Diploma presents new challenge to A-levels

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The Independent Online

The new qualification is being developed by University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) and could be available to schools within two years.

The board said it would be aimed at schools overseas as well as "British schools with an international outlook".

The proposals demonstrate the strong support among schools for diploma-style qualifications which many educators regard as more challenging than exams such as A-levels.

Under the proposals, students taking the new baccalaureate would study three International A-levels, one AS-level and a curriculum extension option.

The new qualification could be popular with schools that had been wary of switching to the International Baccalaureate which forces pupils to take a broad combination of courses. Students who pass all of these courses will be awarded the international diploma, while those who do not will still be given the constituent A-level or AS-level qualifications.