A level reforms

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

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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, please see the tables below for more detail.

We've developed new specifications for the following subjects in phase 1: Art and Design, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Business, Economics, English Language, English Language and Literature, English Literature, History, Psychology. Specifications in these subjects have been redeveloped for first teaching in September 2015.

Subjects in phase 2 will be available for first teaching in September 2016. We are planning to develop specifications for Drama and Theatre, French, Geography, German, Music, Physical Education, Religious Studies and Spanish.

A full list of subjects for first teaching from September 2017 will be available soon, but will include Design and Technology, Mathematics and Further Mathematics.

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.

Next steps