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Only summer A-level exams to be sat

A-level students will only be able to take exams in the summer, with fewer chances to re-sit papers it has been announced.

Under changes announced by Ofqual, from next year, January exams will be scrapped. The regulator said the move would address concerns over how many times students can sit exams, by cutting the number of re-sit opportunities.

The decision comes following a three-month consultation into A-level reform. Ofqual said it is still considering further changes, such as more university involvement in the qualifications, and altering the structure of the exams.

Education Secretary Michael Gove announced earlier this year that he intends to give universities, particularly the most elite institutions, "a far greater role" in designing A-levels in the future, amid concerns that the qualifications are failing to prepare teenagers for higher education.

The announcement leaves the future of AS-levels uncertain. Under the current system, students take AS-levels after one year and then pick which subjects they want to continue for a second year to gain a full A-level. Ofqual's consultation put forward three proposals for the future of AS-levels, one of which was to scrap the qualification. Such a move would mean a return to traditional two-year A-levels, with exams at the end of the course.

It was reported last month that Government officials are developing a new Advanced Baccalaureate (ABacc) that would see pupils take a mix of science and humanities-based A-levels, and AS-levels kept, but as a separate qualification.

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