KS5 Curriculum Changes

Curriculum Changes - AS and A2

New AS/A levels from 2015/16

As part of the government’s education reforms, AS/A level courses will start to change from September 2015.  In the first year, many of our most popular courses will be changing – art, biology, chemistry, economics, English, history, photography, physics, psychology, sociology and textiles.  In subsequent years more subjects will be reformed.

The main principles of the reform are as follows:

Key changes

  • The biggest change relates to the relationship between AS and A levels.  These qualifications will be entirely separate, although there will be significant overlap in content.  Results in AS examinations will not count towards a final A level grade. 
  • Students will need to complete A level examinations at the end of Year 13 in all units for which examinations were taken at AS.
  • Resits of specific units will not be available – to complete a qualification, students must sit examinations in all units in a single summer examination series.
  • Assessment will be by examination as much as possible.  In phase one coursework will be removed from all subjects apart from English and history (20% in each), art, photography and textiles (100%).  There will also be an element of practical assessment in sciences. 


  • Grading will remain the same i.e.  A* - E for A level, and A – E for AS.
  • In 2015/16 students will continue to complete AS level examinations at the end of Year 12 and A level examinations at the end of Year 13.    
  • The level of demand of AS is intended to be the same as the current qualifications.
  • Most students will continue to pursue 4 courses in Year 12 and all will still be required to complete at least 3 courses in Year 13.
  • Universities will consider AS grades when making decisions regarding course offers.

There will also be content changes in many subjects, for example the requirement that all students study a period of at least 200 years in history and other assessment changes such as a greater focus on spelling, punctuation and grammar in the awarding of marks in all subjects.  Further details of changes in individual subjects are included in our Curriculum Guide as soon as they are available. 

It is important to note that some aspects of these proposals are subject to further discussion between the government, Ofqual and the examinations boards and could be changed prior to implementation.

Timescale for AS/A level reform 2015 - 2019

1Phase 1 - Art, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Economics, English, History, Physics Psychology, Sociology

2Phase 2 (from Sept 2016) - Drama, Geography, MFL, Music, RS

3Phase 3 (from Sept 2017) - Classics, DT, Maths, Media, Politics / All others