As you may be aware, the current government has initiated widespread curriculum reform, and this includes the introduction of new GCSE and A level specifications for all subjects over the next three years. A vast number of subjects are facing significant change this year as new A levels are introduced from September in English, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Psychology, Computer Science, Business, History, Art and Design and Economics. At the same time, new specifications for GCSE are being introduced.
The timescale for the new GCSEs is as follows:
First Teaching September 2015: English Language, English Literature and Maths
First Teaching September 2016: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Core Science, Computer Science, French, Spanish, Geography, History, Religious Studies, Art, Drama, Food, Music
First Teaching September 2017: All other GCSE subjects, including design technology, that are taught from this point will be new, with the current GCSEs withdrawn.
The curriculum reform also includes significant changes to the course and assessment structure of both GCSEs and A levels. Should you have any queries about these changes please do contact Mrs Yarker, Deputy Headteacher Bournville School: firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, in light of significant changes to Key Stage 2 (KS2), the removal of levels at KS3 and the changes to the grading system for GCSEs we are working on developing a coherent system alongside our middle leaders to accurately assess students’ progress, and will report to you as to whether they are making expected age related progress as they progress toward the new GCSEs.
What will the new GCSEs look like?
- A new grading scale of 1 to 9, with 9 being the top grade. This will allow greater differentiation between students and will help distinguish the new GCSEs from previous versions. Ofqual and the awarding bodies have advised that a grade four will be equivalent to a grade C and a grade seven will be equivalent to an A grade.
- Assessment will be mainly examinations, with other assessment only being used when they are needed to test essential skills. The courses will no longer be divided into different modules and students will take all their exams in one period at the end of their course.
- There will be more demanding content, which has been developed by government and exam boards.
Finally, let me reassure you that we will do everything possible to ensure that these curriculum and assessment changes are introduced carefully and effectively at Bournville School to ensure the future success of all of our students.