Bolton School considers scrapping standard A-levels in favour of international qualification

In an article in the Bolton News, 17/08/13HMC member Philip Britton, Head of Bolton School is quoted on the subject of controversial government exam reforms to A levels.

Bolton School, which is one of the country’s leading schools, could abandon the domestic version of the advanced level qualification and move to international A-levels.

Pupils in the boys’ division already study international GCSEs (IGCSE) in maths and chemistry.

And head of the Boys’ Division said that “if necessary” the school would “do it again” to maintain “academic standards”.

IGCSE were designed for overseas students wanting to take British exams, but independent sch-ools in this country now think they are better than the standard GCSEs in some subjects — and that IGCSE provide a better grounding for A-level studies than the current exams.

Now it has emerged that the move to international A-levels was “on the cards” for independent schools.

The change would allow the schools to continue with the existing modular structure of the qualification, where the results of AS levels taken halfway through the sixth form count towards final A level results.

In England, new linear A-levels, where all assessment takes place at the end of two-year courses, will replace the modular system from 2015.

Philip Britton, headmaster of the boys’ division, said: “The pace of change at A-level, when the system still lacks some credibility with consistent marking, is potentially dangerous. That is more so when GCSE and the key stage three curriculum are also changing in 2015.”

Six in 10 students in the boys’ division at Bolton School achieved grades of at least ABB this week, which will allow them to access the most selective universities and the most competitive courses.

Mr Britton said: “The great value of being independent is being able to decide the best route forward. It would be a shame if independent schools moved to international A-levels but it is what we had to do with GCSE to maintain the academic standards we care about and if necessary we will have to do it again.”

Click here to read the article © Bolton News.