Background to new GCSE, AS and A-levels

Government changes to the exam system and qualifications mean that only new qualifications accredited by the exams regulator Ofqual can be offered by awarding bodies in the future.

We’ve developed a new generation of GCSE, AS and A-levels in collaboration with teachers and other subject experts. They’ve also benefited from the latest research by the assessment experts at our Centre for Education Research and Practice (CERP).

Not all qualifications have been redeveloped for a number of reasons:

  • Ofqual and the Department for Education (DfE) have decided some subjects can't continue as GCSEs and A-levels in the future – read Ofqual's decisions.
  • we have a better alternative qualification, for example our new vocational Tech-levels
  • entry levels are low or declining, indicating that a qualification no longer meets the needs of teachers and students
  • there are insufficient experienced examiners to set and mark papers.

We realise that the schools and colleges whose students have taken these qualifications in the past will be disappointed and we have contacted them to provide as much notice as possible and suggest suitable alternatives.

On 12 October 2016, we announced that we would not be continuing our work to develop new AS and A-levels in Archaeology, Classical Civilisation, History of Art and Statistics. Read more about our reasons for this

New GCSEs we’re offering

For first teaching September 2015

  • GCSE English Language
  • GCSE English Literature
  • GCSE Mathematics

For first teaching September 2016

  • GCSE Art and Design
  • GCSE Biology
  • GCSE Chemistry
  • GCSE Citizenship Studies
  • GCSE Computer Science
  • GCSE Food Preparation and Nutrition
  • GCSE Dance
  • GCSE Drama
  • GCSE French
  • GCSE Geography
  • GCSE German
  • GCSE History
  • GCSE Music
  • GCSE Physical Education
  • GCSE Physics
  • GCSE Religious Studies
  • GCSE Science (Double Award)
  • GCSE Spanish

For first teaching September 2017

  • GCSE Bengali
  • GCSE Business Studies
  • GCSE Chinese (Mandarin)
  • GCSE Design and Technology
  • GCSE Economics
  • GCSE Engineering
  • GCSE Italian
  • GCSE Media Studies
  • GCSE Modern Hebrew
  • GCSE Panjabi
  • GCSE Polish
  • GCSE Psychology
  • GCSE Sociology
  • GCSE Statistics
  • GCSE Urdu

GCSEs we’re no longer offering

  • GCSE Applied Business Studies (Double Award)
  • GCSE Classical Civilisation
  • GCSE Electronics
  • GCSE Law
  • GCSE Leisure and Tourism
  • GCSE Additional Applied Science
  • GCSE Application of Mathematics
  • GCSE Business and Communication Systems
  • GCSE Design and Technology: Short Course
  • GCSE Environmental Science
  • GCSE Expressive Arts
  • GCSE Further Additional Science
  • GCSE General Studies
  • GCSE Health and Social Care
  • GCSE Home Economics: Child Development
  • GCSE Home Economics: Food and Nutrition
  • GCSE Human Health and Physiology
  • GCSE Humanities
  • GCSE Methods in Mathematics
  • GCSE Performing Arts (incl. Double Award)
  • GCSE Information and Communication Technology

For details of last exam dates, please look on the relevant subject page.

New AS and A-levels we’re offering

For first teaching September 2015

  • AS and A-level Art and Design
  • AS and A-level Biology
  • AS and A-level Business
  • AS and A-level Chemistry
  • AS and A-level Computer Science
  • AS and A-level Economics
  • AS and A-level English Language
  • AS and A-level English Literature
  • AS and A-level English Language and Literature
  • AS and A-level History
  • AS and A-level Physics
  • AS and A-level Psychology
  • AS and A-level Sociology

For first teaching September 2016

  • AS and A-level Dance
  • AS and A-level Drama and Theatre Studies
  • AS and A-level French
  • AS and A-level Geography
  • AS and A-level German
  • AS and A-level Music
  • AS and A-level Physical Education
  • AS and A-level Religious Studies
  • AS and A-level Spanish

For first teaching September 2017

  • AS and A-level Accounting
  • AS and A-level Design and Technology: Product Design (3-d design)
  • AS and A-level Design and Technology: Product Design (textiles)
  • AS and A-level Environmental Science
  • AS and A-level Further Maths
  • AS and A-level Government and Politics
  • AS and A-level Law
  • AS and A-level Mathematics
  • AS and A-level Media Studies
  • AS and A-level Philosophy

For first teaching September 2018

  • A-level Bengali
  • A-level Biblical Hebrew
  • A-level Modern Hebrew
  • A-level Panjabi
  • A-level Polish

A-levels we’re no longer offering

  • A-level Anthropology
  • A-level Citizenship Studies
  • A-level Design and Technology: Systems and Control
  • AS and A-level Design and Technology: Food Technology
  • A-level Electronics
  • A-level General Studies
  • A-level Applied Business
  • A-level Applied Science
  • AS and A-level Creative Writing
  • AS and A-level Health and Social Care
  • A-level Communication and Culture
  • A-level Human Biology
  • A-level Science in Society
  • AS Use of Mathematics and FSMQs
  • Pilot A-level Use of Maths and L3 Pilot FSMQs
  • AS and A-level Information and Communication Technology
  • AS and A-level History of Art
  • AS and A-level Archaeology
  • AS and A-level Classical Civilisation
  • AS and A-level Statistics

For details of last exam dates, please look on the relevant subject page.

Ofqual guidance

You can read Ofqual's guidance online to see the timings for the withdrawal of outgoing GCSEs, AS and A-levels.

You might also find it useful to read Ofqual's guidance document, Get the facts: AS and A-level reform as well as their overview of Changes to GCSEs, AS and A-levels that will affect each current school year group.

Our view on Ofqual's consultation

We’ve submitted our response to Ofqual's consultation on standards in new GCSEs and A-levels.