From education to employment

Schools Minister congratulates students on their achievements

Schools Minister Jim Knight congratulated pupils and teachers, as today’s “A” Level results showed improvement in overall pass rates, and rises in the numbers taking Maths, Modern Languages and Science subjects.

“I warmly congratulate students and teachers on these excellent results. Sustained progress in “A” Level results over the last decade is down to high quality teaching and strong investment in our schools. Higher pass rates mean more young people are achieving advanced qualifications that will help them fulfil their ambitions ““ and this is something we should all celebrate.

“It is encouraging too that the numbers of students taking Maths, Modern Languages and Science subjects are on the rise. We recognise their crucial importance to the UK economy and want to accelerate this trend over the coming years.”

The AoC also congratulated students on attaining today’s A level results. Maggie Scott, Association of Colleges Director of Learning and Quality, said: “Colleges teach two-thirds of all young people aged 16 to 18 in education. We would like to congratulate every student who has gained the grades for which they have been working hard and tell them: “You”ve achieved the standard and should be proud of yourself. No one can take these grades away from you, enjoy the moment and we hope you can now use your new qualification to your best advantage, whether that’s going on to university, taking a college foundation degree or moving on to work.”

But Mr Knight added that it was important to raise standards even higher to ensure all young people are well supported throughout their education and get a relevant advanced qualification: “While we are encouraged by improving pass rates, our challenge is to make sure we have a system where more and more young people get good advanced qualifications ““ and we are on the cusp of vital reforms that will transform 14-19 education for the better.

“We remain committed to “A” Levels in the future. From next September the new A* grade and more open-ended questions will provide even more stretch and challenge for the brightest candidates. Students will also be able to do an extended project to develop their capacity for independent research.

“Alongside this, the new Diplomas will combine theoretical and applied learning, including functional English, maths and ICT, and the opportunity to develop a specialism or undertake complementary study. They will sit alongside “A” Levels, GCSEs and other qualifications. We will also further expand the availability of apprenticeships.”

The 2007 “A” Level and AS results show:

“¢ There were 805,657 entries at “A” Level (compared to 805,698 in 2006) and 1.11 million at AS Levels (compared to 1.09 million in 2006) this year.

“¢ Significant rises in the numbers taking Maths (up 4,111, or 7.3% on 2006) and Further Maths (up by 602 or 8.3%) “A” Level. At AS Level, there were increases of 6,582 (or 9.3%) in Maths and of 1,134 (or 18%) in Further Maths on last year.

“¢ An increase of 327 (or 0.3%) in the number of entries in Science subjects* at “A” Level, and of 3,913 (or 2.3%) at AS Level compared to last year.

“¢ An increase of 100 (or 0.3%) in the number of entries in Modern Languages at “A” Level, and of 804 (or 1.7%) at AS Level compared to last year.

“¢ A rise in the overall pass rate (A-E) from 96.6% in 2006 to 96.9% at “A” Level this year. At AS Level, the pass rate has increased by 0.3% points from 87.5% to 87.8%.

“¢ A rise in the proportion achieving A-C grades at “A” Level from 71.3% in 2006 to 72.8% this year.

“¢ A rise in the proportion of A grades awarded at “A” Level from 24.1% in 2006 to 25.3% this year.

The latest results mean that there has been a 9.3 percentage point rise in the pass rate at “A” Level since 1997 (from 87.6% to 96.9%), and a 17.1 percentage point rise in the proportion of A-C grades awarded (from 55.7% to 72.8%).

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