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Detail of outcome
The new reforms we are announcing now bring in the further changes that are needed if GCSEs are to become more engaging and worthwhile to teach and study, as well as more resilient and respected.
As well as being better qualifications from a standards point of view, they will meet ministers’ policy ambitions: to prepare young people better for the next steps in their education or employment in years to come.
We want to make sure that employers, colleges and universities, who use GCSEs when making selection decisions, can have confidence in the value of the qualifications they are using.
We also want to make sure that the changes that are made take into account the pressures placed on qualifications when they provide a basis for schools to be held accountable for the performance of their students.
Detail of feedback received
The main section of this report provides an analysis of the responses received to the online consultation and takes into account the views expressed via separate written submissions.
The report is structured around each section of the consultation and provides an analysis of the quantitative data broken down by stakeholder category. Where relevant the report provides further explanation of these responses through an analysis of the qualitative responses received.
GCSEs are being comprehensively reformed. The reformed GCSEs will reflect the subject content on which the Department for Education is consulting separately.
Ofqual is responsible for making sure that the reformed GCSEs are of high quality: that they fulfil their purposes, and provide valid and reliable results. We believe this reform programme provides an opportunity to make improvements to the design of the qualifications and assessments, so that they are as worthwhile to study and as stimulating to teach as possible.
These proposals have been developed taking account of the Secretary of State’s policy objectives set out in his letter of 6th February. We plan that reformed GCSEs in English language, English literature, mathematics, chemistry, biology, physics, science double award, geography and history will be ready to be taught from September 2015 and first awarded in August 2017. Reformed GCSEs in other subjects will be ready for first teaching from 2016.
We are consulting now on the key characteristics of the reformed GCSEs so that exam boards can design and develop them during the school year 2013 to 2014 and teachers can prepare during the 2014 to 2015 school year to teach them. It will be important that students, teachers and others are clear about how standards will be set in the reformed GCSEs. We will be consulting in the autumn on how standards will be set and maintained, once the key features of the reformed GCSEs have been agreed.