Academic focus 'driving students to quit A-levels'


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The Independent Online

Pressure to study academic subjects is leading to thousands of teenagers dropping out of A-level studies, according to a report to be released today.

Research cited in the report by the Policy Exchange think-tank shows that as many as one in three students (31 per cent) in some parts of the country are dropping out of A-levels, wasting £300m of taxpayers' money a year.

The researchers tracked a total of 2,400 teenagers in six schools in the north-west of England over a number of years.

Their findings coincide with a YouGov poll, carried out with Policy Exchange, which shows that almost half the population (47 per cent) believe there is too much focus on academic studies in the UK education system, and not enough on practical subjects.

The report argues for top quality apprenticeships and a new technical or vocational Baccalaureate. It welcomes Education Secretary Michael Gove's new English Baccalaureate but adds: "Many students are suffering from the lack of an alternative to academic studies."