New GCSEs and A-levels finally signed off – just days before schools break up for summer

The exams regulator has announced today it has finished accrediting new qualifications, less than two months before they are due to be first taught in schools.

Ofqual has faced criticism for much of this year over the pace at which it has dealt with 156 new GCSE, AS and A-level frameworks for first teaching from September, and has implemented a new “slicker” accreditation process for qualifications ahead of 2017.

School leaders had expressed fears about their ability to prepare for the teaching of new frameworks and the impact on the publication of materials like textbooks as a result of the delay.

But the regulator announced today that all of the qualifications had been accredited, and said work was already underway to ensure a smoother process next year.

“The process is underway for accrediting GCSEs, AS and A levels for first teaching from September 2017,” a spokesperson said. “The first of those qualifications has been accredited.

“As with the 2016 subjects, we have produced a 2017 table which shows the status of specifications submitted to Ofqual. The table will be updated as soon as there is any change in either the submission date or the specification status.”

The watchdog said accreditation was the “last stage of a necessarily lengthy and involved process” which involves the “development of content and regulatory requirements that all new GCSEs, AS and A-levels must meet”.

Sally Collier, Ofqual’s new chief regulator, has already spoken of the need for a smoother system, but said she would not apologise for setting the bar high.

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