Cambridge slams A-level reforms

Cambridge opposes the Education Secretary’s planned A-level reforms.

a-levels gove reform

Cambridge University has called for the reversal of the Government’s A-level reforms which are due to take effect in September 2015. The Education Secretary Michael Gove has decided that students taking A-levels will no longer sit exams after one year, and will instead be tested at the end of their two-year course. AS-levels will become a separate qualification.

Gove said he was “worried that there was too much assessment and too little learning”. The university opposes the change, saying AS-level results give “talented students from low-participation backgrounds the confidence to apply to highly selective universities.”

A spokesman for the university said: “The University of Cambridge opposes the deletion of AS examinations at the end of Year 12. This change is unnecessary and, if implemented, will jeopardise over a decade’s progress towards fairer access to the University of Cambridge. AS results show an applicant’s most recent academic achievement and demonstrate progress since GCSE in a transparent and objective way.

“Neither GCSEs, admissions tests nor school predictions come close to matching the effectiveness of AS in enabling the proper and full assessment of applications.”

Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said “This is an unmanageable level of change which could lead to a collapse of the system.”

Tricia Kelleher, principal of the Stephen Perse Foundation in Cambridge, attacked Gove directly saying: “Gove’s obsession with the qualification framework is to the detriment of the broader educational imperative – educating our young people for the world they will live in rather than the world Gove grew up in.”

Stuart Nicholson, principal of Cambridge Centre for Sixth-form Studies, is more positive about the change: “What the current system has led to is a reduction in time available for teaching because there are so many exams. I think the new system will give back some of that time for learning.”