Labour to consider A-level reform

Labour is poised to reverse one of the most controversial decisions taken as Prime Minister by Tony Blair over its schools policies. Andy Burnham, education spokesman, plans to "look again" at rejected proposals to scrap the GCSE and A-level system and replace it with an overarching diploma covering both academic and vocational qualifications. A-level and vocational qualifications such as engineering and healthcare would be recorded side-by-side as part of a new diploma certificate.

The move was recommended by a government inquiry into exam reform headed by the former chief schools inspector Sir Mike Tomlinson. But Mr Blair, in the run-up to the 2005 election, is said to have rejected it because he feared accusations that he was dumping the "gold standard" of A-levels. Sir Mike believed the diploma was the only way to ensure academic and vocational qualifications were given equal merit.