Heads are now considering whether pupils who fail or achieve low grades in their AS-level should be allowed to continue the subject, write Julie Henry and Biddy Passmore.
In a questionnaire sent out last week by the University and Colleges Admission Service schools were asked to state what AS-level grades they require students to achieve in order to progress tothe final year, now known as A2.
But John Dunford, general secretary of the Secondary Heads Association, said that while schools should give students guidance, automatic cut-off points could bring problems.
David Hart, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said he would not be surprised if some schools refused entry to A2 to pupils who had no chance of passing the A-level. But he said having entry requirements for A2 went against the principle of open access.