New GCSE plans announced

What are the new GCSEs?
What are the new GCSEs? Photo: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

The Government has announced new details of its plans to reform GCSE.

The new GCSEs will see changes in how subjects are taught as well as the grading system.

The current modular system will be axed with pupils sitting exams in the summer at the end of their second year.

Resits will also be curtailed and only available in English language and mathematics the following November.

Coursework will only be allowed where exams cannot test certain skills or knowledge.

Also to go is the current A*-G grading system which will be replaced with a numbered 8-1 scheme, with 8 representing the highest grade.

Pupils will all sit the same exam with 'tiered' exams, for students with higher or lower ability, being scrapped.

The changes will to be introduced to schools in England in September 2015, with teenagers sitting the first exams in the summer of 2017. Other subjects, such as foreign languages, will be introduced from 2016.

The new exams will see a change in content for the exams in key subjects; English, maths, biology, chemistry, physics, combined science, history and geography.

Michael Gove claimed the new higher level of demand will help students.

The Education Secretary said the government could "raise the bar confidently, knowing we have the best generation of teachers ever in our schools to help students achieve more than ever before".

He said there was a widespread consensus that the government needed to improve the examination system to "enhance public confidence".

Pupils will sit exams and as modular coursework is abolished in the new GCSEs.
Pupils will sit exams and as modular coursework is abolished in the new GCSEs. Credit: David Jones/PA Wire

In English Literature pupils study at least one play by Shakespeare, Romantic poetry, a 19th century novel, poetry from the 1850s onwards, and fiction or drama since the First World War

The new maths curriculum features advanced algebra, statistics, ratio, probability and geometry, while those students who choose to take geography will undertake two types of fieldwork which will be assessed in an exam.

History will see an in-depth study based on one of three periods - Medieval (500-1500), Early Modern (1450-1750) or Modern (1700 to present day), with no coursework involved in assessment.

The new science GCSEs will contain practical experiments and extended work on topics such as genetics, ecology, energy and space.