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2015 Curriculum Changes Explained

the change in the curriculum in England and Wales from 2015 has left many parents confused about performance issues and how best to support their children’s learning needs across the curriculum from Primary all the way to Key Stage 3, GCSE and A- Level.

Below is a brief summary of the key changes

Key Stage 1 and 2

Primary School Years  Remain 1-6 for ages 5-11 year-old. All primary school pupils are now studying the new National Curriculum started from September 2014 with a set of new standards and new more challenging Statutory Assessments Tests (SATs) in Mathematics and English Language which were set for the first time in May 2016.

Also the old numbered levels (1-6) has been abolished and a new assessment based on “Emerging”, “Secure” and “Exceeding” introduced to describe progress by pupils.

Key Stage 3

Secondary school years remain years 7-9 for ages 11 to 14. Since September 2014, a new National Curriculum is being implemented at Key Stage 3 with harder numeracy and literacy and teacher will undertake progress assessments until students move on to GCSEs. the old levelled numbers (5-8) has been abolished and schools given leeway to decide how to assess progress


Secondary School GCSEs remain years 10 and 11 for ages 14 to 16. New GCSEs Maths and English courses started in September 2015 and are more challenging with emphasis on technical accuracy of English. There is also a new Grading system using numbers 9-1 where grade 1 is the lowest and 9 the highest and harder to achieve than an A*.

The new Mathematics and English was done for the first time in Summer 2017 and summer 2018 was the second sitting. The foundation level in English has been abolished and students of all abilities now sit the same examination in English while Mathematics still retains foundation and higher tier mathematics but much more challenging than before.Coursework now plays a much smaller part and marks are gained or lost at examinations at the end of year 11.

the new grading system of 9-1 was applied for the first time in the summer of 2018 for Science and other subjects. this means that effective summer 2019 all subjects will be tested using the new curriculum.

A level

Sixth Form remains year 12 and 13 for ages 16-18.  All students who started after September 2015 have a new A-Level curriculum affecting the following subjects

Biology; Chemistry, Physics, Business, sociology, English Language, English Literature, Computer Science, Psychology and Economics.

AS level no longer count towards A-Levels and year 13 students must take a final examination testing both year 12 and 13 of the course. The new Science and Psychology curriculum focus more on mathematics skills with 10% of marks based on use of maths. the new Maths A-Level started in September 2017 with those who took the new GCSE mathematics in summer 2017.