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'Cross-party approach' needed to improve education

The UK needs to cut out party politics if it is to improve education for young people and tackle the "unacceptably low level" of literacy and numeracy, a business leader has said in a report calling for A levels to be scrapped.

Sir Michael Rake, chairman of BT and president of business group CBI, said:

Over the last 25 years and longer there have been multiple initiatives from different Secretaries of State which have not achieved the necessary improvement in educational standards.

It is therefore time to establish a cross-party apolitical approach to education 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.

– Sir Michael Rake

Baccalaureate will teach students 'softer skills'

Sixth-form students would learn "softer skills" and keep their academic options open for longer if a baccalaureate replaced A levels, a report has said.

Students will keep their options open for longer if they take a baccalaureate, experts said. Credit: PA

Education chiefs called for a wider baccalaureate to be brought in so 16-18-year-olds would cover languages, sciences and softer skills like teamwork.

The move would allow young people to keep their career options open and give them more opportunities later in life, the report argues.

The business leaders and academics behind the report said a baccalaureate, similar to the International Baccalaureate which teenagers take in mainland Europe, could also be used to teach students critical thinking and problem solving.

"In broad terms they are the skills that enable young people to face the demands of higher education and career challenges in a global and very competitive environment," the report said.

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Govt needs to 'give more thought' to failing students

The Government needs to "give more thought" to the students who did not get A-levels or equivalent qualifications, a leading teaching union has said:

We hope students get the grades they need tomorrow to enable them to go to university, get a training place or find a good job.

But we fear for those who don't, because their prospects don't look rosy at a time when nearly a million 16 to 24-year-olds are out of work.

All young people need the chance to show what they've learnt, whether they want to go to university or not, but these new exam proposals won't let them do that.

– Nansi Ellis, head of education policy at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL)

GCSE results 2012: Lowest 10 schools in England

These are the bottom 10 state schools at GCSE ranked by the percentage of candidates getting at least five A* to C-grades, including English and maths. Lowest performing school is at the top.

  • Pate's Grammar School, Cheltenham
  • The Rushden Community College
  • Barnfield Business and Enterprise Studio Academy
  • The Mablethorpe Tennyson High School
  • Swaffham Hamond's High School
  • Endeavour High School Kingston-upon-Hull
  • Christ The King Catholic and Church of England Centre for Learning, Liverpool
  • Skerton Community High School, Lancaster
  • The Manor - A Foundation School, Cambridge
  • The Marlowe Academy, Ramsgate

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A/AS Level results 2012: Top 10 schools in England

These are the top 10 schools in England for A/As Level ranked by the average points score per student. For example, an A-level grade A* scores 300 points, an A scores 270 points, a B scores 240 points, a C scores 210.

  • Colchester Royal Grammar School, Essex
  • King's College School, Merton
  • Sevenoaks School, Kent
  • Adcote School for Girls, Shropshire
  • King Edward VI Grammar School, Essex
  • Pate's Grammar School, Cheltenham
  • Altrincham Grammar School for Girls, Trafford
  • The Lady Eleanor Holles School, Richmond-Upon-Thames
  • King Edward VI High School for Girls, Birmingham
  • King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys, Birmingham

GCSE results 2012: Top 10 schools in England

100% of pupils at the following schools in England had pupils with five good GCSEs (five A*-C passes). The average GCSE point score per pupil ranges from 816.3 at Colyton Grammar School to 684.1 in the tenth ranked school in Headington.

  • Colyton Grammar School, Devon
  • The Rochester Grammar School, Medway
  • King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Girls, Birmingham
  • Lawrence Sheriff School, Warwickshire
  • King Edward VI Five Ways School, Birmingham
  • Skipton Girls' High School, North Yorkshire
  • Altrincham Grammar School for Boys, Trafford
  • Invicta Grammar School, Kent
  • King Edward VI Grammar School, Chelmsford
  • Headington School, Oxford

Tables reveal thousands of pupils being 'let down'

  • Thousands of teenagers in England are being let down because they are not leaving school with a decent set of GCSE results
  • Less than 40% of their pupils are gaining at least five GCSEs at grade C or higher, including English and maths
  • In addition one in four schools and colleges are not producing any students with top grades in subjects that will help them win a place at a leading university
  • In around 600 schools and colleges no A-level student scored AAB in "facilitating" or preferred subjects

Thousands turned away from Tom Daley book signing

Olympic star Tom Daley is very much in demand as he celebrates his A Level success.

Yet thousands of the diver's fans are being turned away from a book signing at Waterstone's in the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent because of excess numbers, ITV Meridian has reported.

The 18-year-old revealed earlier he scored straight As, including an A* in photography, following on from his bronze medal at London 2012.

His success in and out of the pool came despite losing his father Rob to brain cancer in 2011.

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