IGCSE Changes Edit
Edexcel IGCSEs are changing to a new syllabus, graded 9-1, to follow the format of new GCSEs. Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) has not announced any plans to change its IGCSEs yet, though it is offering IGCSEs in English and maths graded 9-1 alongside the traditional specifications graded A*-G.
Pearson Edexcel Changes Edit
First date of new exams in English and Maths is summer 2018, and summer 2019 for all other subjects.Last sitting of the current specifications for English and maths, graded A*-G, is January 2018. Last sittings for other subjects are from June 2018 to January 2019. A table confirming last sitting dates of the current specifications, and first sittings of the new ones, is on the Edexcel International GCSE Updates page. Home educators need the information for UK Independent Schools. Careful not to pick the info for International Centres, because their last assessment is a year later. The table is reproduced here for your information, but it's worth checking the page to get more details.
Although the January 2018 sitting is described as a 'resit' opportunity, the Edexcel maths team has confirmed that it is open to all candidates regardless of whether they are resitting, or first-time candidates.
I received the following communication from Pearson Edexcel:
As it stands currently, the 4MA0 syllabus will be available to UK students for the final time in January 2018. Whilst the intention of this would be to offer a re-sit opportunity for anyone not satisfied with their results from Summer 2017, there is nothing to prevent new entries being made in January 2018 (i.e. "first time" entries). You would, however, need to be aware that there may not be a re-sit opportunity after January 2018, for any new entrants in this January 2018 session.
Regards, Andrew Foulds, Subject Leader, GCE & International Maths, Pearson Qualification Services
CIE IGCSEs aren't changing Edit
CIE list any changes to their syllabuses and qualifications online. While CIE has introduced new GCSEs in English language, English Literature and maths graded 9-1, their traditional IGCSEs graded A*-G are still available. The latest update of availability confirms that the current (A*-G) specifications are available for teaching in 2017, which means you can rely on the exams being available until summer 2019 at least. We have no reason to believe that they won't be available after that - but can't be certain.
AQA Certificates are endingEdit
AQA are discontinuing their 'IGCSE-style' Level 2 Certificates, as these were aimed at the UK State schools and will be rendered obsolete by the new GCSEs. The only one they are retaining is their Further Maths IGCSE.
GCSE changes - does this affect home educators?Edit
- English Literature and History GCSEs become available, no controlled assessment
- English Language GCSE still has speaking assessment so difficult for externals
- Science GCSEs still difficult to arrange - centre has to sign off practicals
- Geography GCSE still difficult to arrange - centre has to sign off fieldwork.
- Modern Foreign Languages still have oral & listening tests.
New GCSEs, graded 9-1, are coming to the UK. Some of these will be available to us as external candidates, and we will have a few more options than under the current GCSE system. Coursework and Controlled Assessment is not going altogether, but it will be taken out of some subjects - which should make exam centres more likely to accept external candidates for them. For instance, English Literature will become exam-only. However, English will still involve a compulsory speaking assessment, even though it doesn't contribute to the final grade, so as now, it will be difficult for home-ed students to take the GCSE in English.
Sciences will no longer have Controlled Assessment for practical exams, and there is no practical component to the exams. However, the exam centre is supposed to keep a record of practical work undertaken by the students and the head has to sign a form saying that the candidate has been offered the opportunity to undertake all the core practicals. It is unlikely that centres will be willing to do this for external candidates, so most home educators will probably stay with IGCSE sciences for now.
For Geography, although there is no controlled assessment, the head of centre has to sign confirming that candidates have undertaken two days' fieldwork.
For sciences and Geography, you could, in theory, keep a photographic record and notes of the candidate doing the required practicals or fieldwork, and persuade the head of centre to sign them off on this basis. You would need to get this agreed with the centre well ahead of time to avoid misunderstandings. Most home educators will probably stick with IGCSE for now to avoid having to negotiate this situation.
Here's an infographic from OFQUAL about the change to the grading structure:
'GCSE Reform: Get The Facts' from Ofqual and the Department for Education
GCSE Pass mark raised in exams shake-up - BBC Education
When do the new GCSE exams start?Edit
The syllabuses are described as "from 2015" because that is when schools would start teaching a typical two-year course, but the exams won't be available until 2017. This applies to:
- English Literature
For 'phase two' subjects, the first new GCSE exams will be available in 2018 and the syllabuses will be "from 2016". These subjects are:
- ancient languages (classical Greek, Latin)
- art and design
- citizenship studies
- computer science
- double science
- food preparation and nutrition
- modern foreign languages (French, German, Spanish)
- physical education
- religious studies
Phase Three syllabuses will be available for teaching from September 2017 with first exams Summer 2019, for the following subjects:
- ancient history
- classical civilisation
- design and technology
- film studies
- information and communications technology
- media studies
'GCSE Reform: Get The Facts' from Ofqual and the Department for Education
AQA Timeline of GCSE Changes - with first and last exam sittings.
Pearson Edexcel info on reforms for their subjects.
When is the last chance to sit the old GCSEs?Edit
- English, English Literature and Maths: last chance to take it for the first time is Summer 2016, with sittings for resits only in November 2016 and summer 2017.
- Phase Two subjects: last chance in Summer 2017, resit opportunity one year later.
- Phase Three subjects: last chance in Summer 2018
Will IGCSEs still be available?Edit
Yes, see the section at the top of this page. CIE and Edexcel will still be offering their range of IGCSEs. Edexcel are revising their syllabuses and grading system to bring them closer to the new GCSEs, starting a year after each GCSE syllabus change - so English and maths change for exams from 2018. CIE are still offering their A*-G graded IGCSEs.
AQA are discontinuing their 'IGCSE-style' Level 2 Certificates, as these were aimed at the UK State schools and will be rendered obsolete by the new GCSEs. The only one they are retaining is their Further Maths IGCSE
UK state schools have no option but to switch to the new GCSEs as they will not get league table points for any alternative qualifications.
Independent schools can continue to choose between GCSEs and IGCSEs and many appear to be reserving judgment, continuing with IGCSEs in some or all subjects until they have seen how the new GCSEs work out.
Jury is out on new GCSEs - Times Education Supplement
A-Level Changes Edit
The impact of A-level changes on home educators is discussed on the A-levels page.