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Vocational door leads to degree places

Almost nine out of 10 students who are studying for vocational qualifications as a route into higher education have been given offers by universities.

More than 89 per cent of applicants doing advanced level General National Vocational Qualifications have been offered places, compared with 86 per cent last year, according to a report from the National Council for Vocational Qualifications.

Most of the applications from GNVQ students were to the "new" universities (former polytechnics), with students tending to continue with vocational courses at degree level.

There were still few, if any, applications to courses in medicine or dentistry, although GNVQs were proving a useful tool for entry into related fields such as physiotherapy and occupational therapy.

Judith Compton, project manager for GNVQs and Access into Higher Education (GATE), which disseminates information to the higher education sector on vocational courses, said: "Students have not yet challenged the full range of progression opportunities, and have tended to stick closer to the routes they have taken in FE college."

She added that universities had not reported any problems with GNVQ students compared with their A-level counterparts, although those with a GNVQ background sometimes experienced difficulties with long, unseen examinations.

Malcolm Deere, head of information and planning at the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, said: "Compared with A-levels, GNVQs are still a new concept for most universities and higher education colleges."

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