THE headteacher of an Oxford girls’ school said staff and pupils would need extra support as they faced major changes in A-Level examinations.
According to the Department for Education, new AS and A-Levels will now be taught in schools in England from September 2015.
The first results for the new AS -Levels will be in 2016, and the A-Levels in 2017.
Although AS-Levels will continue to be taught in some subjects they will not count towards the final A-Level grade as they do now.
There are also changes in GCSEs from September with English Literature, English Language and Maths exams now graded 9 to one.
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Headington School headmistress Caroline Jordan said it was crucial to support sixth formers and pupils preparing for A-Levels as they prepared for the change in the way the exams were taken.
She added: “Everything we have seen indicates the new A-Levels, with no coursework and all content examined at the end, will be more demanding.”
Wallingford School headteacher Wyll Willis said the implementation of the new system was “a mess”, and had been carried out too quickly.
He added: “Our staff need clear guidance as well as pupils and parents, and there is no clear answer yet from universities on whether they want us to do AS-Levels or not.”
Sue Croft, principal of Oxford Spires Academy, said: “With GCSEs we used to be able to do controlled assessment and modular exams, but now the system is entirely linear, with exams at the end of the course.”
Paul Willett, director of the Didcot Sixth Form College, said: “Our biggest complaint is that A-Level reform has seemingly been rushed in with changes staggered over several years so that the old and the reformed systems run concurrently, depending on which subject a student studies.”
From September exams will be taken at the end of the two-year A-Level, and AS-Levels will no longer count towards the final grade.
Mrs Jordan, headmistress of the independent girls’ school, said the switch was the biggest shake-up in A-Levels since the AS-Level test, at the end of the first year of the two-year course, was introduced in 2000.
She said that staff would support parents and pupils to ensure they understood how the changes would work.
Mrs Jordan said: “The A-Level is returning to a two-year linear course and AS-Levels no longer count towards the final grade.
Mrs Jordan said that while the AS was still an option, there were “compelling reasons” not to continue with it.
“Dropping AS-Levels will free up extra curriculum time in the summer term,” she added.