As you’ll no doubt have heard, GCSEs are in the process being overhauled by the Department for Education and Ofqual.
High on the hit list are GCSE English and GCSE Maths, which means that these are the first subjects where students will be examined on the new course content and via the new exam structure. These changes will affect any student not already in Year 11 as of September 2015, whether they are 4 or 14 (as well as their tutors!)
Here’s a quick summary of the changes:
- No more modules. All GCSEs are now linear, meaning they will be examined in the summer of Year 11 only.
- No higher/lower tier papers (excluding Maths and Modern Foreign Languages): all students sit the same paper.
- No coursework for nearly all subjects – exams only!
- No resits allowed, other than one reattempt at Maths and English Language in the November following the original exam.
- Grades A* - U replaced by numbers 9 – 1, where 9 is the highest possible score. Current GCSE grade C will be replaced by numbers 4 and 5, with 5 being more demanding than the existing C grade.
- New, more rigorous content for all courses.
- No more GCSE English: now it’s either GCSE English Language, GCSE English Literature, or both.
All other subjects will be similarly overhauled ready for teaching in September 2016 and examination in summer 2018.
The idea behind these reforms is to sure up the GCSE system, creating results that employers and universities can trust, and that put the UK in line with other top-performing countries on the global education spectrum, such as Finland, Japan and Singapore. This could be great news for our economy, but is it good news for our students?
The answer is: yes, as long as they are prepared! And that’s where our GCSE maths tutors, and GCSE English tutors (both GCSE English language tutors and GCSE English literature tutors) come in. Our tutors have a wealth of experience in helping students achieve their best in exams, and this isn’t going to change with the new GCSE system.
So how can you prepare for these GCSE exam reforms?
- Teach or study English or Maths? View our GCSE Reform breakdown to make sure you are aware of the new specifications for your subject.
- Teach or study other GCSE subjects? Keep an eye out for our follow-up emails, as we’ll be letting you know about future changes in time for teaching in September 2016.
- Look at the relevant exam board websites: there are lots of free resources and guidelines, as well as example exam papers and mark.
- Take a look at our resource centre, full of helpful lesson materials.
Keep an eye out for our next email on the changes to primary school education and assessment!
Still have questions?
Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Emma H (English teacher)
Related article: Primary School Assessment Changes