Leading exam board and education charity AQA has confirmed that it has received formal recognition from Ofqual as an awarding body to provide the reformed GCSEs.
The new GCSEs will have a numbered grading system and the first subjects to be introduced are English language, English literature and maths. The detailed specifications for these subjects will be available in draft from later this month and will be taught from September 2015, with the first awards in summer 2017. The next group of subjects will include history, geography and sciences.
Andrew Hall, Chief Executive of AQA said: "All awarding bodies need to achieve this recognition which is in effect a licence to practise. The fact that we have it means we are on track to get the new qualifications out to schools and accredited as soon as possible. This is important because we know teachers want plenty of time to get familiar with the new specifications and decide how best to bring them to life in the classroom.
"We can now focus all of our attention on launching the draft specifications for our new GCSE English and Maths qualifications and helping schools and colleges get to grips with the changes."
Over 1,000 teachers have been involved in helping AQA develop its new GCSEs. Earlier this year, our research buses visited more than 250 schools and colleges and over 800 teachers came on board to tell us what they thought about our draft specifications.
Andrew Hall added: "The input and feedback we have received from teachers has been crucial in helping us to create qualifications that we hope will be a joy to teach and enable students at all levels to demonstrate what they can do and get the grades they deserve.
"We look forward to sharing them later this month."