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.