Commenting on A level results day, Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “Congratulations to all the students, teachers and leaders for their hard work, especially in light of the significant changes they have had to tackle this year, with more reformed qualifications being taken.
“The future productivity and success of the UK in a post-Brexit world depends on the success of the young people who are getting their qualifications this month. But it doesn’t depend on the grades they get, it depends on the kind of people they are.
“They will be the ones who take and create the jobs of the future which require a breadth of skills and not necessarily a narrow band of academic study. For this reason, the narrowing of options at A level is a real cause for concern.
“A core group of rigorous subjects is important, but we need to make sure there is a wider variety and choice beyond them. Young people are individuals and the same choices will not work for all.
“But schools and colleges are finding it harder than ever to prepare young people for the future. Sixth form funding has fallen sharply since 2010 whilst government expectation that students follow a more academic core of subjects has risen.
“Currently schools are compelled to focus on test and exam results to prove their effectiveness. A school which puts students’ needs ahead of data could find itself near the bottom of a league table.
“School leaders should not have to be brave to do what is right for their students.”
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