'Championing the rights of children'

A-level plans may 'threaten uptake of tough subjects'

Garry Fri 15 Mar 2013 08:26

The take-up of "tough" subjects like maths at A-level in England may drop if AS-levels are removed as a "stepping stone", head teachers have warned.

In an open letter to the Education Secretary Michael Gove, head teachers' leaders say planned changes to A-levels risk narrowing the curriculum.

In a separate move, Mr Gove has written to the regulator Ofqual setting out a timetable for the changes.

Ministers say the new 'linear' exams will boost students' subject knowledge.

The plans mean that from 2015 all modular units will be scrapped, with pupils taking A-level exams at the end of two-year courses.

The AS-level exam will remain. Currently it is taken after a year and counts towards a full A-level. It will instead become a stand-alone qualification with exams after one or two years in the sixth form.

'Stepping-stones'
Mr Gove believes that A-levels in their current form are not rigorous enough and do not help students develop deep understanding of their subjects.

But the open letter, signed by the leaders of four associations representing head teachers from both state and private schools, urges Mr Gove "in the strongest possible terms" to retain the current AS-level, as a "stepping-stone" to full A-levels.

The letter warns that "unless universities include the proposed 'stand-alone' AS-levels in their offers, and there is no reason to believe that they will, their take-up in schools and colleges is likely to diminish".

Read more ... (BBC News - 15 March)