Harder A-Level Subjects Should Carry More Weight, Says Minister
PRESS ASSOCIATION -- "Traditional" A-level subjects should be valued more highly in the race for university places, a Government minister has said as thousands of students receive their exam results.
David Willetts said that more modern subjects such as dance and media studies should not be recognised as core academic subjects.
Mr Willetts told the Daily Telegraph that the points system used in university admissions "sends a very bad message to young people by implying that all A-levels have an equal chance of helping them into university".
Ucas, which processes university applications, allocates points based on the grade achieved, regardless of the subject.
Mr Willetts added: "[Ucas] are operating a massive system with more than half a million applications, but they need to signal the importance of some A-levels more than others and that message is often hidden behind a tariff point model."
He also said that work-based apprenticeships should be accepted as a way to get into university.
Concerns have been raised this year about students who fail to secure a university place and could face the daunting prospect of up to three times higher tuition fees in 2012.
Wendy Piatt, of the Russell Group, which represents leading universities, said it is not realistic to expect every student who wants to go to university to get a place.
She said: "The costs to the taxpayer of a very generous system of student loans and grants make it unrealistic to think that the country could afford to offer a properly funded university place to everyone who would like one.
"In a tight fiscal climate, maintaining the quality of the student experience must be a greater priority than expanding the number of places."