GCSE, AS and A level subjects that are not being reformed

A table listing the subjects that are not being reformed and the reasons why.



Following consultation we adopted a principled approach to the reform of GCSE, AS and A levels in subjects, allowing reformed qualifications that:

  • are consistent with the primary purpose of a GCSE, AS or A level as defined in our ‘General Conditions of Recognition’
  • are capable of securing a comparable level of demand (challenge) to other reformed subjects
  • can secure valid assessment, including reliability and manageability
  • can be assessed in a way that differentiates across the full grade range
  • are based on content that is sufficiently distinct from other subjects

Once we determined these principles we identified any subjects that we judged were too similar to qualifications that had already been reformed. We then asked exam boards to make proposals to us, against the principles, for any subjects they wanted to reform. We announced our decisions having reviewed these proposals in May. Following this, exam boards have developed core content requirements in each subject through a process overseen by the Department for Education. We were clear at that time that it was not certain that it would prove possible to develop content in all cases, which would mean that some of the subjects being taken forward following our decisions in May might not be reformed for 2017.

The table below sets out those subjects that will not be reformed and therefore withdrawn. It details the reason for withdrawal, from four scenarios:

  1. We judged subjects are too similar, or overlap too much with others being reformed.
  2. Exam boards chose not to submit proposals for existing subjects.
  3. We rejected exam board proposals for not providing sufficient evidence against our five principles.
  4. DfE announced content development has ceased as it has not been possible to draft subject content in accordance with the department’s guidance and Ofqual’s principles set out above.
Published 7 October 2015
Last updated 15 December 2015 + show all updates
  1. Updated to include additional subjects which are not being reformed

  2. Updated the information about the document.

  3. Updated A level creative writing, economics and business, general studies and health and social care.

  4. First published.