MEON Valley’s MP and the schools minister met secondary and post-16 education leaders to discuss changes to A and T Levels.

MP Flick Drummon and Damian Hinds gathered with around 30 others at Swanmore College to learn more about the move to Advanced British Standard.

It is a new qualification framework for 16–19-year-olds giving academic and technical options, more teaching hours and a broader range of subjects, including maths and English for all.

The qualification will prepare students for university, to become an apprentice or move straight into employment.

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Ms Drummond, who is a member of the education select committee in parliament, has long campaigned for a change in how pupils are assessed and pushed for it to happen at 18. She supports ABS because it aims to give a broader education to pupils up to 18.

The politicians heard broad support for the idea and some views on the range of assessment needed to ensure all receive an education which meets an individuals’ needs and engages them.

Staff want to see their pupils ready for work and with skills which help them to be confident and able in the wider world. They agreed that continuing English and maths was important but it needs to be life relevant, not just for those who wish to specialise in maths.

Damian Hinds, minister of state for school standards, said: “I really enjoyed meeting so many heads and senior leaders from across Hampshire for what was a very detailed and interesting discussion about curriculum and assessment in schools and colleges.   

“Heartfelt thanks go to Flick Drummond’s office for organising the roundtable and to Swanmore College for hosting us all.”

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Ms Drummond said: “As a member of the Education Select Committee, I am passionate about seeing the best outcomes for all pupils and ensuring we have a system which as one of the participants said, ‘makes pupils shine’.

“I hope that all schools will submit their thoughts on the ABS as this is a real opportunity to create an assessment system which works for pupils and teachers. As professionals, we need their input to make sure the ABS system works.”

Amanda Griffiths, deputy headteacher at Swanmore, said: “Swanmore School was delighted to host this roundtable for Damian Hinds MP, Minister for Schools, and our local MP, Flick Drummond.  

“It is good to have them listening to what schools and post-16 settings are thinking and where we have concerns.”

A consultation on the changes closed on Wednesday, March 20.