General studies A-level is scrapped for failing to meet standards

The Telegraph is reporting that general studies A-level has been scrapped because it does not meet the “high” standards required following a major government shake-up of the exam system. 

The move will come as a blow to students who for decades have relied upon the subject to boost their point score and improve their chances of getting into a top university…

A Department for Education (DfE) spokesman said: “It has not been possible to draft content for AS and A level general studies to meet the requirements of reformed AS levels and A levels. As a result, it will not be available for teaching in 2017.” 

General studies was first introduced in 1959 amid fears that A-levels lacked breadth. 

The course was intended to give pupils a grounding in a range of disciplines such as the arts, humanities and social and physical sciences to supplement their three specialist A-level subjects…

Numbers more than halved to 40,984 in 2011 and dropped by a further 56 per cent this summer to just 18,092. 

Earlier this month, a study found that general studies was being used by Britain’s best state schools to inflate results and improve their rankings in league tables. 

The New Schools Network think tank found that the top 500 state schools accounted for almost 90 per cent of all entries for general studies and critical thinking at A-level, warning students that the Russell Group, a collective of top institutions including Durham, Oxford, Cambridge and Exeter, had advised against taking the subjects…

More at: General studies A-level is scrapped for failing to meet standards


See the updated list from Ofqual of subjects that are not being reformed (i.e. the ones being cut): GCSE, AS and A level subjects that are not being reformed


What do you think about general studies falling by the wayside?

It will be interesting to see what impact, if any, it will have on the group of schools that have been dominating entries.

Please give us your reactions and feedback in the comments or via Twitter…


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