The National Union of Teachers immediately warned that the move would clash with the introduction of the new Ebacc for 16-year-olds putting intolerable pressure on schools while Cambridge University published a statement stating its opposition to the combined AS exam being scrapped, saying they were crucial for identifying the most talented applicants. Independent school head teachers also attacked the proposals as "incoherent". The University of Cambridge has also voiced strong criticism of the changes to AS-levels, issuing a statement saying it will "jeopardise over a decade´s progress towards fairer access to the University of Cambridge".
Exams will be taken at the end of two-year, non-modular courses; there will be more involvement from universities and the AS-level will become a standalone exam taken either in either one or two years.It means that this gold standard qualification will return to an all-or-nothing set of exams at the end of the course.
"Pupils spend too much time thinking about exams and re-sits of exams that encourage a ´learn and forget´ approach to studying," the minister. Apart from a stray AS-level, there will be no public exams in the lower sixth year – perhaps allowing it to return to its traditional status as a time for school plays, forming bands and writing bad poetry.
It remains to be seen to what extent universities will engage with policing the new exams – they have been lukewarm about direct involvement.