To: Members of the EOA who are part of the Access Consultation Forum and other Ofqual stakeholders with an interest in equality issues.


For information: Click here for additional documents attached to this message

                        Ofqual press release and GCSE reforms


1. GCSE Reform


Ofqual today confirmed some of the key features of new GCSEs in English literature, English language and maths to be introduced in England for first teaching from September 2015. New GCSEs in other subjects will be introduced from 2016.


GCSEs need to change if they are to remain respected qualifications and support a world class education system. We have been taking action to improve the current GCSEs, but further changes are needed if GCSEs are to be more engaging and worthwhile to teach and study. The changes being made will make sure they are better qualifications: better assessed and more resilient so that everyone can have greater confidence in the results.


The new GCSEs will have new content and will be structured, assessed and graded differently from the current GCSEs. As well as being better qualifications from a standards point of view, they will meet Ministers’ policy ambitions, to prepare young people better for the next steps in their education or employment.


Today’s announcement follows a consultation between June and September on proposals about the key design characteristics for reformed GCSEs. In September, we announced a revised timetable for the reforms, meaning new GCSEs in English language, English literature and maths will take priority and will be introduced for first teaching from 2015.


More information can be found about the new GSCEs and the reasons for why changes are being made on our website:


The next stage of the work is to consider how and where standards should be set. We will be doing that in conversation with the public, teachers, exam boards, employers and higher education from December 2013. Please find attached the press release and summary document (including equality-related material) explaining the changes.


The Secretary of State for Education has also made a Written Ministerial Statement today about reformed GCSEs in English and mathematics – see


2. Annual statistics on Access Arrangements in GCSEs, A Levels etc


On Wednesday Ofqual published this year’s statistics on Access Arrangements in GCSEs, A Levels etc in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, see press release at and the relevant report at