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'Move on from A-levels' call

A-levels and GCSEs should be overhauled to allow teenagers to sit fewer but tougher exams at school, the new head of the Higher Education Funding Council for England, said this week.

Professor David Eastwood, who takes up his new job in September, called for the introduction of A-level grades - such as A* and A** - to help universities and employers to spot the brightest pupils.

He also wants new vocational qualifications to be introduced to give less academic youngsters the chance to learn practical skills.

"The A-level is a qualification that was developed during the Second World War, so I think the time has come to move on," he said.

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