Resit plan 'would stigmatise children'

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The Conservatives will unveil plans tomorrow to restore A-levels to their previous standard as education moves to the top of the political agenda.

But a plan proposed yesterday by David Cameron for struggling pupils to re-sit their final year at primary school before they move on to secondary school was attacked as a "gimmick" by Labour.

Jim Knight, the Schools minister, said: "Like the old 11-plus, proposals for what the Tories have called a remedial year would stigmatise the very children who need extra help. They would also increase class sizes and make it impossible for teachers and parents to plan ahead."

Tomorrow, the Tories will launch a policy review paper, Restoring Pride in our Public Services, which will propose a return to "proper" A-levels to restore public confidence and end the requirement for pupils to take AS-level exams after their first year in the sixth form.

The plans include setting by ability for all pupils across the curriculum; "banded league tables" comparing schools of similar composition; and tables showing parents the number of pupils gaining A or A* grades.

Meanwhile, Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, will send a "could do better" message today to all primary and secondary schools in the wake of this year's A-level, GCSE and national curriculum test results.