Harris Academies
All Academies in our Federation aim to transform the lives of the students they serve by bringing about rapid improvement in examination results, personal development and aspiration.

GCSE Reforms

The Government is introducing the new GCSEs with the aim of increasing their rigour and further develop the literacy and numeracy skills of young people nationally to better prepare them for the work-place or further study. 
 
There will be an emphasis on students acquiring a core of essential knowledge in English, Maths and Sciences. But specifications for all subjects will have a greater depth and breadth of knowledge required and the level of thinking needed to achieve the top score will be higher. 
 

Key changes

Some of the key changes with the new GCSEs will be as follows: 
 
(a) All assessment will be at the end of the courses in Y11. There will be no more modules and students will not be able to take some exams early. 
 
(b) Exams will form 100% of the assessment in nearly every subject. Coursework and controlled assessments will cease in nearly all subjects. 
 
(c) There will be a new grading scale (see below) which uses numbers instead of letters. The scale will be from 1 to 9, with 9 being the highest. 
 
(d) Exam papers with different tiers will only apply to subjects where untiered papers do not allow for all students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills. We will inform you of which courses have tiered papers and which do not from September 2015 onwards on an annual basis as the new specifications are released. 
 
The implications are that our half termly internal assessments which we will report on become an even more essential tool for us to gauge student progress and better support them.
 
It is vital that we work in partnership to ensure that when asked to revise and prepare for these assessments as part of their homework, pupil do so diligently. We will write re-minders in their planners but please do help us by ensuring they prepare well so that action taken to support and further challenge them thereafter is most appropriate for their individual learning needs.
 

Grading system

 
As mentioned above, there will be a new grading scale which uses numbers instead of letters. The scale will be from 1 to 9, with 9 being the highest. The table below explains when this new scale will be introduced.
 

 Grading system per year group from September 2015

 

Year 11

‘Old’ style GCSE for all subjects.

Grades will all be letters A*-G.

Examination year: 2015.

 

Year 10

‘Old’ style GCSE for all subjects.

Grades will all be letters A*-G.

Examination year: 2016.

 

Year 9

‘New’ style GCSE for phase 1 subjects. Grades will be numbers for phase 1 subjects.

‘Old’ style GCSE for all other subjects.

Grades will be letters A*-G for the ‘old’ GCSE.

Examination year: 2017.

 

Year 8

‘New’ style GCSE for phase 1 & phase 2 subjects. Grades will be numbers for phase 1 & phase 2 subjects.

‘Old’ style GCSE for all other subjects.

Grades will be letters A*-G for the ‘old’ GCSE.

Examination year: 2018.

 

Year 7

‘New’ style GCSE for ‘phase 1, phase 2 & phase 3’ subjects. Grades will all be numbers.

No students will be taking ‘old’ style GCSEs in this cohort.

Examination year: 2019.

New and old grades compared

The numbers that students receive as a final GCSE grade is equivalent to the GCSE grades being used currently. These can be seen in the table below:

Old GCSE grade (number)

New GCSE grade (letter)

9

A*

8

A*

7

A

6

B

5

C

4

C

3

D

2

E

1

F&G

0

U

 

Phased introduction

The reforms will be introduced in phases.
 

First Teaching on 2015 –

Phase 1

First Teaching in 2016 –

Phase 2

First Teaching in 2017 –

Phase 3

English Language

English Literature

Mathematics

Combined Sciences

Biology

Chemistry

Physics

Ancient Languages

Geography

History

Modern Foreign Languages

Art & Design

Computer Science

Citizenship

Dance

Design & Technology

Drama

Music

Physical Education (PE)

Religious Studies

All other remaining subjects

 

Further information

 

We know that changes to exams can be very complicated for all concerned.  The academy held a parent meeting in October 2014 to introduce some of these changes to parents and to explain some of what we  are doing to ready students for this new era. Download our Changes to Assessment presentation from that meeting.

Find out more about how we assessment students and download a sample assessment report.

You can also speak to any teacher or tutor at the academy or feel free to contact Ms Jones (AP Curriculum Inc. Specialisms)

You can also visit the website of the exams regulator http://register.ofqual.gov.uk/ or the The Department for Education https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-education, or the websites of the different exam boards such as AQA, EDEXCEL, CAMBRIDGE WJEC.