Letter:Failed exam

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Congratulations on your excellent and courageous leading article "Time to scrap the A-level" (18 August). We need a national campaign to get over the message that the existence of A-levels is the biggest single obstacle to a rational and coherent system of post-compulsory education that will serve the needs of the nation and the majority of school-leavers.

A-levels are no longer fit even for the purpose for which they were designed, being too narrow and too academic. While they continue in their present form, and are treated as though they are the only examination that matters at age 18, they fatally weaken all of our efforts to promote vocational and practical pathways. They will impede Sir Ron Dearing's attempts to reform higher education as damagingly as they impeded his review of 16- 19 qualifications. They feed the elitism and academic snobbery that makes much of our work in further education so much harder.

They've got to go: I hope the next government will have more courage and sense than this one.

Colin Flint

Principal, Solihull College

Solihull, West Midlands

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