The UK government’s A-level reforms have been branded ‘chaotic’ by several leading headmasters in the UK after the latest upheaval was revealed on Tuesday. Four subjects have been scrapped, other courses are delayed and schools are complaining about “last-minute, piecemeal” changes, according to the UK’s The Guardian newspaper.
On Monday it was revealed that the introduction of the reformed AS and A-levels in mathematics and further mathematics would be put back a year to 2017. On Tuesday it emerged that the new chemistry A-level, which was due to be taught from next September, has yet to be accredited.
The exam regulator Ofqual said it would be scrapping AS and A-levels in applied art and design, applied business, human biology, and economics and business, thus reducing curriculum breadth that schools can offer. GCSE digital communication is also to be withdrawn.
New A-levels due to be taught from 2015 should have been accredited by September to give schools at least a year to get to grips with teaching the new course.
Speaking to The Guardian Paul Dodd, director of one of the leading examining boards OCR said: “There’s a lot going on. What teachers are crying out for is a period of stability. This is massive reform. What teachers are telling us is that once we’ve done this let’s just sit back and let these qualifications flourish and develop.”
Schools are also anxious about the uncertainty surrounding the AS-level. The government has announced it plans to decouple it from the A-level from September 2015. Labour has said it will recouple the exams if it is elected.
“The result of the election is causing some concern,” said Dodd. “That’s where the greatest anxiety is at the moment.”