ATL comment on review of A-levels
19 June 2012
Adrian Prandle, education policy adviser, at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), said:
"We fully agree that A-levels need to be reviewed, but unless all qualifications for 16-19 year olds are reviewed at the same time and considered alongside a review of the secondary curriculum we will again end up with a series of disjointed and piecemeal changes that are not fit for purpose.
"However, we are pleased that Ofqual says its consultation will be wide-ranging and seek the views of everyone involved in education as well as employers.
"Yes, A-levels have become too narrow and need to test a wider range of skills and allow time for more extended study, group study and course work. But while A-levels remain such a high-stakes qualification teachers will continue to be under pressure to teach to the test rather than developing critical thinking and independent thought.
"And we do not believe that universities should have the final say on what A-levels cover. A-levels need to test more than just the ability to go to university; they need to test students' skills and help prepare them for the world of work and daily life as well as to study further.
"Careful thought would need to be given to the impact on disadvantaged youngsters or those with special educational needs before any cuts are made to resits or modules axed.
"Any reforms to A-levels must be based on evidence and not on political dogma."
Notes to editors
The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) is an independent, registered trade union and professional association, representing approximately 160,000 teachers, headteachers, lecturers and support staff in maintained and independent nurseries, schools, sixth form, tertiary and further education colleges in the United Kingdom.
ATL exists to help members, as their careers develop, through first rate research, advice, information and legal advice.
ATL is affiliated to the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) and Education International (EI). ATL is not affiliated to any political party and seeks to work constructively with all the main political parties.