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Students Speak Out Against Gove’s A Level Changes

Past pupils from St Catherine’s Bramley responded in droves to a recent call to arms by Headmistress, Alice Phillips, who encouraged them to write to Education Secretary, Michael Gove, if they feel he is wrong to be side-lining AS levels.

Mrs Phillips said: “Michael Gove’s decision to side-line the AS level heralds a return to the one shot, punitive approach to exam taking which can have a serious impact on the futures of young people. AS levels should stay as a valuable part of A levels; they allow students manage their workload and in some cases their stress levels. AS levels are also a valuable indicator of future performance and a key stepping stone to getting on to the right course at University.”

St Catherine’s alumna and businesswoman Ellie Boyle, who runs her own company, Windriven Sales, was ill during her A Level years. She believes that, without the AS/A2 system, she wouldn’t be where she is today: “I suffered from severe focal migraines at the start of my A level exams and missed my Maths A level. I had never had a focal migraine before my A levels, and was told the main cause was stress. The catch 22, was that the more migraines I had, the more stress I felt. If all my exams had been in the space of two weeks I’m not sure I would have been able to take any of them.”

PhD student Jenny Hanning has just submitted her thesis on a therapy for cervical cancer to the University of Cambridge: “This [proposed change] directly targets those students who suffer from stress-related issues, and as academic ability is not proportional to the capacity to cope with stress, this is not a step towards fairer results.”

Journalist Caroline James says: “…young people will be penalised as a result [of this proposed change]. It is time the education [minister] post became about young people and not simply about the individual’s political aspirations.”

Student Zoe Geidelberg has appealed to Gove: “Would you like to be judged on just one set of exams for two years? What if those two weeks were a bad two weeks for you? Surely you have lived through that at some point in your life.”

Publicist Bee Jordan says: “With the ever increasing competition for university places I feel young people need as much help and support as possible in this life-changing period and I firmly believe that the abandonment of AS Levels would do the exact opposite.”

The complaints come fast on the heels of the University of Cambridge implying that they may reintroduce a bespoke entrance exam as a result of the A Level changes.

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