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A staggering in the timetable for the teaching of new GCSEs and A Levels in schools was announced by Ofqual today in an exchange of letters with the Secretary of State.
New GCSEs in English Language and Literature and in maths will be ready to go into schools and colleges in the autumn term of 2014, for first teaching in September 2015.
New GCSEs in the sciences, history and geography, as well as languages, are now scheduled for first teaching in September 2016. Ofqual’s letter states that it will advise on which other subjects should be available at GCSE in the future. ‘Where possible, we aim for these subjects also to be ready for first teaching in September 2016.’
At A Level, the timetable remains the same for the teaching of A Levels in the most popular A Level subjects* from September 2015, except for A Level Maths and Further Maths which ‘require more fundamental work’, as well as languages, which will begin teaching a year later in September 2016.
Mark Dawe, OCR Chief Executive, says: “Given the seismic change planned for all GCSEs, it makes sense to deal with maths and English first. These subjects are the foundation of our education system and economy and we owe it to everyone to get them right for future generations as soon as possible.”
“The new GCSE maths in particular will not replicate what has been done in the past. There needs to be a much greater emphasis on understanding rather than memorising. It's going to be much more challenging. We are working hard to put high quality resources in place to help teachers and students meet the challenge in what will be a radically different approach from 2015.
“We welcome the more manageable schedule for the other GCSE subjects. It will give teachers the time they need to introduce the changes across all subjects in a less disruptive way. The requirements for A Level maths are complex and the extra year will allow us to continue working with our mathematics experts to deliver a world-class qualification in this vital subject.”
“We know from our extensive consultations on the reform process that today’s decision on the timetable will help teachers and be warmly welcomed by them.”
The letters exchanged on 6 September are available on the Ofqual website.
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* English Language and Literature, the sciences, history, geography, psychology, art and design, sociology, business studies, economics and computing.