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By the numbers: the decline of specialist subjects

There has been an outcry over the withdrawal of ‘specialist’ A levels such as archaeology – and there are a number of subjects with far fewer entries

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A levels in “specialist” subjects such as archaeology, history of art and classical civilisation will be dropped next year, partly owing to challenges around marking. Only 369 students sat an A level in archaeology last summer, while 839 took history of art.

Critics have warned that infrastructure and house-building projects will suffer as a result of the subject’s removal because of the key role that archaeologists play in preparing sites. A petition to save the A level has gained more than 12,000 signatures, and has even garnered the support of former Time Team presenter Sir Tony Robinson.


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