I have been sent the Ofqual teachers’ update no. 10 as I wasn’t aware that it existed, but there is an interesting comment hinting that there will be further revisions to the guidance issued to exam boards which will mean that they have to take this into account if and when it’s published (I’ve identified the text in red below). So basically what we have seen from all the boards is still yet likely to change what we are working towards in terms of final assessments.
I keep saying it’s too early to make a decision about exam boards, but all this dilly dallying is just bizarre. Someone needs to listen … there is extra content and so teaching for these new GCSE is starting in ernest now with year 9’s and we can’t keep working in the dark. This isn’t the exam boards fault .. they are working with the information they are given .. it is the shifting sands of operating in a sector that is such a political hot potato. OK so the content doesn’t change but that doesn’t mean we can ignore the possible ramifications of any further guidance.
Not sure how many of you subscribe to the Ofqual teachers’ update … but if like me you don’t we really must find out how to get on this mailing list. I can’t find reference to the fact that there will be further guidance published anywhere else apart from this little paragraph in an “update” and on the back of the DFE twitter account following a load of maths teachers this week I sense something in the offing. Maybe it’s just me being a bit paranoid … don’t worry I’m not hearing voices yet!!
Teachers’ update no.10, December 2014
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Timeline of changes
We have produced guidance for teachers to show you how the reform programme will affect each particular year group.
Our timeline is organised by current year groups (for the academic year that started in September 2014) and shows what the changes will be for each group in the next few years. It details which reformed and which current qualifications they will be able to study.
You can see the timeline ‘Changes to GCSEs, AS and A levels that will affect each current school year group’ on our website.
Our Completing Reform consultation
As part of the programme of reform to GCSEs, AS and A levels, new qualifications are being introduced for a number of subjects for first teaching in 2015. Qualifications currently being offered in these subjects will be replaced by new qualifications based on updated content requirements.
Following our consultation this summer, we have decided that a small number of additional current qualifications should be withdrawn because they are too similar to one or more of the subjects being reformed for first teaching in 2015.
These subjects are: AS and A levels in applied art and design; AS and A levels in applied business; AS and A levels in human biology; AS and A level economics and business (combined course) and GCSE digital communication. No new centres will be able to offer these subjects from September 2015. Centres already offering these subjects can accept new students in 2015 for the final time.
This announcement relates to subjects being reformed for first teaching in 2015 and decisions have not yet been made about any subjects that overlap with those being reformed for first teaching in 2016 and 2017.
Latest news about GCSE mathematics
We’ve accredited three of the four submitted specifications and we continue to work with WJEC Eduqas. Accreditation means we’re confident that exam boards can meet our requirements going forward; it doesn’t mean we’ve signed off all materials – eg every question – as completely meeting our requirements. In September we provided exam boards with generic feedback that we asked them to consider but which did not provide a barrier to accreditation. Much of this concerned the way mathematical problem solving is assessed in exam papers. We’re meeting with exam boards this month to take this forward and we expect that this could result in us revising or adding to the guidance for the exam boards on GCSE mathematics that we published on our website in May. Any further specimen exams that exam boards publish in future will have to take account of any revised guidance so they may show some changes from the materials already published. Live papers for summer 2017 will also have to take account of any revised guidance. None of this affects the content that must be taught and that has been published by the DfE.
Religious studies: Have your say
We’ve launched a consultation on the assessment of new GCSEs, AS and A levels in religious studies, for first teaching from September 2016.
We’re proposing that all GCSEs, AS and A levels in religious studies are assessed by exam only and that the GCSEs remain untiered.
We’re currently in the process of arranging a webinar to discuss the consultation, which closes on 5th January 2015. You can respond to the consultation on our website .
Delay to new AS and A level maths
In October we advised that the reformed A levels in mathematics and further mathematics should be put back a year, from first teaching in 2016 to first teaching in 2017.
We thought that time was needed to ensure the various issues relating to mathematics ‘problem-solving’ were resolved. The Department for Education has now accepted this advice. You can see the letter we wrote to the Secretary of State Nicky Morgan on our website.
GCSE and A level accreditation
Nearly three-quarters (74%) of the specifications submitted to us by exam boards for the new reformed GCSEs, AS and A levels to be taught from September 2015 have now been approved and are available to schools. A dedicated team of Ofqual staff and subject experts has been carefully scrutinising each specification as it comes in, making sure that they meet our requirements. 92 qualifications have now been accredited. The process to accredit the final specifications is currently ongoing. You can find out which qualifications have been accredited so far on our website.
We’ve moved to GOV.UK
If you visit our website, you’ll see that we’ve moved. Our new web address is www.gov.uk/ofqual.
GOV.UK is the single government website. Moving to it doesn’t affect the work we do, or the way we do it, it just means the webpages where we present information will look different.
The aim of GOV.UK is to put your needs first. We hope it will be easier for you to find information relevant to you. In moving to the new website though, you will find that the content you need isn’t in the same place as it used to be.