Labour MP Bill Esterson warns government changes to A-Levels wil

Bill Esterson

 

Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson has warned that government changes to the A-Level system are a "retrograde" step which will damage the long-term economy of the country.

Michael Gove this week announced the changes to A-Levels which will see a return to the system of the 1960s where two years' work will be judged solely on final exams.

A-Level are currently broken up into modules where students are tested periodically through the two year course.

Quizzing the government on the changes in the House of Commons, Bill Esterson asked: "The Secretary of State has criticised bite-sized units, but I have to tell the Minister that the reality is that people learn in bite-sized units and that the world of work is a series of bite-sized activities, so a bite-sized approach is entirely appropriate to the way we learn and to the way qualifications are designed. Is not the reality, then, that removing a modular element is a very retrograde step?"

Bill said the changes would damage the attainment of thousands of pupils up and down the country and simply result in A-Levels being a "test of memory".

Bill said: "These changes to the A-Level system show just how out of touch this Tory-Lib Dem Government is when it comes to education.

"They are reverting to a system from 50 years ago which relies on pupils memorising two years' worth of studying for one-off exams.

"This results in exams being nothing more than a test of a pupil's memory and not their understanding of the knowledge or the application of that knowledge. It also means that young people leave school with qualifications but without the skills needed by employers or the skills they need in the wider world.

"Michael Gove has totally disregarded the views of teachers, schools, employers and universities in relation to this who have all warned against these reforms.

"It is damaging for pupils, damaging for schools and damaging for the long term economy of the country as well as the future workforce will not be leaving school with the skills necessary for the workplace."