Letters extra: less time allowed for A-levels

11th May 2001 at 01:00

I have been listening to science teachers about the amount of work that their students have to do in the new science AS levels.

When teachers complain of the amount they have to cover in a week I ask them how much teaching time they actually have with their students. Their answers show a wide variation from 240 to 300 minutes a week with the majority at the lower end of this range, which is less than one might expect for an A-level science subject.

Could it be that the new AS levels have shown up a problem that already existed, that is, a gradual erosion of the time allowed on the timetable for A-level subjects? My sample so far has been only a small one and I would be interested to hear what allocation different schools have.

Phil Ramsden
Field officer, Association for Science Education

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