More private schools to offer international A levels


Private schools are increasingly abandoning A levels and moving toward alternative tests following concerns over “tinkering” with national examinations, it has been claimed. The Daily Telegraph reports that, despite the coalition government’s promises to raise A level standards, private schools are concerned that any changes may not come quickly enough or risk being reversed by a future Labour government.

Examiners have reported greater interest in International A levels, with 72 schools entering pupils for the exams this year, while 99 have students sitting the Cambridge Pre-U and 188 are offering the International Baccalaureate diploma. Ed Elliott of the Perse School, Cambridge said this approach allows institutions to adopt a “wait and see” approach to the future of A levels.

“We are expecting to see growth of both Cambridge Pre-U and International A-level in the UK as schools look at tried and tested alternatives in times of reform,” a spokeswoman for exam board CIE told the newspaper.

Meanwhile, the Department for Education insisted that its A level reforms, which include more rigorous end-of-term exams and reaching out to top universities for advice on writing course syllabuses, will raise standards of attainment. “Linear A-levels will end an over-reliance on resits so all pupils develop a real understanding of a subject,” said a spokesman.

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