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Advanced British Standard  (ABS) for Educating 16 to 18-year-olds

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      Advanced British Standard  (ABS) for Educating 16 to 18-year-olds

      5 October 2023

      The British Prime Minister has announced plans to develop a new qualification called the Advanced British Standard  (ABS) for 16 to 18-year-olds which will bring together the best of A levels and T levels into a single qualification.

      The ABS will ensure technical and academic education are placed on an equal footing, with every student also studying some form of maths and English to age 18.

      For now, A levels and T levels will continue to be studied and remain high quality qualifications recognised by employers and universities.

      Here, we tell you everything you need to know about the Advanced British Standard and what it will involve.

      How many subjects will the Advanced British Standard include?

      While most A-level students only take three subjects, students who take the Advanced British Standard will typically study a minimum of five subjects.

      Some of these subjects will be studied in more detail as ‘majors’, while others will be ‘minors’. For example, a student could take 3 majors alongside 2 minors.

      Students will have the freedom to take a mix of technical and academic subjects, giving them more flexibility to support their future career options.

      Students will also spend more time in the classroom, increasing taught hours to a minimum of 1,475 hours over two years. This is almost 200 more taught hours than a typical A level student in England studying three subjects currently receives, and will bring teaching time closer to countries like Denmark, the Netherlands, and Norway.

      Does this mean everyone will have to study English and maths to the age of 18?

      Yes, every student will study some form of maths and English to age 18, making sure that fewer young people leave school without achieving basics of literacy and numeracy.

      This change will bring England further into line with other major western economics such as France, Germany, Japan and the USA.

      Does this mean A levels and T levels are being replaced?

      Yes, the Advanced British Standard will eventually replace A levels and T levels, bringing the best of both qualifications together into a single new qualification.

      Pupils starting primary school this term are expected to be the first cohort to take the new qualification.

      We will continue the rollout of T levels as a robust and well-respected technical option. From this September, 18 T level courses are available at over 160 schools and colleges across England, in subjects as diverse as health and science, agriculture, digital, and legal services, and T levels remain a great option for young people.

      When will the Advanced British Standard be introduced?

      It will take around a decade to fully roll out the Advanced British Standard.

      Until then, A levels and T levels will continue to be offered as rigorous, high-quality options for 16- to 18-year-olds and we will work closely with schools and colleges to support them to offer them.

      A consultation will open this autumn, asking education providers and other stakeholders how best to design and implement the Advanced British Standard. We will work closely them to develop and deliver this important reform in the most effective way possible.

      How will you make sure that schools and colleges are prepared for these changes and that there are enough teachers?

      These changes will take time to put in place, and will be developed in close consultation with parents, pupils and teachers.

      An initial funding boost of £600 million over two years will help to lay the groundwork for the Advanced British Standard.

      This includes offering payments of up to £6,000 tax-free for teachers in key shortage subjects in the first five years of their teaching career. This will apply to teachers in schools which currently qualify for the Levelling Up Premium and to teachers in all general further education colleges.

      Read also: 

      British PM speech at Global Education Summit-29/07/2021

      Indian National Education Policy 2020 [Text of the Document]

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