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Ofqual warns politicians against 'tinkering' with coalition's GCSE and A-level reforms

Ofqual has warned politicians against further “tinkering” with GCSEs and A-levels and praised the reforms introduced under the coalition for being "well thought through".

Glenys Stacey, Ofqual chief regulator, said this morning that the changes introduced under the current administration were “principled” and represented a “once-in-a-generation opportunity”.

She said any incoming government ought to think carefully before making any further changes “in the near future”. Ms Stacey did not name any particular party and said that Ofqual had a “neutral stance”.

But Labour has made clear that it intends to reverse the coalition’s “de-coupling” of A- and AS-levels as quickly as possible if it takes power.

Ms Stacey warned last year that doing so would “not be a simple task” and made a similar point today.

“If any new government wishes to change policy and re-couple, that can be done,” the chief regulator told an exam reform conference in London. “However, I would stress that assessment reform is not easy.”

She then went further and warned against making any changes to the GCSE and A-level reforms being phased in from September. 

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make changes that are well thought through and principled,” Ms Stacey said.

“Change has never been attempted in this way before and it will result in materially better qualifications that best reflect the needs of students and learners. As such, I would ask any incoming government to consider carefully before tinkering under the bonnet of GCSEs and A-levels in the near future.”

An adviser to shadow education secretary, Tristram Hunt, would only restate Labour’s plan – to delay the introduction of reformed A-levels, to allow re-coupled A- and AS-levels to be brought into schools from September 2017.

Related stories:

Tristram Hunt: confusion over AS-levels 'biggest issue' in secondary education – November 20, 2014

A Labour government could mean more exam turmoil, Ofqual warns – October 3, 2014

AS-levels would return under Labour, pledges Tristram Hunt – April 19, 2014

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