On Tuesday we asked you how David Willetts, Shadow Education Secretary, should respond to today’s A level results. He has sent us the following response:
These are excellent results and we congratulate students for what they have achieved. These are real exams which place real demands on students and their success is genuine and hard-won.
It is good that the number of A-level entries has increased, broadly in line with the number of 18 year olds. However, it is worrying that there is a further serious decline in the number of pupils doing science A-levels and the percentage of students taking maths is still well below the levels of 2000.
Students are working as hard as ever but the exam system needs to work harder to keep pace. It needs to do better at providing the information Universities and employers need to identify the students who are most suitable for them. That is why there is a case for an A* grade and for giving Universities access to numerical marks.
We need to break out of the stale debate about whether standards have declined. Students are undoubtedly as bright and hardworking as ever. What we owe them is a serious debate about how our exam system can best meet their needs and the needs of the nation.
Today is the day to celebrate the success of students, not to denigrate their achievements."
I think he wins the mug.