Controversial plans by Education Secretary Michael Gove to hive off AS-levels as a stand-alone qualification would be ditched by a Labour government, shadow schools minister Kevin Brennan said today.
In a letter to the exams regulator Ofqual, Mr Brennan said Labour had concerns it would damage attempts to encourage poorer students to go to university, and narrow choice for teenagers considering their futures.
If Labour were to win the general election in 2015, they would not go ahead with the move to decouple AS-levels from A-levels, he said.
The proposal, set out by Mr Gove in January, is due to be introduced in September 2015. If Labour were to take office in May that year, it would mean a last-minute overhaul of the A-level system to halt the change before the autumn.
The Education Secretary's announcement that from the Autumn of 2015 exams taken at the end of Year 12 will no longer count towards the overall A-Level result has not been welcomed by teachers.
The final grade will depend on just one set of papers sat at the end of the two-year course, ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen reports:
These are the changes to A-levels and AS-levels proposed by Education Secretary Michael Gove in a letter to the exams regulator Ofqual:
- AS-levels will be separated from A-levels to become a "high quality standalone qualification"
- A-level students will no longer sit exams after one year, and will instead be tested at the end of their two-year course
- More emphasis on the final exam instead of modules and resits
- Reforms will kick in from September 2015 instead of September 2014 as planned
Stephen Twigg, Labour's Shadow Education Secretary, said:
Asked if his reforms would mean the end of AS-levels, Michael Gove told ITV News:
"The AS-level will survive, but it will be a standalone qualification - half an A-level.
"But for those people who want to do a full A-level course, there won't be that necessary obstacle of having to do exams along the way."
The Education Secretary Michael Gove explained that his plans for reformed A-levels cut down on modular examinations.
"The most important thing about the A-levels that we want to introduce is that they get rid of an obstacle course of exams and modules and bite-size learning," he said.