Schools hit back at changes to A-levels

Royal Wootton Bassett Academy headteacher George Croxford

Royal Wootton Bassett Academy headteacher George Croxford

First published in News Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , @SwindonAdver007

MAJOR changes to A-levels announced by Education Secretary Michael Gove yesterday have been given a lacklustre reception by headteachers.

Mr Gove has confirmed the changes will mean pupils from 2015 will take exams at the end of two- year courses.

Under the overhaul system, AS-levels will become a separate qualification and teenagers taking A-levels will no longer sit exams after one year.

However, the changes have been criticised by headteachers and the Association Of Teachers And Lecturers, with many saying it will reduce opportunities for students.

Dr Mary Bousted, the general secretary of the ATL, said: “De-coupling AS levels from A-levels will reduce opportunities for many young people, will end the progress check AS levels provide and mean young people are likely to study fewer subjects at sixth-form. “The Government is making too many changes at once, to both GCSEs and A-levels, and this raft of reforms introduced over such a short timescale is a recipe for disaster for young people and teachers.”

Royal Wootton Bassett Academy headteacher George Croxford agreed the changes were not the correct way forward “It would appear he thinks the only way of testing knowledge is to do an end-of-year, or end-of-several -years exam,” he said.

“That isn’t the case, and for those people who find it easy to cram all their knowledge into a day of revision and let it all out in an exam the following day and then forget about it, that’s fantastic, but that skill is never used in work or life. It’s no good, but controlled assessment is.”

Graham Taylor, principal of New College said: “Gove wants to make A-levels harder even though they are the toughest level 3 qualifications around. “He thinks this will happen if all the exams are crammed together at the end of two years. “I think that stand alone ASs will still be valuable building blocks to a full A-level. “We like the idea of mid-course tests so learners can see how they are progressing so, if push comes to shove, we will introduce mock exams as stepping stones to help get our learners through. “In short, we will do what’s best for the learner.”

Mr Gove said the move would address concerns about pupils sitting exams in modules, and re-sits leading to grade inflation.

“This will allow students to develop a better understanding of their subject through the maturity developed over two years of study,” he said.

Comments (3)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

7:32am Thu 24 Jan 13

RichardR1 says...

Many employers will see this as a welcome move, of course the teachers won't like it, they will as much tested as the pupils, having to deliver in terms of teaching for the pupils to pass.

As for the numbers of subjects in the old A level days it was very unusual to study more than 2 or 3, because they were very difficult and required a lot of hard study, doing more for most simply wasn't an option academically.
Many employers will see this as a welcome move, of course the teachers won't like it, they will as much tested as the pupils, having to deliver in terms of teaching for the pupils to pass. As for the numbers of subjects in the old A level days it was very unusual to study more than 2 or 3, because they were very difficult and required a lot of hard study, doing more for most simply wasn't an option academically. RichardR1
  • Score: 0

10:24am Thu 24 Jan 13

benzss says...

Who said teachers weren't conservatives at heart?
Who said teachers weren't conservatives at heart? benzss
  • Score: 0

10:27am Thu 24 Jan 13

Robh says...

For many years the exams have been dumbed down allowing kids to progress bit by bit. When I went to school the exam was on what you knew not what you had done over the years. Yes there were problems for some but it was a genuine test of knowledge.
For many years the exams have been dumbed down allowing kids to progress bit by bit. When I went to school the exam was on what you knew not what you had done over the years. Yes there were problems for some but it was a genuine test of knowledge. Robh
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree