Gary Neville says A-Level exams are ‘prehistoric’ and should be binned off

As teenagers across the UK are getting their results, Neville thinks the current education system needs rejigging.

Danny Jones Danny Jones - 17th August 2023

Ex-footballer and entrepreneur Gary Neville has described exams as “prehistoric” and believes traditional assessments should be binned off for a better alternative as thousands of students are receiving their A-Level results this week.

The former Manchester United and England defender turned pundit, football commentator and co-owner of Salford City was appearing on BBC Breakfast on Thursday morning when he was asked his opinion on the current school systems and progression to A-Level and, in turn, university.

Neville, 48, who helped found the University Academy 92 higher education institution with his former Man United teammates and now business partners, stated. “I don’t believe you should work for 16 years at school and then it all depends on a two-hour assessment.”

I mean, he has a point — we’ve all had a bad exam (or three) in our time.

“I honestly believe that it needs ripping up; I think you should be judged on your body of work”, says Neville. “There are easier ways to gain consistency and assessment through marking people over their coursework and that does happen, obviously… but I believe we need to move it all towards that.”


Adding that there is one thing he agrees with Education Secretary Gillian Keegan on, who also appeared on the programme to discuss A-Level results day, he said that he also believes “in 10 years time no employer is going to look at your GCSEs, you’re A-Level result.

“They’re going to look at your experience in the workplace but to get into the workplace in the first place you may be judged on what you’ve achieved in these [exam] results and I think what you should have is a career passport: a body of work that you be able to proud and should be able to refer to your employers.


“They’re not going to look at an exam which is so robotic and methodical and is out of date, I believe, in 2023”.

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With countless students across the UK having received their crucial A-Level results today, it is estimated that the proportion of A or A* grades is 27.2%, which is down from a peak of 44.8% during the pandemic — the steepest drop being in England, where 26.5% of exams papers received the top grade.

Interestingly, private and grammar schools saw the largest drop in top grades compared to last year despite still not making up for the disproportionate boost in grades those types of schools had over the course of the pandemic.


As The Guardian put it rather succinctly and based solely on the statistics, “the gap between private and state schools in England closed but private pupils are still far ahead”.

Do you agree with Gary Neville, are exams out of date in modern-day education and the professional world? Either way, for anyone getting their results today, just remember you’re much more than a grade. We once got you a U in science (we didn’t even know they existed).

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Featured Image — BBC Breakfast (via Twitter)/Unsplash