Addressing the many flaws in the Advanced British Standard

There are several holes in the government’s plans to introduce the Advanced British Standard. Sarah Hannafin sets out why ministers must go back to the drawing board
Image: Adobe Stock - Image: Adobe Stock

When the prime minister announced the creation of a new Advanced British Standard (ABS) qualification for 16 to 18-year-old students at last autumn’s Conservative Party Conference, there were a few raised eyebrows among education professionals.

This was a bolt from the blue, which had not been the subject of meaningful engagement, and it felt like the government had already decided upon the broad principles without talking to school leaders.

There was a sense that, once again, ministers in Whitehall felt they knew better than teachers and leaders who work with young people every day.

We agree that there is scope to improve the curriculum and qualification framework and we broadly support the principles supposedly underpinning the ABS – of parity between technical and academic qualifications and broadening the post-16 curriculum.

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