Looking Ahead to 2017: Changes to GCSEs and A-levels

Looking Ahead to 2017: Changes to GCSEs and A-levels
January 16, 2017
Marilyn Brydges

At Notebook Tutors, we are looking ahead to the changes in the educational and tuition landscape taking place during 2017. In particular, we are closely watching the new English Literature and Language and Maths GCSE examinations, in which students will be given a grade from 9 to 1 rather than the previous A to G system. These GCSEs were introduced for first teaching in September 2015, and so they will be examined for the first time this summer on a ‘guinea pig’ cohort of students. The new curriculum and grade structure will be rolled out to all subjects by September 2017.

An essential requirement for all of our tutors is familiarity with the curriculum they are teaching, and this can be tricky when there has been a considerable change such as the current overhaul of GCSEs. However, our tutors have rallied to the challenge, thoroughly got to grips with the new curricula, and they and we are looking forward to seeing the results achieved by our students this summer. As the new grade system draws a clearer distinction between the students achieving the very highest grades, with what was previously an A* now divided between grade 8 and grade 9, there is greater opportunity for our students to show their strengths, and we are optimistic that they will achieve an impressive crop of grade 9s!

A less dramatic change has also taken place in AS- and A-levels, with students getting their first results in the new A-levels this summer (the first results in the new AS-levels came out in summer 2016). These new qualifications are still graded in the same way, unlike the ‘9 to 1’ GCSEs; but they are more exam-focused than previous qualifications, with much less coursework; and there is no longer the possibility of taking module exams in January. Our students achieved some extremely impressive results in the new AS-levels last summer, and we anticipate further success in the full A-level exams this year.