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Labour would halt Gove's A-level plan

The move to decouple AS-levels from A-levels is set to be introduced in September 2015.
The move to decouple AS-levels from A-levels is set to be introduced in September 2015. Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire/Press Association Images

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.

Teacher's criticism of A-Level reform

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:

See ITV News Political Correspondent Libby Wiener's blog on the reforms here.

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How will A-level and AS-levels change?

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

Read Political Correspondent Libby Wiener's blog on the new A-levels here.

Labour: A-level reforms are 'turning the clock back'

Stephen Twigg, Labour's Shadow Education Secretary, said:

Yet again Michael Gove is all about turning the clock back. This plan would narrow the options for young people.

It's no wonder leading universities like Oxford and Cambridge say this is a mistake.

We need to have more high quality options available to at age 16, including all young people studying English and Maths to 18.

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