General National Vocational Qualifications were vigorously defended as "along the right lines" and "already extremely popular" by Tim Boswell, minister for further and higher education, at a conference this week.
He reaffirmed the Government's commitment to A levels, arguing that a "package" of A levels and GNVQs was a good combination for many students.
Speaking at a conference on "The Admissions Maze", organised by the University of North London, Mr Boswell's speech contrasted with a presentation by Brian Roper, vice chancellor of the University of North London, who called for the introduction of a British baccalaureate.
"More than 25 per cent of those who start A levels either don't complete them or fail after two years' work. This is a shocking waste of human potential." He criticised the use of predicted A level grades rather than actual grades in the admissions system.