Pupils Forced To Learn Maths To 18 As Rishi Sunak Scraps A-Levels

The prime minister wants to create a new qualification called the "Advanced British Standard".
Rishi Sunak made the announcement in his hour-long conference speech.
Rishi Sunak made the announcement in his hour-long conference speech.
Ian Forsyth via Getty Images

Schoolchildren will be forced to learn maths and English until they are 18 after Rishi Sunak announced plans to scrap A-levels.

The prime minister said he wanted to create a new qualification called the “Advanced British Standard” to put technical and academic education on an equal footing.

Sunak unveiled the plan in his speech to the Conservative Party conference, where he also scrapped the HS2 line to Manchester and unveiled plans to gradually ban smoking.

The prime minister said he was taking “a long-term decision to address the problems with our 16 to 19 education system”.

He said: “Technical education is not given the respect it deserves. Students don’t spend long enough in the classroom.

“A quarter of our children leave education without the basic literacy and numeracy they need to fulfil their potential. And our students study too narrow a range of subjects.

“Today, I am changing all of that, pulling one of the biggest levers we have to change the direction of our country.

“We will introduce the new rigorous, knowledge rich Advanced British Standard, which will bring together A-Levels and T-Levels into a new, single qualification for our school leavers.”

The PM said that under the new regime, “all students will study some form of English and maths to 18, with extra help for those who struggle most.

“In our country no child should be left behind.”

Under the new qualification, most pupils will take a minimum of five subjects at “major” and “minor” level.

Students will be able to take a mix of technical and academic subjects, which government officials say will give them more flexibility over their future career options.

Sunak added: “The new Advanced British Standard will help spread opportunity and benefit students for generations to come, demonstrating our clear commitment to make the right decisions for the long-term future of our country.”


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