Business leaders deny A levels too easy

TODAY'S record A-Level grades have prompted some national criticism that the exam has become too easy – but Suffolk business leaders have poo-poohed the claim.

TODAY'S record A-Level grades have prompted some national criticism that the exam has become too easy – but Suffolk business leaders have poo-poohed the claim.

For the 21st year in a row record pass rates were reported but this, according to Institute of Directors, was because of "rampant grade inflation". The Secondary Heads Association also said there was a need to ensure all subjects were equally difficult.

But Ipswich council's chief executive James Hehir was one who defended young people of today and said they all have to work harder than his age group and because life is so much more competitive they have to be more flexible in their studies and outlook.

"As a father who has seen his youngsters giving their all to their A-levels and degree courses, and speaking personally, I think they have to put in a great deal more effort than we ever did.


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"It is not fair for people to knock what they do and say they are being given an easy ride.

"I also know that young people who are employed by the council here in Ipswich come to us with an extremely high standard of work ethic. And unlike years ago when people would work for one employer perhaps all their working life, these days variety and flexibility are a must because they will probably move on to several jobs over the years," Mr Hehir added.

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Bob Feltwell, chief executive of the Ipswich and Suffolk Chamber of Commerce said it is the quality of the individual that businesses need.

"We have people at the Chamber doing work totally different to the A-Levels or degrees they have gained. I know many people with psychology degrees who are working in business.

"A-Levels in general are an entry to work and are recognised as an ability and subject matter is not always an issue," he said.

National company bosses said the move to study easier subjects such as psychology and media studies meant A-Levels were becoming "increasingly meaningless'.

Ruth Lea, head of policy at the Institute of Directors said: "We congratulate all successful A-level students and in no way wish to denigrate the sacrifices and hard work that many pupils have made.

"However, we continue to believe that yet another 'record-breaking year' for A-Level pass rates is symptomatic of endemic and rampant grade inflation.'

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