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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.


Education ministers have 'ignored advice' about A-levels

Pam Tatlow, chief executive of million+, a university think tank, said: "A-level courses and qualifications must be fit for purpose for employers as well as all universities.

"This is a much more complex task than simply getting a few academics together, especially when you bear in mind the huge range of subjects and courses.

"At a meeting with representatives from across higher education, ministers were advised very clearly that universities did not consider that the A-level system was 'broken'.

She added that education ministers "appear to have ignored this advice".

Headmaster warns 'unwise to give universities total control' of A-levels

Peter B Hamilton, headmaster of the private Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School and chairman of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference academic policy committee, said: "A-levels are and will remain the most important examination for young people completing their pre-university education.

"Michael Gove is right to want university input into the much-needed review of A-levels but it would be most unwise to give universities total control.

"Those who teach 16 and 17-year-olds know best what they need, both to expand their knowledge base and develop their study skills, so input from successful sixth-form teachers will be equally important in getting an examination system fit for the 21st century."

NUT: Disappointing Gove didn't have A-levels discussion with profession

Christine Blower, NUT general secretary, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme it was "a little disappointing" Mr Gove had written to Ofqual "without having had this discussion with the profession".

She said: "There is a lot to commend A-levels, but there is no harm done in having a look at them again.

"What we don't want is to have proposals put to us on a take it or leave it basis."

Schooling inequality a 'national scandal'

Shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg Credit: PA

It is a "national scandal" that poorer pupils are lagging up to a year behind their richer classmates in their schooling, shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg is expected to warn later.

In a speech to the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) annual conference in Manchester, Mr Twigg will say: "In other words, being a poor pupil in a poor classroom is the equivalent of being left a year behind. This is a national scandal.

"I know there are inequalities in our health system, but if poorer patients were left to linger on waiting lists for an extra year there would be a huge outcry."


What do academics want to see in A-levels?

A study by Cambridge Assessment found that more than half of lecturers think that undergraduates are unprepared for degree-level study.

The findings show that academics want A-levels to include more advanced content for bright students, cover subjects in more depth and encourage critical thinking, independent study, experimentation and more extensive reading.

New A-levels 'just a few years away'

New style A-levels could be in our schools by 2016 under proposals for universities to have more of an influence over exams.

In a letter to the head of Ofqual, the qualifications watchdog, the Education Secretary, Michael Gove says he is concerned that the current A-level system is failing to prepare students for university.

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