By Alan Rusbridger
(UPDATE: 18 August 2020. As mentioned in the post below, LMH has been carefully assessing individual offer holders’ grades on a case by case basis. We are delighted to confirm that all our undergraduate offers made in 2019/20 have now been confirmed.)
Several alumni have been in touch to ask about how LMH is handling admissions this year in the light of a certain amount of national disarray over the Covid-related allocation of grades in place of A levels. There is particular concern, which we share, that methods used to recalibrate results this year have impacted the most disadvantaged candidates.
A few points about LMH’s stance on this year’s admissions:
1. Inclusivity is embedded in the LMH ethos and our admissions statistics for the past four years have shown that we are consistently amongst the top Oxford colleges for diversity of undergraduate body. The launch of the Foundation Year in 2016 was a springboard, showing LMH to be an open, accessible college with a pioneering attitude that embraces the opportunity to widen access without lowering academic standards. As a college we have developed a considerable amount of understanding of widening participation, access and inclusivity whilst at the same time ensuring that our students are fully supported throughout their studies.
2. Both last December, when making conditional offers, and this month, when confirming places, LMH has done its best to understand the social, educational and economic circumstances of all candidates. We use commonly-shared metrics of social disadvantage - but have additionally been working in recent years to come up with what we regard as more reliable individual data.
3. This year we have confirmed places at LMH for 97 per cent of all 2020 offer holders. This includes 93 per cent of the candidates who have been told they missed the grades they needed to satisfy the conditional offers made in January.
4. We have gone to great lengths to understand any mitigating circumstances where candidates did not meet their predicted grades - and have more than doubled our rate of “clemency” this year for candidates who were “near misses” - including those affected by algorithmic adjustment.
5. We have confirmed places to all those (100 per cent) who are in the most socially disadvantaged band, using the metrics agreed by Oxford.
6. Because of Covid and the need to keep our community safe next term, we cannot increase the number of places this year. But in any cases where an applicant succeeds in challenging their allocated grades so that they meet their offer we will guarantee them a deferred place to join LMH in 2021.
7. The offers this year include 11 students from under-represented backgrounds (the Year 4 cohort) who have successfully completed the LMH Foundation Year.
8. In addition to the undergraduate places we expect, as planned, to offer at least eight places on next year’s Foundation Year course as Oxford prepares to adapt the LMH Foundation year to a university-wide Foundation Oxford course.
This has been such a stressful period for all involved, but we hope that we have responded to this uniquely difficult situation fairly and in the spirit of our commitment to:
• Finding the best candidates, regardless of background
• Better reflecting the diversity of the UK school population
• Identifying applicants from diverse background who may have been overlooked under the status quo despite having the capacity to excel at Oxford
• Doing our best to ensure that all students are fully supported throughout their studies at LMH
We very much look forward to welcoming all our new students in a few weeks times, and I would like to thank our Senior Tutor, our Academic Office - and all tutors and our outreach and Foundation Year teams – for all the work they have done to make LMH the inclusive college that it is.
August 14, 2020