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SHAKE-UP: A-Levels ‘should be axed’ for baccalaureate

Posted on Wednesday, 29 January by

Maths Student

Major concern surrounds the future of A-Level study following recommendations that the qualification be halted and replaced with a European-style baccalaureate, which a report claims would better prepare students for higher education.

The recommendation comes at the conclusion of a six-month inquiry by academics and business leaders, who suggest that A-Levels are failing in their mission to ground pupils in a wide range of subject areas and job skills. Their report – ‘Making Education Work’ – claims that sixth-form study, as it exists now, should be phased out in the coming six to eight years.

The baccalaureate programme is more demanding than people anticipate.

The advisory panel claims that A-Level study is nothing more than a sequence of hoops to be jumped through and it promotes a system of “learning to the test”. Their study suggests that too many sixth-formers leave school with poor levels of literacy, numeracy, problem-solving, time management and an inability to work independently.

The group – led by Sir Roy Anderson, formerly of Imperial College London – suggests that the government embraces a baccalaureate-style qualification in which pupils study around six subjects rather than specialising in only three.

Sir Michael Rake, chairman of BT and member of the report’s advisory group, said:

The country needs to move on from our narrow out-dated focus with A-levels and to improve on the other competencies necessary for success, including the fundamental need to improve the basic skills of literacy and numeracy, which are at an unacceptably low level.”

Towards the end of last year, Education Secretary Michael Gove unveiled A-Level reforms that would place AS Levels as a standalone qualification, a move that critics claimed would lead to universities introducing their own intelligence tests to further assess pupils.

A spokesman for the Department for Education said: “Our new curriculum was developed following extensive consultation with a wide range of experts and will give children the essential knowledge they need.”

“Alongside wider reform to GCSEs, A levels and vocational qualifications this will mean young people leave school with the skills and qualifications they need to secure a job, apprenticeship or university place.”

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Corey Pellatt
22-year-old editor of SQ Magazine and Media Studies student at the University of Sussex. Freelance writer for clients including BHAFC.

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