New UK Education Shake-Up

Starting this term, the English 11-18 education system is being shaken up a bit. Here’s the new system digested:

The age for leaving education is going up

Pupils joining secondary school this year (so the current year 7’s) will have to stay in education until they are 17. In two years time the year 7’s will have to stay in education until they are 18. The definition of education is pretty broad here, so someone could leave school at 16, go into the workplace and as long as they were doing recognised training in that workplace, that’d count.

A-levels are being rejigged

This isn’t a big a change as the introduction of AS Levels in 2001, it’s more a revision of that system. From now on most AS and A2 sections will have two modules each instead of three. They’ll be less course work and more open essays in exams. And if you average an A in the subject over all and do exceptionally well in the A2 then you can get an A* mark for the A-Level. So no A* for individual AS levels, just for the full A-level.

New diplomas

These can be taken from 14 onwards (so alongside GCSE’s and A-Levels) at different levels. There are initially five all related to the “employment sectors of creative and media, information technology, health and social care, construction and the built environment and engineering”. There seems to be less news on these than the others, so I’ll try to dig up more later on.

Keystage 3 (11-14’s) curriculum is being shook up.

More emphasis on schools taking a lead on aspects of the curriculum and a more modernised set of core subject. ICT seems to have firmly replaced Geography and History as a core subject (the other two being Maths and English). There aren’t going to be any real changes this year, but it’ll be this years year 7’s who feel it when they’re introduced next year. There’s going to be new assessment targets as well, what they’ll be like though…

GCSE revamps

Nothing major here, just making GCSEs more modular (like AS / A-levels currently are) and tweaks in syllabus as of next September. This should make resits slightly easier as you’ll only have to do on section. All your past papers will be out of date though.