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Primary Education News
News GCSE and A-level reforms timetable delayed
New A-level exams in maths not ready until 2016, while many GCSEs won't be ready for first teaching from 2015, Ofqual warns
Michael Gove's ambitious timetable to overhaul GCSE and A-level examinations has been put back after exam regulator Ofqual said reforms to a series of subjects should be delayed.
Glenys Stacey, Ofqual's chief regulator, told the education secretary that new A-level exams in mathematics would not be ready until 2016, while many new GCSEs would not be prepared in time to meet Gove's target for them to be taught in 2015. "It is clear that the amount of work needed on GCSEs, including the development of strengthened regulator arrangements, means we cannot be confident that new, high-quality GCSEs in all subjects could be ready in good time for first teaching from 2015," Stacey wrote to Gove.
"We have therefore decided that we should focus the GCSE reform programme initially on English language, English literature and mathematics, which are the subjects where there are the biggest concerns."
Modern languages, science, history, geography and other GCSE subjects will not now be ready for pupils to study until 2016 at the earliest, a year later than Gove's plan – with Stacey warning that the 2015 timetable for English and maths was still under review.
The delay is the latest in a long line to have bedevilled Gove's attempts to reform secondary school exams, stretching back to proposals to replace GCSEs with new O-levels by 2014.
A spokesman for Gove said: "Ofqual thinks that the necessary changes are so big that they and the exam boards need more time to make sure they get things right. We have to balance the urgency of fixing exams against the dangers of repeating past mistakes."
Ofqual also published a report by Professor Mark Smith of Lancaster University recommending that A-levels in sociology and art and design content were ready for use, while mathematics needed considerable rewriting.