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* Former chief inspectorMike Tomlinson wants to rationalise GCSE, AS andA-levels, and streamline the current 5,000-plus vocational qualifications by establishing a high-level diploma

* His plan for an "English bac" draws on elements of European systems structured around compulsory core subjects with a single, multi-level award

* Students will put together their own learning programmes. For example, a would-be engineer will be able to choose a package of science options and extra maths

* Coursework will be replaced by an extended research project, which could be a video or a performance

* Students can take exams when they are ready, so creating mixed-age classes (with brighter pupils moving more quickly through school)

* Teacher assessment will be key; as will vocational projects, with elements of vocational training starting at 14

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