Plans for reforming A levels and GCSEs together in the same year have received approval from the regulator, Ofqual.
However this is qualified: “Exam boards agree with us that, on the face of it, this timetable is deliverable, but of course we will take action
if at any time the timetable is at risk”.
Responding formally to the education secretary’s plans, Ofqual chief regulator, Glenys Stacey, described the redevelopment of A-levels in England alongside GSCE reform by September 2015 as “challenging” for the both the regulator and exam boards.
She then went on to suggest a potential heavy burden for schools as well: “The introduction of new GCSEs and A-levels at the same time will place a considerable burden on schools and the effect of this should be monitored.”
Altain’s observation is that there are significant other stakeholders for whom change is important and potentially challenging, that also benefit from consideration: For example students and parents, on the one hand, and HE, FE, Employers and Suppliers of resources such as Publishers on the other. How are the needs of these groups to be accounted for?
Also that there are perhaps fundamental questions still to be answered, ranging from what we really need secondary education to deliver, through to clarification on aspects of the the national curriculum, to the preferred approach to the accountability regime in schools.
We will be considering the implications more fully and sharing our perspective. Our sense is that we need some fresh approaches in order to deliver, not just new exams, but the improvements promised for secondary education across the board.
In the meantime, 2015 is it is, but we should probably expect a few more twists and turns along the way.
You can read the full text of the Ofqual announcement here