By Claire West

Commenting on the release of this year’s A-level results, Miles Templeman, Director-General of the Institute of Directors, said:

The debate about standards obscures the priority issues in education

“We are well used to the annual ritual of debates about standards which the exam season tends to unleash. Discussions about the content of qualifications and the currency of exams both have their place; the quality of our education system is, after all, an incredibly important focus.

“But Groundhog Day debates about A-levels and GCSEs always generate more heat than light. From the employer’s perspective, they obscure the real priority issues in education: improving standards of literacy and numeracy and the employability skills of our young people, and encouraging more to study STEM subjects.

University is not the be all and end all

“Those A-level pupils who haven’t won a place in higher education should not despair. University is not the be all and end all. Not all courses will confer the financial rewards so frequently cited, and employers place just as much emphasis on wider employability skills as they do on academic qualifications. There are also other providers of courses, such as further education colleges, which might be a better option for some pupils.

Let’s support the unsuccessful applicants

“It is important that those not successful in their applications are given every support to assess all of their options — improved careers advice would help. And at a time when the recruitment market is also very competitive, the Government could consider the practicalities of extending its internship initiative (the Graduate Talent Pool) to school leavers.”