In April, draft specifications and SAMs (specimen assessment materials) were submitted to Ofqual (the Regulator) for accreditation and you may be aware from recent media coverage that all awarding bodies have received feedback and that none were accredited at this stage. This gives us no cause for concern as it is perfectly normal for specifications not to be accredited on first submission.
Following our usual development process we're addressing the feedback received and we'll re-submit to Ofqual as soon as possible. Ofqual has made an announcement that GCSE sciences are expected to be accredited by the end of December 2010, but we're working hard to ensure that you have approved specifications and SAMs before this.
What have we been asked to do?
Most of the comments we've had relate to the demand of the SAMs, both examination papers and controlled assessment tasks and we're reviewing these materials to ensure that the demand is appropriate.
You can download the current draft specifications and SAMs and find other relevant information at www.gcse-science.com.
Year nine teaching
Some of the comments from the Regulator are about the content of the specifications, but none of these will require substantial changes to the draft specifications.
We're aware that many of you will need to start teaching these new specifications from September 2010, where learners are starting a three year course, leading to certification in 2013.
After we've made the necessary revisions, we'll ensure that the updated versions of the content of the first two teaching modules for each subject area are available on our website by the end of July.
You can base teaching on this material until fully accredited versions of the specifications are published.
We will not however publish revised versions of the SAMs until specifications are fully accredited. There will be no examinations until January 2012 and you should check the specifications (Section 8.1) for details of availability.
Supporting you all the way
We're committed to providing you with all the support and resources you need and we're currently working on a wide range of FREE support to help you start teaching from September 2010 including:
Sign up for the 2011 email updates so we can let you know as soon as the revised specifications are available and keep you up to date on all the developments.