KS3 Homework

Year 8 Report into New GCSEs

Major changes are planned for GCSE system changes that will affect us all whether we are parents, employers or students. We interviewed many people and found out many interesting things.

Here are some of the most important changes:

  • The English and Maths grades have been changed from F-A* to 1-9 allowing for an extra grade for high achievers and to separate it from the old GCSEs.
  • The scrapping of coursework in nearly all subjects
  • The end of module tests
  • Limiting the amount of students allowed to resit exams

As well as numerous curriculum changes - such as the increased amount of British writers being studied in English. We interviewed the teachers in our school and got a mixed response. Generally teachers felt frustration for not having a say in these changes however some said that they positively impacted their teaching. The English department felt that lack of diversity in writers on the syllabus was constraining. The maths department said that the new GCSEs simplified the exam system as high achieving students would not have to take the further maths GCSE.

These are just some of the concerns and opinions voiced by the APS teaching staff. A general consensus was that the abolition of coursework was a bad thing, however an ex-GCSE student we interviewed said that coursework was ,”repetitive and dull” . That said we do not know what the majority of students thought.

As part of the BBC school report we were invited to broadcasting house to both take a tour and appear on the Vanessa Feltz show. We learnt many things about professional broadcasting and some met some of the most incredible people who worked behind the scenes. Despite of some hard questioning, the team managed to hold their own and raise some tough issues for the education minister, who refused to attend. Altogether, an inspiring day out!

We would like to thank Mr. Bonham-Carter, Mr. Creamer and Ms. O`Neil for helping us create this article.

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Progress Tracking and Reporting Survey

Link to progress tracking and reporting survey

Dear Parent / Carer

As you are aware, this year represents the start of a period of curriculum change that is being introduced by the Department of Education.

These changes will have a significant impact upon students in every year group. At Key Stage 3 they involve the revision of the National Curriculum, and in particular the removal of the compulsory levels (1-7) that previously existed to measure progress from Years 7 to 9. At GCSE, new qualifications are being introduced in all subjects over the next three years with a different grading system (using numbers, 9-1, instead of A*-G), and at A level all subject specifications are also being revised over the next three years although the grading system will remain unchanged. Vocational qualifications at Key Stages 4 and 5 are also being reformed.

In light of these changes we are currently reviewing our reporting procedures to ensure that they remain effective in fulfilling their purpose of providing information about progress, and means of improvement, to students and parents.

To help inform this process, we are eager to consider the views of parents and would be grateful if you could complete a questionnaire which is available at goo.gl/pZ74uE

Please also be aware that we have produced guides to curriculum change which you can view here.

We are, as always, grateful for your support.

Yours sincerely

Dan Silverman

Deputy Headteacher

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Curriculum Changes - AS and A2

New AS/A levels from 2015/16

As part of the government’s education reforms, AS/A level courses will start to change from September 2015.  In the first year, many of our most popular courses will be changing – art, biology, chemistry, economics, English, history, photography, physics, psychology, sociology and textiles.  In subsequent years more subjects will be reformed.

The main principles of the reform are as follows:

Key changes

  • The biggest change relates to the relationship between AS and A levels.  These qualifications will be entirely separate, although there will be significant overlap in content.  Results in AS examinations will not count towards a final A level grade. 
  • Students will need to complete A level examinations at the end of Year 13 in all units for which examinations were taken at AS.
  • Resits of specific units will not be available – to complete a qualification, students must sit examinations in all units in a single summer examination series.
  • Assessment will be by examination as much as possible.  In phase one coursework will be removed from all subjects apart from English and history (20% in each), art, photography and textiles (100%).  There will also be an element of practical assessment in sciences. 

Continuity

  • Grading will remain the same i.e.  A* - E for A level, and A – E for AS.
  • In 2015/16 students will continue to complete AS level examinations at the end of Year 12 and A level examinations at the end of Year 13.    
  • The level of demand of AS is intended to be the same as the current qualifications.
  • Most students will continue to pursue 4 courses in Year 12 and all will still be required to complete at least 3 courses in Year 13.
  • Universities will consider AS grades when making decisions regarding course offers.

There will also be content changes in many subjects, for example the requirement that all students study a period of at least 200 years in history and other assessment changes such as a greater focus on spelling, punctuation and grammar in the awarding of marks in all subjects.  Further details of changes in individual subjects are included in our Curriculum Guide as soon as they are available. 

It is important to note that some aspects of these proposals are subject to further discussion between the government, Ofqual and the examinations boards and could be changed prior to implementation.

Timescale for AS/A level reform 2015 - 2019

1Phase 1 - Art, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Economics, English, History, Physics Psychology, Sociology

2Phase 2 (from Sept 2016) - Drama, Geography, MFL, Music, RS

3Phase 3 (from Sept 2017) - Classics, DT, Maths, Media, Politics / All others

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Curriculum Changes - GCSE

New GCSEs from 2015/16

As part of the government’s education reforms, GCSE courses will start to change from September 2015.  In the first year, only English and maths GCSE will be changing.  In subsequent years more subjects will be reformed.

The main principles of the reform are as follows:

  • ‘New’ GCSEs will follow a linear structure – all exams will be taken in the summer of Year 11.  Resits will not be available (apart from in November for students in Y12 or above).
  • Coursework will be removed from almost all subjects, including English in the first year of reform.  Assessment will be conducted by external examiners as much as possible (some subjects in later phases of reform, such as geography and the sciences will retain a fieldwork or practical element).
  • ‘New’ GCSEs will be graded using numbers rather than letters – the diagram below shows how this is currently intended to work.
  • Tiered examinations (i.e. availability of foundation and higher level) will not generally be available.  In the first phase of reform tiers have been removed from English, but kept in maths (where the foundation tier will offer the opportunity for students to achieve  grades 1-4, and the higher tier will access grades 5 –9).

There will also be content changes in many subjects, for example the requirement that all students study a nineteenth century novel in English, and other assessment changes such as a greater focus on spelling, punctuation and grammar in the awarding of marks.  Further details of changes in individual subjects are included in our Curriculum Guide as soon as they are available.

Current intentions for new GCSE grading structure

9 to 1 gcse

Timescale for GCSE reform 2015-2019

1Phase 1 (from Sept 2015) - English and Maths

2Phase 2 (from Sept 2016) - Art, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Drama, French, Geography, History, MFL, Music, PE, Physics, RS, Science, Spanish

3Phase 3 (from Sept 2017) - Business, Classics, DT, Mandarin, Media, Turkish / All others

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