Labour has accused education secretary Gillian Keegan of being “rude” after she said students should not worry too much about the long term importance of their A-level results.
Students across England, Wales and Northern Ireland received their grades on Thursday.
There was a fall in the number awarded the top marks as part of a move to bring them down to pre-pandemic levels.
In 2020 and 2021 there was a spike in the level of grades awarded as exams were abandoned in favour of teacher assessments.
Speaking to Sky News this morning, Keegan said: “Somebody asked me ‘What will people ask you in 10 years’ time?′
“They won’t ask you anything about your A-level grades in 10 years’ time.
“They will ask you about other things you have done since then: what you have done in the workplace, what you did at university?”
“And then, after a period of time, they don’t even ask you what you did at university.”
The education secretary added: “It is really all about what you do and what you can demonstrate and the skills that you learn in the workplace.”
Bridget Phillipson, Labou’s shadow education secretary, criticised Keegan for the comments.
“Hard work matters. Results matter,” she said.
“That’s why the education secretary telling young people that the qualifications they got today won’t be relevant in ten years isn’t just plain wrong, it’s downright rude.
“She’s talking down England’s young people, and she needs to apologise.”
Rishi Sunak said on Twitter/X this morning: “Results day is important, but not necessarily a deal-breaker.
“Whatever results you got today, there are lots of options available to you.”