A-Levels are not fit for purpose, Royal Society says

A-levels do not give young people the best start for securing good jobs and should be reviewed, the president of the Royal Society has said.

Venki Ramakrishnan is calling for an urgent independent review of post-16 education in the UK.

In a speech to business leaders and teachers on 12 February, Mr Ramakrishnan warned that A-levels are not fit for purpose and do not equip young people with skills needed for the workplace.

His comments come after the education select committee chair said GCSEs should be scrapped and A-levels should be replaced with a broader mix of academic and vocational subjects.

Four out of five businesses expect to increase the number of high-skilled roles over the coming years, but two in three are concerned about a lack of sufficiently skilled people to fill the positions, according to the Royal Society.

Preliminary research by the society suggests parents want change too, with more than half believing young people should be encouraged to study a broader range of subjects than they currently do.

Mr Ramakrishnan wants a review during the next parliament, with a view to transforming school curriculums within the next decade.

In a speech at the Royal Society Business Forum, Mr Ramakrishnan will say: “If we want our young people to be able to get good jobs and employers to be able to hire the people they need in the future, we need to make sure our schools and colleges are teaching the skills that will be needed.

“A-levels are not doing that. The jobs market has always changed but we are facing a new wave of change driven by technologies such as artificial intelligence.

“Some jobs will change, some will be lost altogether and there will be many new jobs in industries that don’t even exist yet.”

While acknowledging that some schools do a good job at providing a broader curriculum, the Royal Society president will say that “pockets of success for the wealthy elite are not good enough”.

TNT Education

Photo Credit: moinzon

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