A level reforms

The Department for Education and the exams regulator Ofqual have confirmed that A levels will be changing from 2015 to 2017.

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DfE and Ofqual consultations

DfE and Ofqual have launched consultations for subjects that will be first taught in 2017

DfE is consulting on the proposed subject content. Ofqual is consulting on the proposed assessment objectives and non-examined assessment percentages.

Subjects

The consultations include the following subjects:

  • AS and A level Design and Technology
  • AS and A level Music Technology.

Awarding organisations are continuing work to develop the content for the remaining subjects.

Where content for a subject is developed to meet Ofqual principles and DfE guidance, it will be included in a consultation to be published in Autumn 2015. This will include the following Pearson qualifications:

  • AS and A level Politics.

Closing dates

The consultations will be open for approximately 2 months.

Consultation Closing date
Ofqual 24 September
DfE 30 September

How to contribute

Please contribute to the consultations; it is important that your views are heard.

For details on how to view and respond to the consultation documents, please see the relevant subject page.

The key changes to A level

•    A levels will be fully linear, with students sitting their exams at the end of the two-year course. From January 2014, there is no longer a January assessment window. This change applies to current A levels as well as the new ones in development.

•    AS levels will be stand-alone qualifications and will no longer contribute to an A level grade. Their purpose will be to encourage curriculum breadth and they will remain broadly at their current standard. The AS level may be designed to be co-taught with the first year of the A level.

A level reforms timeline

AS and A levels are being reformed in phases. See the timelines below for more details.

Phase 1: First teaching in September 2015

We've developed new specifications for the following subjects: Art and Design, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Business, Economics, English Language, English Language and Literature, English Literature, History, Psychology.

Phase 2: First teaching in September 2016

We're planning to develop specifications for Drama and Theatre, French, Geography, German, Music, Physical Education, Religious Studies and Spanish.

Phase 3: First teaching in September 2017

We're planning to develop specifications for Chinese, Design and Technology, Government and Politics, Italian, Mathematics, Music Technology and Russian.

There are some AS and A level subjects that we've decided not to redevelop for 2017. For more information, see the relevant A level subject page or A level from 2017.

Current AS and A levels - phase 1 subjects 

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

 

May/June 2015

Summer exam series for current phase 1 AS and A levels.

 

May/June 2016

Final summer exam series for current phase 1 AS and A levels.

 

 

 

New AS and A levels - phase 1 subjects

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

September 2014

Specifications for new AS and A levels available.*

September 2015

First teaching of phase 1 subjects.

May/June 2016

First exam series for new AS levels (separate to A level) - phase 1 subjects.

May/June 2017

First exam series for new A levels - phase 1 subjects.

 

 

*Subject to Ofqual accreditation.

Current AS and A levels - phase 2 subjects

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

 

May/June 2015

Summer exam series for current phase 2 AS and A levels.

May/June 2016

Summer exam series for current phase 2 AS and A levels.

May/June 2017

Final summer exam series for current phase 2 AS and A levels.

 

New AS and A levels - phase 2 subjects

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

 

September 2015

Specifications for new AS and A levels in phase 2 subjects available.*

September 2016

First teaching of phase 2 subjects.

May/June 2017

First exam series for new AS levels (separate to A level) - phase 2 subjects.

May/June 2018

First exam series for new A levels - phase 2 subjects.

 

*Subject to Ofqual accreditation.

Current AS and A levels - phase 3 subjects

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

 

May/June 2016

Summer exam series for current phase 3 AS and A levels.

May/June 2017

Summer exam series for current phase 3 AS and A levels.

May/June 2018

Final summer exam series for current phase 3 AS and A levels.

 

New AS and A levels - phase 3 subjects

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

 

September 2016

Specifications for new AS and A levels in phase 3 subjects available.*

September 2017

First teaching of phase 3 subjects.

May/June 2018

First exam series for new AS levels (separate to A level) - phase 3 subjects.

May/June 2019

First exam series for new A levels - phase 3 subjects.

 

*Subject to Ofqual accreditation.

Next steps