Changes To GCSEs

Over the last couple of years Government has been introducing reforms to GCSE and A-Level exams. In September 2015, pupils began to study new GCSEs in English Language, English Literature and Maths.  Over time other GCSEs are changing too (see timetable below).  

According to the Department for Education, the new GCSEs will be more challenging.  The qualifications are intended to provide a stronger foundation for further study and employment; support students in developing the knowledge, skills and values they need for life in modern Britain and match the standards of the best education systems in the world. 

What are the main changes to GCSEs?

  • A new grading scale that uses the numbers 1 – 9 (with 9 being the highest grade) will replace the A* - G scale: 

NEW GCSE GRADE

Equivalent OLD grade

9

A*

8

7

A

6

B

5

4

C

3

D

2

E

1

F

G

U

U

  • In most subjects pupils will sit the same exam papers at the same level regardless of ability. Only Maths, Science and Modern Foreign Languages will have different papers for different groups of pupils.
  • Where possible pupils will be assessed by exam, with other forms of assessment only for particular subject skills (e.g. in art and design or physical education).
  • Pupils will take exams at the end of a two year course of study and subject content will not be divided into modules.

What is the timetable for the changes to GCSEs?

September 2016: Year 10 pupils start studying new GCSEs in History, Science, Geography, Modern Foreign Languages, Art and Design, Citizenship, Computer Science, Drama, Music, Physical Education, Food Preparation and Nutrition, Religious Studies.  Results will be in summer 2018 (using the new 1 – 9 scale).  

Summer 2017: Year 11 pupils take last exams in old GCSEs in History, Science, Geography, Languages, Art and Design, Citizenship, Computer Science, Dance, Drama, Music, Physical Education, Food Technology, Religious Studies (these will be assessed using the old A* - G scale).  They will also take the new GCSEs in English Language, English Literature and Mathematics (these will be assessed using the new 1 – 9 scale). 

September 2017: From now on all other GCSE subjects taught will be new, with the current ones withdrawn.  Results will be in summer 2019. 

Who can I contact at the school for more information?

If you have any questions about how changes to GCSEs will affect your child please speak to your child’s form tutor or subject teacher.

Useful websites:

The DfE website shows a timetable of changes to GCSEs and A-Levels that will affect each current school year group (updated December 2016).  To go to the DfE website click here.

Are A-Levels changing too?

Yes, A-Level reforms started in September 2015 - students who joined Year 11 on this date will take their first exams in summer 2017.  

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