Following the recent Government announcement, Sidney Sussex College is delighted to honour its offers to incoming undergraduate students whose Centre Assessed Grades mean that the original conditional offer has been met or exceeded.

Given that this may result in College capacity being exceeded, we may have to offer deferred entry for 2021 to some applicants but we will do our utmost to minimise the number affected.

We appreciate the concerns raised by members and supporters of the College about the impact of the initial A-level result outcomes on the College’s admission decisions. At Sidney, the undergraduate admissions process consists of an individual assessment of each applicant’s achievements and above all potential.  Each applicant is considered individually at every stage of the decision making process – A-levels are only one element in a rich portfolio of evidence, including teacher references, predicted grades, contextual data, prior attainment, any submitted work, any admissions assessments, and performance at interview.  

Crucially, this wide-ranging assessment allows us to give full regard to a number of widening participation factors, and thus to play our full part in the Collegiate University’s achievement of its Access and Participation Plan 2020-25. Our flexible approach to assessing potential has been crucial to bringing together the diverse and inclusive College community which Sidney students value and are proud to  be a part of. This year we are excited to be welcoming one of our most diverse and inclusive cohorts.  As of yesterday, in terms of the key indicators set by the regulator, our Polar4 Q1 and Q2 ratios exceeded the University’s Access and Participation Plan target for 2020 entry by nearly 50%. We are therefore proud of having not just preserved, but built further on the College’s record of fair access and widening participation.

Meeting our commitment to every student in a cohort around 25% larger than normal will present the College with major challenges. We are working in parallel with the University to deliver a blended learning model, building inclusion and personalised learning into the use of communications technology.  We have the support of amazingly dedicated JCR and MCR leaderships in sustaining a rich and transformative student experience in a socially distanced way that minimises risk for all of our community. Through all of this, Sidney will focus on supporting our current students and to ensuring that we continue to admit those with the highest potential to thrive in Cambridge, whatever their background.

University statement

To find out more information about the University’s position, please refer to the University statement issued on 18 August.

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