A-levels and GCSEs should be replaced by a diploma system within the next decade, according to a major report into secondary education.
The Tomlinson report advocates the introduction of a four-level diploma with a core based on English and maths – the skills that businesses say need the greatest improvement among school leavers.
The plans would mean less coursework and fewer exams, as well as routes into vocational training being clarified and simplified.
However, employers’ bodies have voiced scepticism about the report.
John Cridland, deputy director-general of the CBI, said his organisation could not give a green light to the proposals.
“Business must be convinced that more will be gained than lost by reorganising 14-to-19 qualifications,” he said.
“The Tomlinson report is chiefly about qualification reform. Business is primarily concerned with raising literacy and numeracy standards.”
The Institute of Directors (IoD) also said that there were some serious flaws in the solutions provided by the final report.
Richard Wilson, head of business policy at the IoD, said a revolution in the examination system will not, in itself, deliver improvements.
“The establishment of the diploma would be disruptive and costly,” he said. “The Government should retain the essence of the existing structure, make improvements where necessary and focus on driving up literacy and numeracy skills – this is business’s priority.”