Michael Gove's A-level reforms scrap modular exams

A-level students sit their exams. Credit: PA

The A-level is to be reformed so that pupils no longer have to sit so many exams, the Education Secretary has told ITV news in an exclusive interview.

He says that it's time that sixth formers focus more on learning and less on what he calls the "obstacle course of exams."

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.

But Labour accused Michael Gove of turning the clock back.

The AS-level, which pupils currently sit in the Lower Sixth, will remain.

But it will be a stand alone qualification for 17-year-olds.

Mr Gove says the changes will raise standards because students will study for two years before taking their A-level exams and waste less time on revision and re-sits.

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.

He told me he didn't believe it would lead to a two-tier system with less able students only taking the AS-level.

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.

The General Secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, Russell Hobby, said:

AS-levels help broaden what's studied in the sixth form so that humanities students can gain maths or science qualifications and vice versa. We should ensure these exams continue to be strongly supported as part of the assessment system for post-16s. It is sensible to give more weight to the end exam but there is a place for course work - especially for subjects such as modern languages and applied science where practical accomplishments need to be demonstrated.