September 2015 update

25 September 2015

Welcome back to a busy academic year during which we will support and guide you through the qualification developments planned. 

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Current A-level 2008 specifications

Summer 2016 will be the last full sitting of all six units for the current GCE Biology, Chemistry & Physics specifications.

Re-sits for any units are of course available, but do check the requirements for each unit 3 and 6 coursework unit and if in doubt please do contact us for clarification.

For Biology, it is not necessary to go on a fresh issue-visit or submit another case-study, the original one submitted May 15th 2015 can be amended.

For Chemistry, the fresh unit 3 and 6 practical tasks relevant for 2015-16 will need to be completed for submission. In line with new regulations issued by the DfE in 2014, the mark schemes are not published until January 2016.

For Physics, a fresh experiment would be required for any re-sit of units 3 and 6.

Finally, we are currently waiting for confirmation as to whether there will be a final resit opportunity of A2 units, 4, 5 & 6 for current Yr13 in 2016-17. Once we learn the details of this we will let you know.

New AS & A level 2015 specifications

Summer 2016 is the first award of the new AS for each of the following new specifications. Biology A (SNAB), Biology B, Chemistry & Physics with the first A level awards in June 2017. The AS is a standalone qualification and does not contribute to the A level of these new totally linear specifications.

Very shortly you will be receiving a letter from the Joint Council for Qualifications detailing the arrangements for the conduct and monitoring of the Core Practical Assessment Competencies, CPAC. Edexcel have already posted online all the AS and A level tasks for these CPAC activities plus a useful monitoring spreadsheet for your use:

Current GCSE 2011 Science suite

This includes the mixed route Core, Additional & Further Additional Sciences plus the separate sciences, Biology, Chemistry & Physics. These are available until final sitting summer 2017. The Controlled Assessments for 2017 will become available from January 2016. If you have students who were disappointed with their summer 2015 GCSE grade and wish to re-sit they can carry forward their Controlled Assessment score and simply re-sit the written units in summer 2016.

New GCSE 2016 (9-1) science suite

This will contain four specifications, a new GCSE Combined Science (Double Award) plus the separate Biology, Chemistry & Physics all with first awarding in summer 2018. These qualifications are totally linear and have no controlled assessments. Our specifications were submitted to Ofqual in mid-July for accreditation and we will inform you when we are successfully accredited.

Edexcel understand that many centres like to deliver Double and Triple science pathways over 2 or 3 year programmes so we already have provided transition material for you to begin delivery from this September 2015 to meet your particular circumstances.

Edexcel Certificates Level 1/2 in Science

The final sitting for this suite of Biology, Chemistry, Physics & Science (Double Award) is summer 2017 and will contribute to performance tables for those Yr11 students in 2016 and 2017.

International GCSE Science suite

This suite of science specifications, Biology, Chemistry, Physics & (Double Award) is only available to International and UK Independent schools and therefore does not appear on performance tables. It is shortly to undergo minor amendments.

BTEC in Applied Science

Both the current NQF BTEC 2012 Level 1/2 Firsts: Principles and Applications of Science are available this academic year, 2015-16, and beyond but this is the final year they will contribute to school performance tables, i.e. 2016 Tables.

The new NQF BTEC 2016 Level 3 Nationals launch events have begun with a recent online event and several face to face events to follow in November.

Best wishes for a successful year and keep the questions coming into

Stephen Nugus & Julius Edwards
Science Advisors


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