No further GCSE delays, says DFE

No further GCSE delays, says DFE

The Department for Education has ruled out delays to the introduction of any other new GCSEs after it was announced the new design and technology qualification would not be taught until 2017.

The GCSE became the fourth new qualification to have its implementation delayed by the DfE, when school reform minister Nick Gibb (pictured) announced last week that first teaching would not go ahead as planned in September 2016.

The delay comes after first teaching of new A-levels in maths and further maths was also postponed until 2017, and that announcements that the new geography A-level would be taught from September 2016 rather than starting this year.

But a DfE spokesperson told Schools Week that “no further delays” were due to be announced.

The design and technology delay was welcomed by Andy Mitchell, assistant chief executive of the Design and Technology Association (Data).

He said: “This is good news. A great deal of work has been done to develop the new subject content, which informs the writing of the specifications by awarding organisations, but to complete the task in the time available has proved very challenging.

“As is always the case with curriculum and examination developments, the DfE plans for all documentation relating to significant reform to be with schools at least a year before implementation.

“It is anticipated that the delay of one year will allow for this, and also ease the pressure with respect to development and implementation [of the qualification]. We can take this as the DfE wanting to get right any changes that are necessary.”

In his letter to awarding organisations about the delayed design and technology GCSE, Mr Gibb said: “We are reforming GCSEs and A-levels to strengthen their academic rigour and to ensure young people are prepared for life in modern Britain. The reforms are extensive and represent a new qualifications standard, keeping pace with universities’ and employers’ needs.

“Draft content for the new GCSE in design and technology was consulted on in autumn 2014. The consultation showed many positive reactions to the creation of a single title for design and technology and the way in which the content had changed to reflect far better the processes of design.

“These changes will ensure that the subject prepares students well for further study in a rapidly changing world.

“The reforms do, however, represent a significant change to the design and technology GCSE. To ensure all the component parts of the qualification work well together, it is my view that more time is needed to give students the best experience possible.

“First teaching of GCSE design and technology will, therefore, be delayed from 2016 to 2017 to enable the awarding organisations to complete their work and undertake further consultations and discussions with stakeholders.”

A DfE spokesperson said: “To ensure the design and technology curriculum is fit for the future we are looking to make significant changes to the GCSE content and so it is right that we will take sufficient time to consult experts and teachers.”