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Another shot for A-level photography

CAMPAIGNERS backed by some of Britain's most eminent photographers are claiming victory after earning a stay of execution for A-level photography.

Oliver Richon of the Royal College of Art, Mark Hayworth-Booth of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Terence Pepper of the National Portrait Gallery and Paul Wombell, director of the Photographers' Gallery, were among those who had formed a formidable alliance opposing the Associated Examining Board's plan to cut the exam. The campaign was led by Ashley La Grange, head of photography at Rickmansworth school in Hertfordshire.

They argued against the subject being subsumed into the art-and-design curriculum, thus ending the practice of students being tested on photography's own theory and history.

The Qualifications an Curriculum Authority has said the old AEB A-level will be abolished next year but invited exam boards to submit proposals for an optional written exam in photography theory and history. The AEB immediately responded by promising a theory paper.

Rob Taylor, the QCA's principal manager for qualifications development, said post-16 photography had been reviewed in response to the lobbying.

He said: "We have not changed the criteria for the development of the arts

syllabus. In other words, there won't be an A-level photography. However, there is likely to be an optional written paper."

George Turnbull, a spokesman for the AEB, said: "We are thrilled to have the opportunity to provide the paper and we will certainly be doing it on a pilot basis."

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