A level reform
A brand new A level History specification will be developed for first teaching in September 2015 and first examination in summer 2017. It will be a linear qualification with AS as a stand-alone qualification that does not contribute to the full A level. Our current plans are to enable AS and A level to be co-taught.
The DfE recently announced a consultation on the subject content of new A levels in England. The DfE website hosts further information, including how to take part in the consultation. You can also find on their site the draft A level History subject criteria. The DfE's consultation on content ends on 20 December 2013.
The key change proposed is a requirement for learners to study topics from a chronological range of 200 years across the A level course. For example, if students studied "Germany 1900-45", they would also need to study a topic which started before 1745 to meet this new rule.
Ofqual also recently announced a consultation on the regulation of A levels in England in terms of how they are designed, assessed and regulated. The Ofqual website hosts further information about this consultation, including the proposed assessment objectives and how to take part. The closing date for this consultation is the 17 January 2014.
Part of this consultation asks whether coursework should be retained - the current proposal retains a 20% coursework enquiry, which must be independently researched.
Please take this opportunity to provide feedback to the DfE and Ofqual through the consultation process.
We are currently working on a content and assessment model for the new A level History specification and are consulting with as many teachers as possible during this process. We will keep you updated on further developments.
See more information on A level reform.
This year we have been working towards developing a brand new GCSE History specification for first teaching in September 2015. However, Ofqual recently announced that, in response to recent consultations, a brand new GCSE in History will now be developed for first teaching in September 2016 and first examination in summer 2018.
Only GCSE English and Maths will now be developed for first teaching in September 2015. This means that the new 'strengthened' GCSE in History for first teaching September 2013, first exam summer 2015, will now run for an additional year.
On the DfE website, you can find the latest information on the brand new GCSE subject content and assessment objectives consultation, including draft subject criteria for a new GCSE in History.
Key changes include a comparative or thematic study, covering approximately 1,000 years of history to demonstrate an understanding of change over time which will be similar in approach to the current SHP development studies, such as Medicine through time. The proposals also require students to study some early modern or medieval history via a depth study. The draft subject criteria do not currently contain coursework or controlled assessment. However, as a result of the recent consultation, Ofqual will consider further whether it could be possible for students to complete a historical investigation as part of their GCSE, taking account of regulatory considerations.
You can find a timetable of qualification reform for GCSE and A Level on the Ofqual website.
Update on GCSE from 2013
Please remember that there are new 'strengthened' GCSE History specifications in operation for first teaching from September 2013, first examination summer 2015.
Hard copies of the new specifications were sent to centres in September and you can also download copies from the support pages on the following links:
- GCSE Modern World History from September 2013
- GCSE SHP History from September 2013
We now have updated Schemes of Work available on the relevant qualification page.
If you didn't get a chance to go on one of the Get Ready to Teach events, you can watch a voice-over presentation discussing the changes on the following links:
You can find the latest publishing dates for textbooks to support the 2013 specifications at the following links:
Coming soon: we are working on free teacher support books for each of the examined units and for controlled assessment. These will contain additional guidance and exemplification. We will try to make these available as soon as possible and they should begin to appear on the qualification pages throughout November.