It is a decision to gladden the heart of most school children and more than a few university professors – the dreaded A-Level is to be scrapped.
But hold your horses before you start celebrating too hard, there’s more to the decision of the National Assembly of Wales (http://education.guardian.co.uk/schools/story/0,,1925346,00.html) than a simple scrapping of a failing and outdated post-16 education system.
Wales has taken the decision to replace A-Levels with the International Baccalaureate (IB), a qualification that is gaining growing support in the UK’s higher education establishment. Indeed Ucas, the university admissions service, has said it will now recognise the IB in its tariff.
This is a positive step forward, in our increasingly global society the IB is a recognisable and respected qualification around the world. As more multi-national companies encourage employees to travel to various sites around the world, then having the IB as a post-16 qualification makes a lot more sense.
More importantly as more multi-nationals look to create new bases in the UK and bring key executives with them, these senior managers and directors will want to know that their own children will be able to enjoy a seamless transition in their education. A-Levels are simply incompatible to this emerging global society and access to the IB is now a major selling point for UK regions looking to attract overseas companies.
Little wonder, therefore, that there is mounting support for cities like Birmingham to provide an international school with access to the IB.
In the short-term, Wales has stolen a march on the rest of the nation with an impressive piece of forward thinking by its politicians. Now there’s a refreshing change.