Following the news that examinations will be cancelled, students in the UK will now have until January 29 2021 to complete university applications.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) has announced that an extra two weeks will be allowed for prospective students to complete their UCAS applications.

Why has the deadline changed?

The UCAS equal consideration deadline has been extended to 6pm on 29 January 2021, after schools were asked to close until mid-February. This is partly because universities have been told to limit themselves to online learning until at least mid-February.

The new national lockdown measures also brought with them the confirmed cancellation of GSCEs and A Level exams in the summer.

Students have been advised not to leave their applications to the last minute, and if they are ready to submit now, they should go ahead and do that.

Clare Marchant, UCAS Chief Executive, has said there would be “significant demands” on university staff.

She commented: “This decision to extend the deadline is about relieving the pressure not only on students, but also teachers and advisers.

"We know from our data that most students have started their UCAS application and we expect to see the number of applications submitted by 29 January exceed the numbers we have seen in previous years.

"This additional time also allows schools and colleges to support students who do not have readily available access to digital devices to make arrangements to put the finishing touches to their application.”

Nationwide school closures

The national lockdown in England and Scotland announced on Monday (4 Jan) means that all primary, secondary schools and colleges have moved to remote learning, except for children of key workers and vulnerable children.

Gavin Williamson confirmed all GCSE, AS and A-Level emaniations in England will be replaced by school-based teacher assessements on Wednesday.

Mr Williamson told MPs that the Government will put its “trust in teachers, rather than algorithms”.

The Education Secretary acknowledged that exams are the “fairest way” of assessing what a student knows, but said the impact of the pandemic meant it was not possible to hold exams in the summer.