Ofqual A level update

29 April 2013

Ofqual A level update

On 22 March 2013, Ofqual published its response to the Secretary of State for Education’s recent correspondence on A level reform in England.

In its response, Ofqual confirms the following key information:

• Removal of January assessments
From 2014, January assessments have been removed for all A levels to limit resit opportunities and provide more time for teaching and learning.

• New A levels for first teaching September 2015 (first assessment in 2017)
New A levels will be developed for 2015 in the facilitating subjects* (except languages), along with six additional subjects. These new A levels are to be fully linear with more synoptic assessment. 

Subjects to be redeveloped for September 2015 are:  Plus:
English (Language, Literature and Language & Literature)  Psychology
Mathematics and Further Mathematics Art and Design
Physics Sociology
Chemistry Business Studies
Biology Economics
History Computing

*The Russell Group of universities facilitating subjects are English (Language, Literature and Language & Literature), Mathematics and Further Mathematics, languages (classical and modern), Physics, Chemistry, Biology, History and Geography.

• AS levels to be stand-alone qualifications for first teaching September 2015

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. It may be that in some subjects it will be appropriate for the AS level to be designed to be co-taught with the first year of the A level.

Next steps

Ofqual will publish and inform exam boards of its new regulatory requirements for A levels as soon as possible.

We'll continue to review the content requirements of the subjects to be redeveloped for 2015, drawing on advice from higher education, teachers and learned societies. It's anticipated that the specifications for the new A level qualifications, for first teaching in September 2015, will be available to schools and colleges in autumn 2014.

Wales and Northern Ireland
We're waiting for clarification on how the A level reforms apply to Wales and Northern Ireland.

Read the FAQs about A level reform here.

Further information

March 2013

Read Ofqual’s response to the Secretary of State’s correspondence about A level reform from September 2015
Download the proposed A level reforms timeline

January 2013

Read about the Secretary of State’s proposals to reform A levels from September 2015
Read our response to the Secretary of State's announcement on A level reform.

November 2012

Read about the changes to existing A levels announced by Ofqual
International customers, please see our A level update for international centres.

If you need any further information, please don't hesitate to contact me.

All the best,

Jon Wolton

Geography Subject Advisor

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