KS4 Curriculum Changes

Curriculum Changes - GCSE

New GCSEs from 2015/16

As part of the government’s education reforms, GCSE courses will start to change from September 2015.  In the first year, only English and maths GCSE will be changing.  In subsequent years more subjects will be reformed.

The main principles of the reform are as follows:

  • ‘New’ GCSEs will follow a linear structure – all exams will be taken in the summer of Year 11.  Resits will not be available (apart from in November for students in Y12 or above).
  • Coursework will be removed from almost all subjects, including English in the first year of reform.  Assessment will be conducted by external examiners as much as possible (some subjects in later phases of reform, such as geography and the sciences will retain a fieldwork or practical element).
  • ‘New’ GCSEs will be graded using numbers rather than letters – the diagram below shows how this is currently intended to work.
  • Tiered examinations (i.e. availability of foundation and higher level) will not generally be available.  In the first phase of reform tiers have been removed from English, but kept in maths (where the foundation tier will offer the opportunity for students to achieve  grades 1-4, and the higher tier will access grades 5 –9).

There will also be content changes in many subjects, for example the requirement that all students study a nineteenth century novel in English, and other assessment changes such as a greater focus on spelling, punctuation and grammar in the awarding of marks.  Further details of changes in individual subjects are included in our Curriculum Guide as soon as they are available.

Current intentions for new GCSE grading structure

9 to 1 gcse

Timescale for GCSE reform 2015-2019

1Phase 1 (from Sept 2015) - English and Maths

2Phase 2 (from Sept 2016) - Art, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Drama, French, Geography, History, MFL, Music, PE, Physics, RS, Science, Spanish

3Phase 3 (from Sept 2017) - Business, Classics, DT, Mandarin, Media, Turkish / All others

GCSE curriculum change guidance

Department for Education Guide to new GCSE grading (9-1)