Getting my head around the new GCSEs and A-levels due 2015

(34 Posts)
noblegiraffe Sun 15-Sep-13 15:28:32

I'm a maths teacher, currently on maternity leave and trying to keep up-to-date with developments (hard when Gove is in charge!).

From what I gather, at GCSE we will have new, harder (harder than the current new, harder) GCSEs in maths and English for first teaching in 2015. Other subjects will follow in 2016.

At A-level, things are going linear. I understand that maths and further maths are proving problematic and we will start linear teaching in 2016, but other subject linear courses will start in 2015. AS level as a midway point will cease, but students can opt to take a standalone AS level which will be a separate qualification, not a part of the A-level. I'm assuming this means they will have to select which subject they want their AS level to be in at the start of Y12 rather than reviewing results at the end of Y12 and deciding which subject to drop.

In maths, at least, we will have students starting the new A-level in 2016, having sat the old GCSE, as the new GCSE only starts in 2015. Presumably this will be a disadvantage as you would hope that the new GCSE will be designed to prepare better for the new A-level. Other subjects will have it worse as the new A-level will start in 2015, but the new GCSE not till 2016.

Am I right? Any other subject teachers want to chip in? I think if I were a parent of a child in this middle of the changeover, I'd be concerned.

Info here:
ofqual.gov.uk/news/publication-notice/

MagratGarlik Mon 16-Sep-13 23:08:23

Science will start the new A'levels a year earlier than maths. There has been a big who-ha in science because learned societies were not involved in the A'level reform.

www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-24018145

whenigrowupiwanttobeaunicorn Mon 16-Sep-13 22:59:52

I have 2 DDs currently in Yr9 and Yr7, so they are either side of the changes if they happen when proposed.
I worry about DD2 having to be a "guinea pig" and also for DD1 having de-valued qualifications confused

friday16 Mon 16-Sep-13 22:43:27

Labour degrading the standard of some of the GCSEs

I think a larger problem was Labour's careless enthusiasm for "equivalent" qualifications. If you look at the finer detail on the DfE website, there are schools where even "high attaining" pupils (those arriving with KS2 SAT scores above 4) are only getting two thirds of their GCSE results from actual GCSEs, the rest from assorted "equivalent" qualifications. These tend to be 11-16 schools in areas with low levels of parental education, where the parents won't be as aware that the qualifications are extremely limiting for further education and the school itself doesn't have to pick up the pieces. Gove's decision to clamp down on that will improve social mobility; children from poorer backgrounds are disproportionately likely to be taking these qualifications.

ClayDavis Mon 16-Sep-13 21:39:19

I don't think they really care about what they're doing. And it doesn't matter which side you look at. Gove is a bit of a twat but he's been handed a vote winner on a plate by Labour degrading the standard of some of the GCSEs so they could brag about how much better the standard of education is under their government. (I'm not saying that's the sole reason for the rise in pass rates. A shed load of work went in from both teachers and students to contribute to that too.)

They weren't really fooling anyone. All Gove has to do is tinker with the system and make pass rates go down and people start thinking he's fixed it.

Whathaveiforgottentoday Mon 16-Sep-13 20:48:08

Do you think we will get to the situation when comparing A grades, when we'll be saying ' well I got a A grade in 2016 so that's much better than your 2012 grade A.
How will employers be able to make a fair comparison?
I'm sure he plans to make sciences easier. I not sure who to blame most, labour who allowed the exams to get easier and easier or gove who's making it so making exams harder so its unfair on the current cohort. Personnaly prefer to blame gove most for being such a twat, but seriously can they not see the damage they are doing?

ClayDavis Mon 16-Sep-13 20:08:32

It was primary, noble. And tbf to Gove it wasn't entirely his cock up.

Labour commissioned the review, they got Rose to write the curriculum, they paid to create a new website and sent all the hard copy training materials into schools. What they failed to do was get the curriculum through Parliament, knowing that they were about to face a general election they were going to lose. They tried to rush it through in the end but there was no way the Tories were going to vote for it knowing they had a chance of winning an election.

Of course, when Gove gets the credit for introducing compulsory languages into the primary curriculum, he conveniently forgets that they would already be there had he not scrapped it several years ago.

creamteas Mon 16-Sep-13 19:51:20

What is really really really needed is for education policy to stop being a political football

We can dream sad

crazymum53 Mon 16-Sep-13 19:44:02

Well, the GCSE will be linear as well, but with the current scheme of work. Almost all GCSEs are now terminal-only, as of the 2014 examination session.

I know, the current new non-modular GCSEs will be the "old" linear GCSEs by then.

noblegiraffe Mon 16-Sep-13 19:31:16

Was that primary? Scrapped by Gove?

What is really really really needed is for education policy to stop being a political football.

ClayDavis Mon 16-Sep-13 19:23:30

He's reckoning it will be a done deal by then and a new Government couldn't possibly have the time between May and September to put the brakes on

He does remember the Rose review and curriculum right? The one where we spent millions of pounds producing shiny new curriculum documents and sent them into schools in preparation. Where they're still sitting unused because there was a general election before they could bring it the curriculum in and he scrapped it.

friday16 Mon 16-Sep-13 18:49:55

Labour have already said that they still could stop/slow down the changes.

They might like to spend more time worrying about how to win an election, and less time making random announcements about what they'll do in the currently unlikely event that they do.

creamteas Mon 16-Sep-13 18:23:38

I know, but Labour have already said that they still could stop/slow down the changes.

It is relatively easy in May to say, it stays as it is for Sept (not good for schools, but they still could).

noblegiraffe Mon 16-Sep-13 18:19:21

The election is precisely why Gove is rushing these changes through in 2015. He's reckoning it will be a done deal by then and a new Government couldn't possibly have the time between May and September to put the brakes on.

creamteas Mon 16-Sep-13 18:10:30

The other unknown is that if we have a change of government after the general election, then the timetable could change again hmm.

noblegiraffe Mon 16-Sep-13 18:04:37

No, longing, he can continue with A2 in Y12 and complete it in one year. It's only students starting their two year course in 2015 who will take all their exams at the end. It won't affect students who are in the middle of a course in 2015.

longingforsomesleep Mon 16-Sep-13 17:50:34

So .... DS in Year 10 has started AS Computing with the aim of completing the AS at the end of Year 11 (summer 2015). Does that mean, if he wants an A level in Computing (which he does) he will then have spend 2 years doing it in year 12 and 13, rather than one year doing the A2 in year 12 which I believe was the intention?

NoComet Mon 16-Sep-13 17:41:46

DD2 is in Y8, so she starts her GCSEs in sept 15.

So I think she gets the new exams.

I'm not too worried about GCSE, she'll take whatever's thrown at her.

It's hard A levels that worry me, there is just so much scope for exams not matching what's taught if they aren't properly tested.

friday16 Mon 16-Sep-13 17:20:05

So Y9 dd will do "old" style GCSEs and the new linear A levels.

Well, the GCSE will be linear as well, but with the current scheme of work. Almost all GCSEs are now terminal-only, as of the 2014 examination session.

What's the logic behind requiring more children to stay in education till the age of 18 but making A levels harder ?

The people who will be staying in school or training, but would not previously have done, are unlikely to be taking A Levels.

crazymum53 Mon 16-Sep-13 16:59:56

So Y9 dd will do "old" style GCSEs and the new linear A levels. What's the logic behind requiring more children to stay in education till the age of 18 but making A levels harder ?
Since January exams have been discontinued there have been more dcs who haven't made the grade at AS level this year, so won't these changes mean that even more students won't make the grade after spending 2 years studying.
I am also concerned that introducing all these changes at once will result in many good, experienced teachers leaving the profession.

Thanks noblegiraffe, that makes things a bit more straightforward

poppydoppy Mon 16-Sep-13 15:23:32

Why do they have to rush this through? I wish they would just do a complete overhaul for the current year 7s so students and teachers have time to adapt.

Theas18 Mon 16-Sep-13 14:30:02

Gawd it's so unfair on the the kids!

DS is now A2 year and has spent his whole school career learning and doing exams in a modular way, in a modular system.

The year that really really matters ie A2 he has to learn a whole new way of doing this, and ace the grades. No wonder he's stressed

noblegiraffe Mon 16-Sep-13 14:20:41

2015 is start of teaching
Current Y11 sit old GCSEs and old A-levels (with no January modules as just introduced)
Current Y10 will sit old GCSEs, but new Linear A-levels except in maths/further maths
Current Y9 will sit old GCSEs but all new Linear A-levels
Current Y8 will start the new maths and English GCSEs but the old humanities etc, and Linear A-levels
Current Y7 will sit all new GCSEs and Linear A-levels.

I think.

Am totally confused by the timings and changes to timings. DD2 is in Y11 so doing existing style GCSEs (controlled assessments and end of course exams). What is happening next year in Y12 - same AS and A2 system as currently, or "new" 2 year A levels? Are the dates mentioned earlier for the end of course exams, or the start of course teaching?

ClayDavis Mon 16-Sep-13 00:42:20

It may have had that benefit, but from what I remember at the time the idea of more AS subjects then 3 for A2 was to do with studying a broader range of subjects. It was supposed to bring post 16 education more in line with IB. It never really happened because unlike the IB it never specified blocks of subjects that you had to choose from so you could still end up taking all sciences and maths even with more subjects.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now