THE A-Level exam results in August produced a record number of students applying for a record low number of available places in universities.

THE A-Level exam results in August produced a record number of students applying for a record low number of available places in universities.

Forty-four per cent of applicants had to go through a clearing system, and it has been predicted that some GCSE students will lose out to those A level students unsuccessfully applying for university places and ready to enrol on vocational and other courses, according to Canon Chris Savage, who runs Cambridgeshire's Chaplaincy to People at Work.

"While we may gasp with incredulity and wonder what's happening, maybe this marks the turning point in a shift towards different people taking new and different courses?

"However, for many, the annual question of the calibre of student and the quality of exam results will not go away," he added. "Employers, the CBI and some universities continue to express dissatisfaction. So what are exams for?"

He has organised a breakfast seminar in Cambridge next month to explore the question.

Keynote speaker will be Bene't Steinberg, group director of public affairs at Cambridge Assessment, who will speak on "Education or exams: faith or reason - discuss".

Mr Steinberg has been working in the education field for over a decade, principally dealing with the politics and perception of assessments and examinations. He has oversight of all of Cambridge Assessment's education operations.

INFORMATION: The breakfast briefing organised by Chaplaincy to People at Work Cambridgeshire, a Christian charity supporting people in their workplaces, is on Wednesday October 13 at the Felix Hotel, off Huntingdon Road, Cambridge, starting at 7.30am. The cost is £15 per head. Booking by October 11 to admin@workplacechaplaincy.org.uk. Send cheques, payable to Chaplaincy to People at Work, to CPW Administrator c/o 12 Station Road, Histon Cambridge, CB24 9LQ. Canon Chris Savage is on 01223 276 657, e-mail chris.savage@workplacechaplaincy.org.uk