The letter from the Cambridge University Students’ Union to Tory MP Elizabeth Truss, a junior minister in the Department for Education, follows what the union calls an “inadequate” response from Ms Truss to its petition on the issue, signed by 1,663 students, that it delivered to the DfE in March.
The letter says that Ms Truss’s letter “seemed to imply that our main concern was the administrative impact on the University of Cambridge’s admissions process”.
“Whilst this is a concern we share with the University, we are primarily concerned about the actual effect of these reforms on sixth form students, particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds in Higher Education, and their fair access to it.”
The letter goes on to say the plan to scrap AS levels “restricts choice” and “further disadvantages those in the most challenging schools”.
Cambridge has been among the leading critics of the proposals, as admissions officers say AS levels aid fair access by providing a good early indication of which applicants have the most potential to study at the institution.
Vicky Hudson, CUSU access officer, said: “After handing in a petition which 1,663 students signed we received an appalling response from the Department for Education.
“It has been assumed that as we are students from the University of Cambridge our main concern must be the administrative impact on Cambridge’s admissions process – in fact our primary concern is the effect this reform will have on sixth-form students and their fair access to higher education.
“We are writing this letter as we will not let our concerns be brushed under the carpet and we implore the government to listen to students’ views.”