New GCSE reforms have now been fully integrated into the curriculum and are being delivered across all subjects at Key Stage 4.
Reformed GCSEs have been introduced in three waves. The first wave certificated in Summer 2017 in English, English Literature and Maths. The second wave subjects certificated in Summer 2018, namely Art, Music, Drama, Geography, History, PE, Science (including Biology, Chemistry and Physics), Philosophy & Ethics, MFL (French & Spanish), Computer Science and Food Technology. All other subjects will certificate for the first time in Summer 2019. Subjects are now graded from 9-1 rather than A*-G.
The new GCSEs are significantly more difficult as they have additional content and are primarily assessed by examination. A grade 4 is seen as the new 'standard pass' level, which is equivalent to a legacy C grade. A grade 5 is considered a 'strong pass' which is equivalent to a legacy high grade C. Students awarded GCSEs from 2019 will be the first to receive exclusively 9-1 grades. The government have said that:
- Approximately the same proportion of students will achieve a grade 4 and 7 or above as previously achieved a grade C and A or above.
- The bottom of grade 1 is aligned with the bottom of grade G.
- The top 2% of students are awarded a grade 9.
The new grading structure is shown below: