Update on the 2020 admissions process

Update, 18 August 2020

St. John’s welcomes the government’s clarification that Centre Assessed Grades (CAGs) will now be used as the basis for A-Level results. Following yesterday’s announcement, the College will provide a place for all offer-holders whose CAGs meet their conditional offer either for this year or for 2021, in addition to those offer-holders whose places have already been confirmed. We warmly congratulate all our successful new students and look forward to welcoming them to Oxford.

We appreciate that the past week has brought enormous stress and upset for our offer-holders, as well as for St John’s current and old members. Our Admissions Office and tutors were working tirelessly in the face of considerable uncertainty to ensure that disadvantaged students were not penalised by using the Ofqual algorithm. As a result of the change in government policy, many courses and colleges across the University are full, including at St. John’s. We are going to need time to consider how we deal with the increased numbers whilst also maintaining social distancing and the health and safety of all. Together with University colleagues, we are considering how this expansion can be managed and resourced, while awaiting further advice from the government so that a fair system for deferrals can be agreed.

We will confirm the position to offer-holders as soon as we can.

St. John’s reiterates its commitment to improving access to higher education and to recruiting and admitting students from diverse backgrounds each year.

15 August 2020

St John’s is deeply concerned about the impact of Covid-19 on this year’s school leavers and the effects of the approach taken to the awarding of grades.

It has been an extremely challenging year and the College is very conscious of the difficulties that students and teachers have faced. The Admissions Team were well prepared and have been in touch with all our offer-holders since results day.

Clearly this is a very unusual year. Most St John’s offer-holders in fact met their conditions despite the extraordinary circumstances. For those that did not, the St John’s admissions team has reviewed each case in great detail, taking into account all the other performance measures available to us.  In addition to the metrics used by most other Universities, we can look at the performance on the admissions test and at interview, as well as the UCAS form, predicted grades, and the individual circumstances and school backgrounds of candidates.

We want to ensure that all those who come to St. John’s will be able to flourish at Oxford.  In this exceptional year, we will therefore be putting in place extra study-skills support for any student who requires this, given they have not been in school for several months and the online provision has varied significantly across schools and colleges.  

The College has worked hard to put in place our ground-breaking outreach programme, Inspire. We have attracted generous philanthropic support that has enabled us to extend our reach further to students early in their secondary school careers to encourage them to aim high. Our objective, established over many years, is to admit students with the highest academic potential, regardless of their educational and social background – and we continue to strive for this.

We very much look forward to welcoming students to St John’s for the new academic year ahead and continue to plan for a safe and productive Michaelmas Term.