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Lessons from the new A level: one department head’s guide

As students sit the new A levels for the first time, Tom Finn-Kelcey reflects on how the exam reforms have forced teachers to make major changes to the way they work – but says that this new system should deliver improved learning

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I’m sitting at my desk with a well-deserved mug of coffee and a celebratory doughnut, and I’m breathing just that little bit easier because Year 13 have finally left the building. It’s been three especially full-on years for A-level teachers. Since the government announced its intention to move to two-year linear courses rather than the AS and A2 modular system, we have been busy: rewriting schemes of work; teaching ourselves about new areas of subject content before we then teach it to the students; and, of course, getting to grips with new assessment styles, especially the difficult process ...

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