3 July 2012

million+ welcomes Select Committee's call for wider university involvement in A-level reform

The university think-tank million+ has welcomed the Education Select Committee’s report The administration of examinations for 15–19 year olds in England published today (3 July) which highlights concerns in higher education and among employers about Government’s proposals to reform A-levels. MPs highlight problems with the timetable for reform and concerns that the proposals will lead to the introduction of a two-tier system of A-levels. Education Ministers want the new A-levels to be ‘signed off’ by a small number of universities. Instead MPs recommend that views across the university sector should be taken into account and propose that learned bodies which have subject expertise and strong links with employers and higher education should be involved. They also conclude that the exam boards should retain ultimate control of question paper and examination design, subject to rigorous accreditation by Ofqual.

Pam Tatlow, Chief Executive of the university think-tank million+ said: “MPs have correctly identified the widespread concerns about the Education Department’s timetable and proposals for A-level reform which risk creating a two tier system. A-levels are not just about progression to higher education and the Select Committee is right to conclude that the ‘sign-off’ of A-level subjects by a sub-set of universities for individual exam boards is neither a practical nor a robust solution. A-levels must serve the needs of schools, students, employers and higher education. The proposals to involve learned societies and national subject committees may offer a way forward to ensure the greater involvement of higher education that the Secretary of State wants while avoiding the creation of an overly bureaucratic system which is likely to be fraught with problems in terms of its delivery.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  1. million+ is a leading university think-tank, working to solve the complex problems in higher education www.millionplus.ac.uk. For more information please contact Drew Lindon on 020 7717 1655 or 07900 277819.
  2. The Education Select Committee’s report The administration of examinations for 15–19 year olds in England: First Report of Session 2012–13 is available here.