Plans to offer the International Baccalaureate in at least one school or college in every town have been abandoned by the Government.
The Schools minister Jim Knight also warned yesterday that funding for schools to offer the widely acclaimed international exam could be withdrawn completely following a review of the exams system in 2013.
Many schools, including leading ones from the independent sector, have switched to the IB in recent years in the belief that A-levels do not offer youngsters a broad enough sixth-form curriculum. The decision emerged as the Government unveiled a radical review of the entire exams system for 14 to 19-year-olds which will sweep away thousands of existing qualifications.
Officials at the Department for Children, Schools and Families said there were currently 6,500 academic and vocational qualifications on offer, but two-thirds of them were taken by fewer than 100 people a year.