Curriculum Change Guidance


Information for Parents, Carers and Pupils

As part of the coalition 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.

New GCSEs from 2015/16. This will affect the current Year 9 and all following years.


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, though this may be assessed within the terminal exam only).

  • ‘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.

Current intentions for new GCSE grading structure:

We currently believe that the new threshold standard (currently a C grade) will be a grade 5.


Timescale for GCSE reform 2015 - 2019

This is currently the most up to date information that we have and the DFE are making regular announcements which can result in changes to the timeline or changes to the assessment, and content, of the new GCSEs. We will be giving updates on the curriculum reforms in the newsletter and posting changes on the website.