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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 June, 2003, 21:18 GMT 22:18 UK
English Bac gets closer
Mike Tomlinson
Mike Tomlinson says any changes would take five to 10 years
Students in England could one day take a Baccalaureate rather than GCSEs and A-levels an education conference has heard today.

Mike Tomlinson, the man reviewing 14-19 qualifications in England says a Baccalaureate is becoming an increasingly likely option.

Speaking at the Association of Colleges and Sixth Form Colleges' Employers' Forum in Cambridge, Mr Tomlinson said: "There is quite a persuasive argument for the baccalaureate-type option."

He said any changes would take place in about five to 10 years' time.

Such a change might mean students would be forced to study certain subjects to fit the Baccalaureate's wide brief.

The qualification would be taken by students at the age of 18. A Baccalaureate is typically made up of a number of compulsory subjects plus some optional ones.

The international Baccalaureate is taken by pupils in some independent schools.


Mike Tomlinson, former chief inspector of England's schools, will give a final verdict on the government's idea of an over-arching qualification next year, but he gave a progress report to sixth form and further education colleges.

He told them it was too early to talk about scrapping the existing national exams.

But he said: "If we have a Baccalaureate you cannot have free standing qualifications within it.

"It doesn't mean that the specification and demands of GCSEs and A-levels disappear, if anything disappears it is the free-standing qualifications.

"It is not the decision that we abandon GCSEs and A-levels. We aren't at that point."

Mr Tomlinson's review group is due to announce its first findings on 16 July.

The ideas will then go out for consultation ahead of the full report, which is due to be published in June next year.

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