The Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, has announced the introduction of a new qualification, the Advanced British Standard, for 16-19-year-olds in the UK. The new qualification aims to put technical and academic education on an equal footing and ensure that all young people leave school with a solid foundation in maths and English. The Advanced British Standard will merge the best elements of A Levels and T Levels into a single qualification. Students will have the flexibility to choose a mix of technical and academic subjects, with the majority studying a minimum of five subjects at different levels.
Under the new plans, every student will be required to study some form of maths and English until the age of 18, aligning England with other major economies. The curriculum will include a mix of major and minor subjects, providing students with a broader knowledge base. The new qualification aims to address the current trend where many students, especially the disadvantaged, leave school without achieving the minimum standard in literacy and numeracy.
To support the implementation of the Advanced British Standard, an initial investment of £600 million over two years has been announced. This includes funding for a tax-free bonus of up to £30,000 over the first five years of the career for teachers in key shortage subjects. The new qualification is expected to replace A Levels and T Levels once fully rolled out, providing a rigorous and high-quality education for students.
The government plans to introduce the Advanced British Standard through close consultation with parents, pupils, and teachers, with the first cohort of pupils expected to take the new qualification being those starting primary school this term. The initiative is seen as a long-term reform that will take time to get right, and the government is committed to working closely with stakeholders to ensure its effective implementation.