Plans to change A-Level system announced

First published on Wed, October 17, 2012.

Michael Gove has announced plans to reform the current A-level system, it was reported today

Responding to criticism from universities that students lack breadth of knowledge and are focusing too narrowly too quickly, the plans would ensure that students taking an arts subject would also have to take a maths or science qualification, and vice-versa. Gove's latest move follows his announcement last month that he is to scrap GCSEs in favour of what he regards as a more academically rigorous English Baccalaureate (EBacc) system.

The term ‘baccalaureate’ has come into increasing use over the last few months and has become synonymous with curriculum reforms designed to raise and benchmark standards. Gove’s reforms would not replace the A-Level system with the International Baccalaureate, but would introduce some of the principles of that qualification.

The shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg has indicated that the Labour Party support the introduction of the ‘A-Bacc’, although the reforms they suggest would support a wider range of subjects and a new, alternative vocational stream known as the Technical Baccalaureate or ‘Tech-Bacc’. The Tech-Bacc offers an alternative to the A-level framework for students aged 16+, and would include English and maths as well as a vocational qualification and formal work experience.

For those who have already reached the basic GCSE level including English and maths, but wish to acquire further technical qualifications, the Labour Party have also raised the prospect of a higher-level Tech Bacc comprising higher literacy, numeracy, problem-solving and project-working skills, together with substantial work experience and a technical qualification taken either prior to or alongside an apprenticeship.

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