Let’s end the lottery of predicted grades

Try explaining the British university admissions system to a foreigner. They look at you as if you’re mad. ‘What you do is, you apply to university in January on the basis of what your teacher thinks you will get in a series of cliff-edge exams you sit in May/June called A-levels. Only once you get your results in mid-August – which is to say, about a month before you’re due to start – is your place at university confirmed. But that’s only if you’ve actually achieved your predicted grades. If you haven’t, you go into this thing called ‘clearing’ where you scrabble around trying to pick up places that might