Over half of new A level & GCSE specifications not ready.

‘Teachers have expressed dismay that fewer than half the specifications for new GCSEs and A-levels to be taught in England from September are ready.

Updated figures from exams regulator Ofqual show 66 out of 156 of the new courses have been officially approved.

Labour's shadow education secretary Lucy Powell called the figures "alarming".

But education secretary Nicky Morgan insisted Ofqual was making progress, with draft content already available.

Under major exam reforms, new, toughened-up GCSEs and A-levels are gradually being introduced, with the second wave of courses due to be brought in for first teaching this September.’ - BBC

‘Schools Minister Nick Gibb said: “We have reformed GCSEs and A Levels so they now represent a new gold standard and it is right that the highest standards are applied to developing and accrediting these new qualifications.

“Content for core subjects including GCSE science, modern foreign languages, history and geography were published as long ago as April 2014 and the content for all of these subjects was published by February 2015 to help schools prepare for their introduction. Draft specifications for all subjects were available from August 2015, with agreed specifications now available in the majority of subjects, so there is no barrier to schools getting on with preparations.

“We have made clear to exam boards that they must produce high quality specifications as quickly as possible and will continue to work with Ofqual to ensure this happens.” - TES

‘Jill Stokoe, ATL’s Education Policy Advisor, said: “The new differences in the syllabus can see more students potentially fail because teachers are not going to have much time to prepare their courses, there will be no practice papers from previous years – which students often use to revise. 

“The delay is not ideal for a child’s education because at this stage of the academic year many teachers across the country have not had sight of the new specifications that they will be teaching from September.

“Students are facing a triple whammy: these are new specifications, more demanding content and they are late.”

Suzanne O'Farrell, curriculum and assessment specialist for the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: "The main issue here in terms of GCSE is science, we haven't yet got any specification approved. At A-level the main concern is languages."

She added: "The issue is around assessment. The content has been published so to some extent schools can plan, but we're living in such an age of accountability that having the specifications is really important.

"Schools need to choose which specification to go with and they need to be able to do that from an informed position. They need to look at all the specifications in order to do that."’ - Telegraph


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