Rishi Sunak is considering a major reform of A-levels to ensure children study more subjects in sixth form.
The Prime Minister wants a new “British Baccalaureate” as part of a move towards a more continental-style system of education.
The proposed reforms would see English and maths becoming compulsory until the age of 18, alongside a requirement that children study a wider range of subjects in post-16 education.
Downing Street declined to comment on Thursday on the plans, which were first reported by the Times.
The proposals are understood to be part of the Prime Minister’s plans to change the UK, following on from his decision earlier this week to water down various net zero pledges.
Mr Sunak has already said that all children should study some form of maths up to the age of 18. It is not possible to meet that commitment under the existing A-level system.
‘No final decision taken’
A Whitehall source told The Telegraph that the plan was being considered.
The Prime Minister floated the idea during his unsuccessful leadership campaign against Liz Truss last year.
But a senior Conservative source told the Times he was now determined to press ahead as part of his pledge to address the “bigger, longer-term questions” facing the country.
“He came back from the summer with a series of things he wanted to move on,” a source said. “A-level reform is a critical part of it.”
The Prime Minister has described education as the “silver bullet” in public policy that could improve lives and said it was the “single most important reason why I came into politics”.
He has made clear he believes children are currently allowed to drop subjects such as maths and English too early.
But some in Whitehall have argued that the schools do not need another shake-up of the curriculum and examination system after Covid.
Mr Sunak also wants to create a network of “world-class” technical institutions with links to industry, modelled on the Russell Group of leading universities, and with the power to award degrees.