Bright sixth-formers could be offered university courses alongside traditional A and AS levels following the success of a pilot scheme in the north of England.
The Open University said an experiment at Monkseaton Language College in North Tyneside had worked so well that undergraduate courses would be offered to students in another 100 specialist schools from September and eventually the scheme could become nationwide.
One of the early successes was Laura Spence, the sixth-former famously turned down for a place at Oxford who subsequently won a scholarship at Harvard University in the United States.
Geoff Peters, acting vice-chancellor of the OU, said: "Even the conventional student of the future is likely to be engaging in e-learning from more than one provider as the barriers between further and higher education and schools continue to break down."
Paul Kelley, headteacher at Monkseaton, said that over the past five years, more than 70 pupils there had studied OU courses and all had pursued further university study.