Thousands sign petition against abolition of creative writing A-level

Kaye Wiggins

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Thousands of teachers and students have signed a petition calling on the government to reverse a decision to scrap AS and A-levels in creative writing.

The Department for Education announced last week that the qualification would be axed from 2017, just four years after it was first introduced for teaching in 2013.

The department has argued that the subject overlaps with English language and English literature, is not required by universities for degree courses in creative writing and is studied by a relatively small number of pupils.  

But teachers and students have said the subject is “rigorous and challenging” and helps develop students’ creative thinking and critical reading skills, which they argue are “highly valued by employers”.

An online petition against the move has attracted more than 3,200 signatures

The decision comes as part of a bonfire of qualifications by the watchdog Ofqual, which is taking place in preparation for the introduction of reformed GCSEs and A-levels.

The watchdog says that to continue, qualifications must meet certain principles, including whether they can “secure valid assessment” and have content “sufficiently distinct” from other subjects.

The creative writing qualification was originally spared the cull in May, but a DfE report published this month said it had “not been possible” to draft subject content that met Ofqual’s principles. It said AS and A-levels in health and social care had been axed for the same reason. 

A spokesman for AQA, the only board to offer the creative writing A-level, said: “We would have liked to continue offering [the qualification], but unfortunately the decision is out of our hands.

“We appreciate that this is disappointing for teachers and students, but we’ll do our best to respond to their needs through our other qualifications.”

A spokeswoman for the Department for Education said: “Arts education should be every bit as rigorous as the rest of the school curriculum. That’s why students will be given the opportunity to demonstrate their creative writing skills as part of reformed, gold standard English literature and language A-levels.”

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Kaye Wiggins

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