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Star University College School pupil with six A*s slams Michael Gove’s exam reforms in open letter

PUBLISHED: 09:00 28 August 2013

Raphael Hogarth.

Raphael Hogarth.

Archant

One of Camden’s top A-level performers has written to Michael Gove warning him he could damage education and alienate a generation of new voters with his controversial exam reforms.

Raphael Hogarth celebrated getting six A*s in his A-levels at University College School, in Frognal, Hampstead, earlier this month.

The 18-year-old, who lives in Muswell Hill, will head to the University of Oxford next month to study philosophy, politics and economics, after picking up A*s in maths, further maths, history, German and music, plus A* in an extended project qualification.

But days after receiving his exam results, Raphael was drafting a letter to the education secretary urging him to abandon his plans to transform A-levels.

Raphael told the Ham&High: “The worst thing about the proposed reforms is that school will just be less fun, less educationally invigorating and more stressful.

“As someone who has just done school, the idea of inculcating it with suffering and not teaching you more in the process is really sad. I think it will make people a lot less keen to support the Tories when they turn 18.”

In March, Mr Gove outlined government plans to introduce new A-levels from September 2015 in a bid to remedy a perceived lack of rigour in the current system.

The new reforms include making AS-levels stand-alone qualifications and requiring students studying for A-levels to sit a single round of exams on the entire syllabus at the end of two years.

It will mean an end to assessed coursework and the possibility of resitting individual exams.

Raphael added: “It’s certainly a shame that when people my age are working really very hard, we are told that in fact we are not working that hard because we are actually sitting easy exams.

“Gove and other members of his party talk about the ‘global race’ and competing with other people in other countries. I think that’s dangerous because we are already competing against each other.

“It’s the idea that you are no longer just competing with someone in your own city or your own country, you’re competing with the rest of the world. That’s daunting and disenfranchising.”

A Department for Education spokesman said: “We are reforming exams to make them more rigorous. Linear A-levels will end the treadmill of exams and ensure pupils develop a real understanding of a subject, while new AS-levels will be demanding and give the opportunity to take a smaller qualification for additional breadth.”

To read Raphael’s letter to Michael Gove, visit www.openlettertomichaelgove.com

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