GCSE Changes 2015 – Why This is Happening
In September 2014 the government introduced the new National Curriculum in England and Wales. This has increased the difficulty of the curriculum and requires some skills which are to be introduced earlier in a child’s education. This is intended to increase the standards of education in the UK, resulting in more rigorous exams and is intended to assist our students to be more prepared for Higher Education and to improve the UKs PISA ranking.
PISA ( The Programme for International Student Assessment) is a triennial international survey which aims to evaluate education systems worldwide by testing the skills and knowledge of 15-year-old students. Currently the UK ranks 23rd on the World stage according to the PISA rankings published in 2013. You can view the worldwide rankings here
What Will Change from September 2015 in the Teaching of GCSE English and Maths?
The government are keen to improve our PISA word rankings and have introduced a new curriculum to be taught from September 2015.
Students who have already been introduced to the new curriculum are finding it a challenge to learn the extra skills they are required to learn, particularly in Maths.
Children in Year 3-5 and Years 7-9 have already been introduced to the new curriculum in Maths, English and Science. In September 2015 this will be extended to Year 2 and 6 children who will sit their end of Key Stage SATs under the new curriculum.
The National Curriculum Levels (1-8) have now been scrapped; it was felt by the government that these levels were not useful to parents or students. Schools are now required to develop their own tracking system which will consist of key objectives that should be achieved. Parents are likely to find reporting changed to below expected, at expected and above expected. This has already been implemented by schools and many end of Year reports will have been reported in this way.
Key Stage Two SATs Changes
In 2015 the Key Stage Two SATs will be reported for the first time as a standardised score rather than a level.
In September 2015 Year 10 students will study the new GCSE curriculum in Maths and English; Science will be revised for first teaching in September 2016.
There are a number of changes parents and students need to be aware of which can be read in full at http://www.aqa.org.uk/supporting-education/policy/gcse-and-a-level-changes/structure-of-new-gcses. The video is very informative. However, put simply:
It is expected that a Level 4 will be the equivalent of a low grade C and a Level 5 will be the equivalent of a high grade C or Low grade B.
- Firstly the current grading system (A* to G) will be replaced with a new grading system (1-9).
- Initially it will only be the Maths and English which will change so students sitting their GCSE exams in 2017 will receive grades using both systems
The tiered system will no longer be in place for English exams and the controlled assessment element will be abolished, meaning that students will gain their grade from 100% examinations. There will be changes in the texts the students are required to study with the introduction of 19th Century texts, the removal of media texts and the requirement for all students to study both Literature and Language exams. Speaking and Listening will be assessed separately.
In Maths there will be more focus on calculation and problem solving, the tiering system will remain.
What Parents Can Do To Prepare
Please ensure that your child is prepared for the changes. Many students do not engage in a sufficient amount or read texts of a high enough level, this will be even more important to ensure that students develop the analysis and vocabulary that they will need to succeed in the new exams. Maths skills need to be consolidated to ensure that the foundations are secure in order to ensure that the problem solving and functional skills questions can be tackled confidently.
If you are concerned please speak to your child’s class teacher, Head of year or seek further professional advice.
How Kip McGrath Education Centres Can Help
At our 200+ Kip McGrath Education Centres throughout the UK, our qualified teachers work with each student based on their individual strengths and weaknesses in the core subjects of English and maths and help them to achieve the best academic results possible. Book a FREE, no obligation assessment with a teacher at your local Kip McGrath centre and find out how we can help your child succeed.
Thank you to Clare Powell who is a qualified teacher, dyslexia specialist and runs the Kip McGrath Education Centre in Scunthorpe tutoring Year 1 – 12 students. You can contact Clare by visiting her website at www.kipmcgrath.co.uk/Scunthorpe or by calling 01724 853935