Edexcel GCSE Astronomy (2017)

Opening up the universe

Here, you'll find everything you need to prepare for GCSE Astronomy from 2017 (first assessment 2019), including our accredited Edexcel GCSE (9-1) Astronomy specification and sample assessment materials.

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This course has been developed to build on our natural fascination with the night sky and our continued exploration of the universe. Astronomy is constantly in the media in both fact and film which makes this course all the more engaging and relevant to students.

This course builds on the astronomy covered in the KS3 curriculum. It complements the GCSE (9-1) Science specifications, in particular the combined science which does not feature any astronomy content, and, as a visually more accessible subject, promotes science to a wider base.

As with our GCSE (9-1) Science specifications, this qualification has been designed to be straightforward to deliver, with clear expectations at each level. This course suits a wide range of abilities, providing stretch for gifted science students while engaging lower-ability students in more relevant content. It can be taken as an optional class but could equally be offered alongside GCSE Combined Science or A level subjects to add breadth of content and skills.

We don’t think budgets should be a barrier to astronomy, so the specification recommends a number of possible observations to ensure that there is a choice for schools.

We’ll provide detailed content and assessment guidance as well as free teaching and learning support and a subject advisory service to help you implement the new specification with confidence.

Edexcel GCSE Astronomy 2017 specification
Download PDF | 1.2 MB
Qualification type:
General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE)
Level 1/2
Accreditation status:
Specification codes:
UK and international
First teaching:
First assessment:
What's changing

GCSE Astronomy 2017: What's changing

We’re working with the teaching community, higher education and subject associations to design our new qualifications for 2017. Our ambition is to develop an astronomy qualification that you will know and recognise, but updated in line with the subject content changes and in response to your feedback.

These changes will apply to all awarding organisations’ specifications:

  • Alteration of the grading system from A*- G to 9 – 1.
  • Removal of controlled assessment for observational tasks.
  • Requirement to assess relevant mathematical skills on written examinations (20%) and observational skills (15%).
  • a requirement for candidates to undertake at least two observational activities (one unaided i.e. with the naked eye, and the other aided i.e. with binoculars or telescope).
  • Introduction of questions in written examinations assessing observational skills.
  • An increase in the depth and breadth of the subject content.
  • Content broadly in the areas of Earth, Moon and Sun; Planetary Systems; Stars; and Galaxies and Cosmology.

Stay informed

Get the latest information on our new astronomy qualification, including details of launch events. 

Register your interest for new Astronomy qualification


Observation statement –declaration form

Centres are required to submit a declaration form to confirm that reasonable steps have been taken to ensure each candidate has completed the observation activities.

Upload your  GCSE Astronomy (9-1) Observation Statement

Free events

Free Getting Ready To Teach events

Our free Getting Ready to Teach events will support you in delivering our new Edexcel GCSE (9-1) Astronomy specification for first teaching from September 2017.

Book your free Getting Ready to Teach place

If you don’t have an Edexcel Online account, you can book by emailing us at trainingbookings@pearson.com

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This presentation was last updated on 2nd November 2016. You can download the slides or listen to the presentation below

GCSE (9-1) Astronomy Launch Event banner

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Why choose this specification?

Pearson is the only awarding body to offer GCSE Astronomy. This engaging, practical course is designed to appeal to a wide range of students, building on their skills and understanding of How Science Works.

Key features of our Edexcel GCSE in Astronomy:  

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Teaching support

We'll provide support for you to plan and deliver the new GCSE Astronomy Whatever guidance you're looking for, we're here to help.

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Your subject advisor

Subject advisor

Irine Muhiuddin

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UK: 0344 463 2934
Intl: +44 (0)344 463 2934
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