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UK GCSE and A-Level Curriculum Changes in 2015 and Beyond

This guide is designed to give you a quick overview of the qualification reform for GCSE and A-Level as from 2015. It has been written to help you understand changes that are currently being implemented or that are due to be introduced by 2019. The guide has been split by qualification as listed below. 

GCSE

It is proposed that all current GCSE subjects will be reformed by 2017, or will be discontinued. 

  • All GCSE courses are now linear – this means that students take all their GCSE exams at the end of Year 11. 
  • And most courses will be untiered. Of the 2015 subjects, only Maths will be tiered. 

Changes from 2015

  • In September 2015, schools will start teaching new courses for Maths, English Language and English Literature to Year 10 students. The first exams will be in June 2017.
  • In September 2016, schools will start teaching new courses for Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Combined Science (double award), History, Geography, Modern and Classical Languages, Art & Design, Dance, Music, Design & Technology, Computer Science, Citizenship, Religious Studies and PE. The first exams will be in June 2018.
  • Subjects for 2017 are to be confirmed – Ofqual is consulting. 
  • New grading system from 1-9 with 1 as the lowest grade and 9 as the highest.
  • Current grade C proposed as the new grade 4. 

A-Level

It is proposed that all current AS and A-Level subjects will be reformed by 2017, or will be discontinued. 

  • All AS and A-Level courses are now linear so the exams are taken at the end of each academic year. (Previously, exams were split up, with modules which could be taken in January and June). 

Changes from 2015

  • In September 2015 schools/colleges will start teaching the new AS, A-Level English Language, English Literature, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, History, Psychology, Art and Design, Sociology, Business, Economics and Computer Science. First exams will be sat in 2017.
  • In September 2016 schools/colleges will start teaching the new AS, A-Level Maths, Further Maths, Modern and Classical Languages, Geography, Dance, Drama, Design and Technology, Religious Studies and PE. First exams will be sat in 2018. 
  • Subjects to begin in 2017 are still to be confirmed.

AS and A Level will be separate linear qualifications, however the content of AS can be a subset of the full A-Level in order to teach in co-teachability groups.

This separate structure means that an A-Level  student takes an AS examination on the way to completing an A-Level, however the AS outcome does not contribute to the A-Level grade and so the concept of A2 disappears.

The new AS and A-Level will continue to be graded from A to E, with an additional A* grade available at A-Level only. 

What is JRP doing?

All our A Level titles will be updated to match the new courses. We’ll keep you informed. 

Jan Roscoe - 24/11/2014