Academic prowess is not a reflection of ability to work

28th August 2009 at 01:00

The UK needs more workers with science and mathematics skills and it is reasonable to motivate students to develop them using A-level points. More points could be awarded to these subjects on the basis of their greater difficulty relative to other A-levels ("Gove reveals his hand as Tories take a gamble on exams reform", August 21).

While this can deter schools from promoting them and students from choosing them, allocating points based on difficulty would require A-levels to be ranked and differences between them maintained. Alternatively, more points could be awarded to A-levels such as science, maths and the languages on the basis of their strategic importance.

Despite last week's publicity stating that the total numbers taking science A-levels are on the rise, there was no actual increase in the percentage of entries, even following a range of initiatives. More radical steps must be taken to encourage a higher proportion of students to pursue important subjects, and awarding more points is a good place to start.

Dr Hilary Leevers, Assistant director, Campaign for Science Engineering, London (

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