16 August 2017
Commenting ahead of the announcement of A- level results, Rosamund McNeil, Head of Education and Equalities, National Union of Teachers, said:
“The National Union of Teachers congratulates students on their A-Level results. It is through the hard work and commitment shown by students and their teachers that they have achieved what they have.
“This cohort was the first to face the new linear A-Levels and as such, the challenges that followed too. The upheaval of a hastily reformed curriculum and the changes leading to a reduction in much of the coursework elements, created unnecessary stress and concern for pupils and teachers alike.
“While results nationally may have remained in line with those in the previous year, some schools and colleges will no doubt see considerable variation. The volatility around results and the accountability measures which use them can have damaging and unfair consequences.
“Another challenge is the change to AS Levels, which have become stand-alone qualifications that no longer serve as a mid-way point towards students’ final A-Level grades. This move, one which was widely criticised across the education sector, has led to a staggering 42% decline in AS entries; a trend which reduces opportunities and access for young people.
“The gradual decline in entries to creative and expressive subjects, linked to an increase in entries to the more traditional academic subjects, is continuing. This trend is reinforced by the curriculum-narrowing EBacc requirements at GCSE and is leading to job losses among teachers of these ‘disappearing’ subjects.
“Considering these challenges alongside the inadequate funding of schools and colleges, the state of teachers’ pay and the unsustainable workload issues they face, this creates a perfect storm of teacher retention problems. These issues need to be addressed to ensure young people have access to the high-quality and well-rounded educational experience they deserve.”