Prime minister Rishi Sunak announced during this year’s Conservative Party conference that A Levels and T levels will be replaced by a new qualification in England.

So, when could the new qualification begin and are there enough teachers to make it happen?

Here’s what we know so far.

What did Rishi Sunak announce about A Levels?

If the plan goes ahead, A Levels and the more vocational T Levels will be merged into a single new qualification – the Advanced British Standard – and 16 to 19-year-olds will be expected to study five subjects instead of the usual three.

“All students will study some form of English and maths to 18, with extra help for those who struggle most,” Mr Sunak added.

There’s not currently a set date for when the Advanced British Standard would come into place, but the Department for Education said “it will take around a decade to fully roll out”.

Until then, post-16 students will continue to have the option of A Levels or T Levels, the latter of which were introduced in 2020 as a more vocational route for students and are equivalent to three A-levels.

Will more teachers be recruited and what have teaching unions said?

Mr Sunak said students would spend “at least 195 hours more with a teacher” as part of the Advanced British Standard.

But will more teachers be recruited? Well, the prime minister noted that the new plan “will require more teachers in the coming years”.

So, in order to “attract and retain more teachers,” those who teach key subjects in schools and those who teach in further education colleges will receive special bonuses of up to £30,000 tax free over the first five years of their career, Mr Sunak pledged.

But the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, Geoff Barton, said that “while the principles of these proposals are good, the practicalities are daunting because of the severity of the teacher recruitment and retention crisis.”

“There aren’t enough teachers to teach existing subjects, never mind extend[ing] teaching on this scale,” Mr Barton added.

He said this problem “requires a much broader strategy to improve pay, conditions and education funding” and that without this commitment “the prime minister’s plans for an Advanced British Standard are likely to prove a pipe dream”.

And Daniel Kebede, general secretary of the National Education Union, said: “The prime minister is completely out of touch with reality. We already have a shortage of secondary teachers.”