GCSE German and Spanish reform: draft specifications and sample papers available

Published: Thursday 6 Jul 2023

We’re pleased to let you know that we've submitted our GCSE German (8662) and Spanish (8692) draft specifications and sample assessment materials to Ofqual for approval, and we’ve also published them on our new GCSE German and GCSE Spanish pages.

Following the Department for Education (DfE) confirmed changes to GCSE French, German and Spanish, and Ofqual’s response to the Spring 2021 consultation, exam boards were asked to redevelop these qualifications. The new specifications are for first teaching from September 2024 with first exams in 2026.

We’ve developed our new GCSE MFL specifications for learners of all abilities, focusing on making our assessments clear and accessible with engaging and relevant content. Our new specification showcases the cultural diversity of languages, by showing students the value of language learning as a life-long skill, while making sure they can achieve the results they deserve.

We want to thank the many hundreds of you who’ve contributed to the development of our new specifications and assessments and shared your thoughts through our drop-in events and surveys.

Here’s how our new GCSE MFL specifications are supporting your learners:

  • In our Listening exam, we've added checking time at the end of the test to support students.
  • Our dictation rewards communication of meaning as well as accuracy giving your learners more opportunities to gain marks.
  • Students can make unlimited notes during their speaking preparation time and use these at any time during the test.
  • Students can use words and short phrases from their reading aloud text to help them answer the questions in the short conversation.
  • All role plays are based on informal social conversations – because learners told us they find transactional role plays harder.
  • For the Photo card conversation, teachers can use questions entirely of their own choice tailored to the interests and attainment levels of their learners to maximise performance.

Our support and resources

Free webinars: July 2023

We recognise the GCSE reform brings a significant change to the specification and assessments, so we want to make sure you have everything you need to be able to teach and deliver the new specifications with confidence.

Remember, we’ve applied the same assessment model to our draft German and Spanish specifications as we did for French.

Join one of our free online webinar events this month, where we’ll walk you through our approach for German and Spanish. There will also be an opportunity to ask us any questions and find out more about what you can expect in the coming weeks and months.

If you can’t attend the webinar, don’t worry, you’ll be able to register to watch a recording on-demand.

In case you missed this, you can register to watch our on-demand webinar for our newly accredited GCSE French specification. The session walks you through the differences between the first draft specification on our website and the final, accredited version as well as the rationale behind the changes, so you can understand the changes in full.

German and Spanish vocabulary lists

You can access the draft vocabulary lists, available as interactive lists, on our new GCSE German and GCSE Spanish pages in ‘Teaching resources’.

Launch events: autumn 2023

Introduction to the new GCSE MFL specifications

We’ve got a full support package of training and resources lined up to guide you through the changes for our GCSE French, German and Spanish specifications, including our free-of-charge ‘Introduction to the new specification’ launch events in September, where you can learn about our new specification in more detail.

You can find out more and register for these events now. Places will be available on a first come first served basis. We’ll be adding more locations over the coming days and weeks, so please keep checking back for latest updates.

Help and support

To find out more about the new specifications and how we can support you, book a 1:1 call with your local account manager. Our account managers offer you free-of-charge personalised local support in school so that you can get expert curriculum guidance at a time that suits you.

Our dedicated page has all the information and support you need in the run up to first teaching in 2024 and first assessment in 2026.

If you have any questions, please contact us at mfl@aqa.org.uk or call 01423 534381.

See all updates