Background to new 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.

AQA's aim is to ensure that we continue to offer qualifications that meet the needs of teachers and students, as well as government and regulatory requirements.

We have already developed a number of qualifications for first teaching in September 2015. We want our new generation of GCSEs and A-levels to be the best they can be, so we have developed them in collaboration with teachers and other subject experts. They have also benefited from the latest research by the assessment experts at our Centre for Education Research and Practice (CERP).

We are applying the same approach to developing the next phase of qualifications for first teaching in September 2016 and September 2017.

We have decided that we won't develop new qualifications in some of the subjects we currently offer. There are a number of reasons for this, for example:

  • Ofqual and the Department for Education have decided some subjects can't continue as GCSEs or A-levels in the future – read Ofqual's decisions which they confirmed in May 2015 and September 2015.
  • 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.

Also, as an education charity, we have to make decisions about how we most effectively use our resources, for example balancing our desire to maintain a wide portfolio of subjects with investing in subjects that meet the needs of many students.

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.

We will of course continue to support schools and colleges offering these qualifications while they are still available and details of the final exam and certification dates are on the relevant subject pages.

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

A-levels we are planning to offer in the future

For first teaching September 2015 (already developed)

  • 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 Bengali1
  • A-level Biblical Hebrew1
  • A-level Modern Hebrew1
  • A-level Panjabi1
  • A-level Polish1

A-levels we are not planning to offer in the future

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

  • A-level Anthropology
  • A-level Citizenship Studies
  • A-level Design and Technology: Systems and Control
  • AS and A-level Design and Technology: Food Technology3
  • A-level Electronics
  • A-level General Studies2
  • A-level Applied Business
  • A-level Applied Science
  • AS and A-level Creative Writing2
  • AS and A-level Health and Social Care2
  • 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 Technology2
  • AS and A-level History of Art4
  • AS and A-level Archaeology4
  • AS and A-level Classical Civilisation4
  • AS and A-level Statistics4


  • If the qualification you are looking for isn't here, please look on the relevant subject page.
  • For qualifications we are planning to develop for first teaching in 2017, the name of the current specification is listed. Changes to subject criteria may mean that qualification titles will change.
  • The availability of subjects within suites, such as A-level Design and Technology, may change when the subject criteria are published.
  • Double awards and short courses may also no longer be available once new qualifications are developed.
  • 1 Ofqual has indicated that exam boards can start developing content requirements for these subjects. However, until draft content is submitted and Ofqual is certain its principles have been met, there is still a possibility that it may not allow new qualifications to be developed for these subjects. We will provide more information as soon as we can.
  • 2 The Department for Education announced in May, September and October that new qualifications will not  be developed for these subjects as it has not been possible to draft subject content in accordance with its guidance, and Ofqual's principles for reformed AS and A-levels.
  • 3 The Department for Education announced in July, that a new qualification will not be developed for this subject as there are already a number of alternative high-quality post-16 vocational qualifications available, in related subjects.
  • 4 We started work to develop new qualifications in these subjects, but decided not to continue. Read more about our reasons for this

As part of this process, we have also decided not to develop or continue with some GCSEs, Level 1/2 Certificates (IGCSE style qualification) and other qualifications.

Availability of current GCSEs and A-levels

You can read Ofqual's guidance online to see the timings for the withdrawal of outgoing GCSEs, AS and A-levels. Please note in some cases our qualification end dates may be earlier than what Ofqual have stated, please check the relevant subject pages for final dates.

You might find it useful to read Ofqual's overview of Changes to GCSEs, AS and A-levels that will affect each current school year group.

Ofqual have now confirmed their decisions on final re-sit entries to outgoing GCSEs, AS and A-levels.

You might find it useful to read Ofqual's guidance document, Get the facts: AS and A-level reform.