Four A-levels and a GCSE given the chop by Ofqual

Four A Levels and one GCSE subject are to be axed by Ofqual from next September.

The qualifications body announced today to withdraw AS and A Levels in applied art and design, applied business, human biology and economics and business and the GCSE in digital communication.

The subjects were chosen because of their overlap with other subjects – for example, the AS and A Level in human biology will roll into biology and GCSE digital communication will become part of English language.

The changes will happen as part of the reformed GCSEs, AS and A Levels being introduced in 2015.

Schools already offering the discontinued subjects can continue accepting pupils onto these courses in September 2015 for a final time, but no new centres will be able to offer them.

From September 2016, the subjects cannot be offered by any centre.

In June, Ofqual launched a consultation listing 24 subjects at risk of being cut. It said today there “could” be further announcements in relation to subjects due for reform in 2016 and 2017.

Yesterday, the Department for Education announced that reformed AS and A Level mathematics and further mathematics will be delayed by a year.

The initial list of at risk subjects, released in June, was:

GCSEs: applied science, additional applied science, catering, digital communication, electronics, engineering, environmental science, environmental and land-based science, expressive arts, home economics, human health, humanities, manufacturing, performing arts, and physiology

A-levels: applied art & design, applied business, applied science, economics and business, environmental studies, engineering, film studies, home economics (food, nutrition and health), human biology science in society, humanities, performance studies, performing arts, quantitative methods, use of mathematics

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  1. Nancy Wall

    You are quite correct about Edexcel Economics and Business having been axed. However, there is a new Edexcel course, A level Economics B. This meets Mr. Gove’s requirement that there be no joint subject courses, in that it covers the criteria for Economics in full. But the criteria are meant to cover just 60% of the course. This opens the way to include a significant element of Business Studies in the Economics B course. It is not a joint subject course in the way the Economics and Business was, but many of the unique features of the old course have been included in Economics B. If you have taught this course before, you will find much that is familiar. To meet the criteria some economic concepts have been added, while some business concepts have had to be cut in order to keep the content at an appropriate level. But many teachers will find that the new course is at least acceptable as a successor course. Go the Edexcel website and take a look.

  2. I think it is a shame that the entire suite of supporting GCSE Science qualifications is disappearing. Whilst I agree that schools should not dance around the main subject to boost headlines, the qualifications in human health and physiology for example provide fantastic enrichment and a different path for those unable to access additional science. Having taught Human Biology and holding a Human Biology degree there is definite overlap but again the differences are vast, the Human course is much more interesting and encourages depth over breadth.