Schools win approval for tougher alternative to A-level

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*Schools are to begin teaching an elite exam to rival A-levels and prepare top-performing students for university, after the new course was backed by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.

From September, 24 private schools and six state schools will teach the Cambridge Pre-U, which is described as a return to a more traditional A-level course. It aims to give candidates an advantage over A-level students by teaching them traditional exam and study skills instead of coursework-based learning.

All Pre-U subjects are assessed at the end of a two-year course. Maths, English literature, chemistry, physics, biology, modern languages, psychology and economics have been accredited as subjects.

Teachers have said the introduction of the Pre-U could create even more division in an already fragmented system.