Malcolm Trobe, the deputy general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders suggested the fall could be down to major issues with English in 2012 when this year’s A-level entrants would have got their GCSE results.
There was a major controversy over the way in which these exams were graded after exam boards moved the boundaries between January and June.
This meant the same standard of work could get two different grade depending on when it was marked in the year.
Leeds City Council played a leading role in a national legal campaign to get all pupils’ work regraded in line with the grade boundaries used in January.
An alliance of councils, schools, pupils and teaching organisations claimed that the boundaries had been moved mid-year to prevent there being an increase in the numbers earning C grades.
However their battle was rejected in court . Ofqual had said at the time that the problem had arisen because the English GCSE was too reliant on assessment work marked by teachers.
Now the events from two years ago are being linked to new figures from the Joint Council for Qualifications showing a drop in the number of pupils taking English at A-level this year.
Mr Trobe said: “There’s quite clearly some indication of an unexpected drop in entries to A-level English, which of course coincides with the issues in 2012 to do with GCSE results in English.
“It looks as if English entries have gone back up again for AS-level in 2014, which would indicate that there was a drop in those taking English, which would in all probability be linked to what happened in 2012. That seems to be a reasonable conclusion.”