Letter: Arts A-levels not a soft option for the indolent

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The Independent Online
Sir: It is sickening to see those in authority continuing to pull up the ladder and deny to those who are starting today those benefits that they themselves were blessed with ("A-level exams will be made harder to pass", 6 March).

Gillian Shephard, Secretary of State for Education, Sir Ron Dearing and others should remember how easy things were for them compared with today's students. Reasonable grants, cheap accommodation, no student loans scheme or threats of payment for higher education, good job prospects and far lower entry qualifications - you only needed five O-levels to study law in the early 1960s.

Universities, when they select students, are perfectly aware of today's standards in A-levels and set entry qualifications accordingly. Making some subjects even more difficult to pass is pointless. It is yet another cheap but cosmetic alteration to our education system.

My daughter has just passed four arts subjects at A-level and I can confirm that the past two years has not been the period of indolence that some of the more reactionary members of the establishment might imagine.

C J A Coleman

Polegate, Sussex

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