeals process.

Applicants who feel their grades are not a reflection of their ability for any reason can submit a mitigating circumstances claim, preferably with a supporting statement from their school/college/university to admissions-confidential@gold.ac.uk.

English language requirements

Where applicants have concerns about meeting English language requirements, there are a number of options that should allow most applicants to meet these conditions.

  • The alternative English Language test page has been updated with additional options for tests.
  • Some English language test providers are now offering online versions of their assessment that applicants can take from home. The English Language Centre, Immigration Advisory Service and Student Recruitment team will obtain details of these tests and assess their suitability to meet English Language requirements. They may be accepted for entry directly or in combination with a Goldsmiths Pre-sessional English programme.
  • Goldsmiths Pre-sessional English programmes are now offered online, and entry requirements for these have been updated so applicants no longer need to take a UKVI approved SELT.
  • We are able to be a little more flexible in considering English Language tests, including how long ago the test was taken and in the scores, as long as the academic department, Admissions team and the Immigration Advisory Service are satisfied that the applicant has the ability to study and will not have any problems with obtaining a student visa.

Non-academic requirements

Some programmes have requirements additional to achieving certain grades in qualifications, and offer conditions reflect this.

Interviews – have all been moved to Skype or other online alternatives to face-to-face interviews. It is also acceptable to make an offer on the basis of the application alone, if the academic department feels this is appropriate.

Work experience – where a certain amount of work experience is a requirement of acceptance to a programme, departments have stated they will be as flexible as possible when considering what types of experience can contribute to this total.

Fitness to Train – for programmes that require them, Fitness to Train requirements include DBS checks, a suitability declaration, a health questionnaire and, for international students, an overseas criminal record disclosure. It is likely to be difficult to obtain these in the short term. We will provide advice to affected applicants and expect them to pro-actively work to meet these requirements as soon as it is practical.

2021 and beyond

Applicants who have completed their qualifications in 2021 but who want to apply during the 2021 cycle or further in the future may be concerned that their qualification will viewed negatively compared to students who are completing qualifications in the normal way in future years. Where a qualification is accepted for 2021 with alternative assessment, it will continue to be accepted in future years.

For applicants who were not able to sit any exams and were not awarded a grade or where the alternative assessment arrangements were not considered robust enough, we will expect them to take their exams by next summer and would make conditional offers on this basis wherever possible. For some applicants, it may not be possible to sit the exams and in these cases we would be flexible and take each application on its merits.

Where applicants for 2021 were partway through their qualification during the coronavirus crisis and have had part of their programme disrupted, we will take this into account when assessing applications. We expect that exam boards to also take this disruption into account when awarding grades in 2021, so in general offers will be made at normal levels. However, applicants who believe they have specific circumstances that we should take into account when considering their application can contact the Admissions team to discuss.

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