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  • IGCSEs in 2017 performance tables

    July 2014

    Further to the media reports circulating today that IGCSEs will not be counted in performance tables in 2017, we have been informed that no official decision has yet been announced by the DfE.

  • Ofqual consultation on changes to GCSE drama

    Advice February 2017

    The DfE has recently made changes to the subject content, which introduces an explicit requirement for GCSE, AS and A level drama specifications to: “require students to experience live performance, where they are a member of the audience in the same performance space as the performers.

  • Download the new FFT/ASCL 2017 KS4 school dashboard

    Advice November 2017

    Schools subscribing to FFT now have access to a full national analysis of their 2017 KS4 results. This year's reports include Attainment 8, Progress 8 and the new DfE 9-1 point score measures, together with results re-calculated from previous years.

  • Schools financial efficiency: Metric tool

    Advice April 2018

    The DfE has recently updated the guidance and methodology relating to the Metric Tool which includes 2015 and 2016 data.

  • Provisional exam timetables for summer 2019

    Advice April 2018

    AQA, CCEA, OCR, Pearson and WJEC have released a joint provisional timetable for GCSE, AS and A level exams for summer 2019 via JCQ. The common timetable, which you can view here, captures the exam boards' plans for next year.

  • English GCSE results

    Advice October 2014

    This is a serious concern for schools whose students took English Literature GCSE for the first time in November 2013 or June 2014 – and whose students also took combined English GCSE during the same time period.

  • Do you have a great idea for bringing research alive in school?

    Advice June 2016

    Partnership Grants from The Royal Society of up to £3,000 are available to schools to enable students, aged 5 – 18, to carry out science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) projects.

  • Updated approved vocational qualifications

    Advice April 2014

    The list of vocational qualifications that will be included in 2016 school and college performance tables has been updated to include all approved qualifications.

  • KS3 curriculum: The diamond standard

    Leader article June 2016

    ASCL Specialist Suzanne O’Farrell offers top tips to help schools inject more challenge into the curriculum and ensure that the latest wave of reforms translates into higher standards.

  • Briefing note on English and maths GCSEs

    Advice July 2014

    The DfE and BIS have published a briefing document on the Maths and English briefing - New GCSEs and old, containing an overview of content, which members may find helpful.

  • English GCSE

    Advice September 2014

    Nationally there has been a 1.9 per cent drop in A*- C grades in English entries this year however behind this figure the effects of new systems on individual students and schools, are much more complex.

  • Responding to members’ concerns about exam results

    Advice August 2016

    We have changed the way in which we are collecting information from you regarding any issues or concerns that you may have with this summer’s exam results.

  • DfE Data checking exercise

    Advice June 2016

    The DfE has written to schools to notify them that the June data checking exercise is now open. Schools should take the opportunity to check the list of eligible pupils and their characteristics. Ensuring these are correct can make significant differences to performance tables and RAISE; this data e

  • Phonics: a guide to teaching reading in schools

    Guidance paper August 2016

    This information will assist school leaders to ask informed questions about how reading is taught in their schools.

  • Oxford University launches free digital outreach portal

    Advice December 2017

    Oxford University has launched an innovative new digital outreach portal aimed at engaging students aged 11 to 18 years with debates and ideas that go beyond what is covered in the classroom.

  • National Cyber Security Centre CyberFirst courses

    Advice May 2018

    The National Cyber Security Centre is running free, short residential and non-residential CyberFirst courses this summer for 14 to 17 year-olds, designed to introduce young people to the world of cyber security.

  • Edexcel A level maths exam - June 2018

    Advice June 2018

    We are aware of the allegations of malpractice or wrongdoing in relation to Edexcel’s A level C4 maths paper taken on 22 June 2018. ASCL is in discussions with Ofqual seeking urgent clarification of the situation.

  • The Rochford Review

    Advice February 2016

    The Rochford Review was asked to advise the DfE on statutory assessment arrangements for pupils working below the standard of national curriculum tests, including those with special educational needs and disabilities.

  • Updated Ofsted handbooks and ‘myths’ guidance - including the EBacc

    Advice July 2018

    Ofsted has published an updated school inspection handbook for Section 5 (full) inspections and Section 8 inspections, ready to start in September 2018.

  • Destination measures

    Advice January 2016

    The DfE has published revised Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 destination measures, showing the destinations of the 2012/13 cohort in 2013/14 and including information on independent schools.

  • Curriculum and qualifications changes

    Advice April 2014

    On Wednesday 9 April, the Secretary of State announced the publication of the content of A level and GCSE content to be taught from September 2015 and 2016 respectively.

  • GCSE Early Entry Guidance for Schools

    Advice May 2014

    The DfE published a guidance paper on the rules around early entry in March 2014.

  • Key Stage 4 and 5 destination measures data (2011–12 cohort)

    Advice January 2015

    The next set of Key Stage 4 and 5 destination measures data is being published today, six months earlier than previous cohorts, showing the destinations of the 2011-12 cohort in 2012-13.

  • GCSE reform: regulations for English language

    Advice June 2015

    Ofqual has announced how the new GCSE English spoken language assessments will be conducted, assessed and graded.

  • Managing Changes to Curriculum and Assessment for Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4

    Guidance paper March 2014

    Changes to the National Curriculum, assessment and qualifications are extensive. This guidance provides an overview of the changes and proposes a strategic planning cycle that schools may wish to use between now and September 2016 to prepare for the changes.

  • Ofqual workshops

    Advice June 2017

    Ofqual is inviting teachers from across the country to workshops to offer their perspectives on the assessment of this summer’s reformed GCSEs, AS and A levels.

  • Boost language attainment with a Modern Language Assistant

    Advice February 2017

    Modern Language Assistants (MLAs) bring authentic language and culture to the classroom. In a recent survey of host schools, heads of modern languages reported improved exam results, raising standards in under-performing students and motivating talented students to achieve more.

  • Careers guidance briefings

    Advice February 2018

    Following the launch of the governments new Careers Strategy and statutory guidance, the Careers & Enterprise Company is running a series of briefings entitled, Implementing the Careers Strategy: A Careers and Enterprise Company Briefing for senior leaders.

  • Healthy Pupils Capital Fund (HPCF)

    Advice November 2017

    £100 million of revenue generated from the Soft Drinks Industry Levy will be used for the Healthy Pupils Capital Fund (HPCF). This fund is intended to improve children’s and young people’s physical and mental health by enhancing access to facilities such as dining facilities and sports facilities.

  • Changes to the review of marking, moderation and appeals systems

    Advice February 2017

    Ofqual has announced further changes to the review of marking, moderation and appeals systems.

  • Ofqual recruiting subject experts

    Advice January 2016

    The opportunity to be involved with crucial pieces of work such as the current reform of GCSEs and A and AS levels and the continuing improvement of vocational qualifications is not one to be passed up, with this sort of work frequently seen by experts as excellent CPD.

  • Vocational qualification reform

    Advice June 2014

    Ministers have announced further reforms to vocational qualifications at Key Stage 4 and post-16. These are not new qualifications but set out the requirements for awarding bodies who wish to have qualifications accredited for performance tables in 2017 and 2018.

  • EBacc for all

    Advice June 2015

    The government announced that pupils starting secondary school in Year 7 this September must study the key English Baccalaureate (EBacc) subjects of English, maths, science, history or geography, and a foreign language at GCSE.

  • European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL)

    Advice April 2017

    The Technical Award list has been updated for 2018 and the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) has been withdrawn, which means it will no longer count in performance tables from summer 2018.

  • ‘Coasting’ schools

    Advice June 2015

    ASCL Deputy General Secretary Malcolm Trobe is giving evidence today to the parliamentary committee scrutinising the new Education and Adoption Bill. The Bill strengthens the Education Secretary’s powers to compel schools rated as ‘inadequate’ to become academies.

  • Update on changes to primary and Year 7

    Advice December 2015

    A recent update from the DfE has confirmed the following in terms of proposed changes to the primary and Year 7 assessment and accountability system.

  • Ofqual update – January 2016

    Advice January 2016

    Ofqual has launched an online consultation about changing the review and appeal systems used by exam boards in England for addressing concerns about a candidate’s GCSE, AS or A level marks. We would urge members to respond to the consultation. The deadline for responses is 11 March.

  • School Data Dashboard

    Advice March 2014

    The Ofsted School Data Dashboard was updated on 6 March.

  • Sex and Relationship Education in Schools (England)

    Advice December 2015

    The Government has issued an overview of the legislation and guidance currently in place regarding sex and relationship education (SRE) in schools, and also outlines related reviews and proposals in Parliament. The full report can be viewed here with the key points summarised as follows:

  • Maths premium guide

    Advice July 2018

    The ESFA has updated the advanced maths premium guide on gov.uk.

  • Ofqual survey on perception of qualifications

    February 2016

    Ofqual is conducting its annual survey to gather information about perceptions of GCSEs, A levels, and other qualifications. The insight gained from this enables Ofqual to highlight areas where more could be done to increase public understanding and confidence.

  • STEM careers showcase

    Advice March 2018

    On 24 May 2018, the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst is holding a STEM Careers Showcase specifically for girls aged from 11-15 years.

  • Changes to rules regarding new GCSEs and early entry

    Advice June 2015

    The DfE also announced that only new reformed GCSEs will be included in performance measures as the new GCSEs come on stream. Legacy qualifications will not count.

  • Ofqual update

    Advice July 2016

    Ofqual has published a key guide for schools and colleges on what they can expect from exam boards and what exam boards expect from them.

  • Analyse school performance (ASP) update

    Advice September 2017

    Key Stage 2 data is now available in ASP (the replacement service to RAISEonline) – this is provisional data for 2016/17. CLA data is not currently available, therefore breakdowns of data have not been published; this will be added at the end of October along with KS1 and Phonics data for 2017.

  • New guidance on PE and sport

    Advice December 2016

    ASCL in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust have been looking at how emerging and established multi-academy trusts (MATs) can take a strategic approach to PE and sport across their academies.

  • Level 3 Value Added (L3VA) ready reckoner

    Advice November 2017

    The DfE is carrying out a survey about the L3VA ready reckoner. The L3VA ready reckoner is the tool the DfE provides to help schools and colleges calculate Level 3 value-added measures.

  • JCQ 2015 exam timetable

    Advice June 2014

    JCQ has published the 2015 exam timetable. This is of course the common timetable and each awarding body will be using this document to produce their own examination timetables, populated with the specific details of their own GCSE and GCE subjects.

  • Updated GCSE and A level information

    Advice December 2014

    ASCL has seen information from Ofqual that confirms decisions for subjects to be first taught in 2015.

  • Key Stage 4 and 5 destination measures

    Advice July 2014

    The DfE has published KS4 and KS5 destination measures. The data relates to those students who left KS4 or who took A level or other Level 3 qualifications in 2010/11 and shows their destinations in 2011/12.

  • New DfE guidance on schools causing concern

    Advice January 2018

    The DfE has published new guidance on schools causing concern – guidance for local authorities and Regional Schools Commissioners (RSCs) on how to work with schools to support improvements to educational performance, and on using their intervention powers.

  • Changes to threshold measures

    Advice June 2015

    The government also announced that, as the new GCSEs come on stream, the threshold for a ‘good pass’ will be grade 5.

  • The Pupil Premium Summer Schools Programme 2014

    Advice February 2014

    Secondary schools can now apply for funding for this year’s Summer Schools Programme.

  • Changes to point scores for Progress 8 and Attainment 8 in 2017

    Advice April 2015

    Progress 8 and Attainment 8 will be introduced as new headline measures in 2016, or 2015 for those schools which choose to opt in early.

  • GCSE combined science grading update

    Advice August 2018

    The safety net grade for combined science in 2018 was expected to be 4-3 on the higher tier. During the awarding period, exam boards reported to Ofqual that while they were confident in standards set at 4-4, there were more students than expected getting an unclassified result on the higher tier.

  • Ofqual Guidance: Regulation of GCSEs, AS and A levels

    Advice March 2017

    Ofqual has produced a short video and guide explaining what schools and colleges can expect from exam boards and what exam boards, in turn, expect from schools and colleges.

  • Performance tables, discounting rules and implications for current Year 10 and 11 students

    Advice February 2015

    We have received a number of queries from schools where students will take English language, literature or maths in summer 2016, when they are in Year 10 (or even Year 9).

  • Teach alcohol awareness with Drinkaware for Education

    Advice November 2016

    Drinkaware for Education is a free, curriculum-linked alcohol education programme for teachers of 9-14 year-olds. Its resources are specially designed for use in PSHE classes and are accredited by the PSHE Association’s Quality Mark.

  • National Reference Tests

    Advice June 2015

    Ofqual has released more information regarding National Reference Tests that will take place for the first time in 2017 and that will be used in grade awarding from 2018.

  • GCSE dance and drama

    Advice March 2014

    The DfE has announced that it has reviewed its decision that dance and drama should discount against each other in performance tables.

  • The national curriculum from September 2014

    Advice February 2014

    The new secondary national curriculum (except for Key Stage 4 English, maths and science) is available for schools ready for first teaching to begin in September 2014.

  • Report on Commission on Assessment without Levels – September 2015

    Advice September 2015

    The government’s report of the Commission on Assessment without Levels, set up to provide schools with guidance and support on designing their own assessment polices and approaches after the abolition of National Curriculum levels.

  • Q&As regarding English and maths GCSEs for Year 11 students September 2015

    Advice September 2015

    ASCL Curriculum and Assessment Specialist Suzanne O’Farrell has put together the following questions and answers about English and maths exams for current Year 11 students that members may find useful.

  • Ofqual consultation on setting grade standards

    Advice April 2016

    Ofqual is consulting on its approach for setting grade standards in all subjects from 2018, and on a modification to its previous decisions for English language, English literature and mathematics about how grades 8 and 9 are set.

  • The Arts in Schools: why the arts matter in our education system

    Advice September 2018

    Read the new briefing paper from the Cultural Learning Alliance and ASCL, which sets out why participating in the arts in school matters.

  • Impact: The Science of Learning complementary journal

    Advice February 2018

    A complementary journal from the Chartered College of Teaching, sponsored by the Wellcome Trust, will arrive in every UK school from Monday 26 February.

  • Core maths qualifications

    Advice March 2014

    The government has now set out its plans for the overwhelming majority of young people in England to study mathematics to age 18 by 2020.

  • GCSEs 2017: clarification on resit requirements for English

    Advice August 2017

    Following publication yesterday of this year's GCSE results, it has become apparent there is some confusion regarding the requirement and eligibility for resits for English. ASCL has therefore been in direct contact with Ofqual and the DfE to clarify this matter.

  • Exam timetables for November 2014 and summer 2015 (information from JCQ)

    Advice February 2014

    The finalised GCSE November 2014 examination timetable has been published. This version is the ‘common timetable’ and the awarding bodies will be publishing their own finalised version, via their websites, during the course of this month.

  • GCSE computer science

    Advice April 2018

    Ofqual has published its plans for GCSE computer science for 2020.

  • DfE publishes statement on primary accountability and assessment

    Advice March 2014

    On 27 March, the DfE published a response to the consultation on primary accountability and assessment following the introduction of the new national curriculum. ASCL members will find parts of this document informative as it includes arrangements for the new Key Stage 2 assessments from 2016.

  • Rise Above for Schools - new PHSE resources for schools

    Advice September 2017

    Public Health England (PHE) has launched Rise Above for Schools, providing new PSHE resources to support secondary school teachers when promoting positive health, wellbeing and resilience among young people aged 11 to 16.

  • Year 7 literacy and numeracy catch-up funding

    Advice September 2017

    The DfE has confirmed the arrangements for Year 7 Literacy and numeracy catch up funding for 2017 to 2018.

  • Sign up to the first ever Tomorrow's Engineers Week Big Assembly

    Advice October 2018

    Tomorrow’s Engineers Week takes place from 5-9 November and provides a unique opportunity for schools to drive interest in engineering careers, showing young people the ways in which engineers are on a mission to make the world a better place, find innovative solutions and shape the way we live.

  • The Great Get Together 2018

    Advice May 2018

    From Friday 22 to Sunday 24 June, The Great Get Together will be taking place across the country and schools are being urged to take part with a special assembly on Friday 22 June.

  • Ofqual's National Reference Test (NRT)

    Advice February 2017

    The test is taking place in over 300 secondary schools from 20 February to 3 March. Ofqual welcomes any feedback from our members on the arrangements that were made for the test and its administration in schools on the day of the test.

  • Reality Check: free BBC resources to help young people differentiate between real and fake news

    Advice December 2017

    The BBC is offering as many as a thousand schools mentoring in person, online, or at group events from BBC journalists – including some familiar faces like Huw Edwards, Tina Daheley, Nikki Fox, Kamal Ahmed and Amol Rajan.

  • Year 7 catch-up premium grant for 2016 to 2017

    Advice March 2017

    EFA has published funding allocations and conditions of grant for the Year 7 catch-up premium for the 2016/17 financial year. Academies should have received payment of the premium on 1 March 2017.

  • Analyse school performance (ASP) - December update

    Advice December 2017

    The DfE has asked us to make members aware that KS4 2017 provisional data and destinations data for 2015/16 is now available in ASP.

  • Educating young people about Islamophobia

    Advice May 2018

    Equaliteach, an organisation specialising in equality training, has produced resources, including worksheets, lesson plans and videos, for both primary and secondary teachers to work with young people and educate them about Islamophobia.

  • Timetable to track accreditation

    Advice February 2016

    Ofqual has launched a detailed timetable to enable schools to track the accreditation process and likely timescales for all specifications of reformed GCSEs and A levels for teaching from September 2016.

  • Be Prepared

    Leader article March 2014

    Leora Cruddas suggests some key activities for schools and colleges to undertake ahead of changes to the curriculum, assessment and qualifications.

  • DfE guidance on raising awareness of technical education and apprenticeships

    Advice November 2017

    The DfE has published guidance for schools on letting pupils from Years 8 to 13 hear from a range of technical education and apprenticeship providers.

  • UCAS guide to qualification reforms

    Advice December 2017

    UCAS has produced a useful guide to qualification reforms in the UK. The guide is intended to provide a high-level overview of what is happening throughout the UK for HE providers, teachers and advisers.

  • Amended OCR notice on GCSE Computing

    June 2014

    OCR has taken down a notice posted on its website which stated that controlled assessment tasks for units A452 and A453 for GCSE computing were being withdrawn with immediate effect.

  • New DfE website on GCSE reforms

    Advice June 2018

    The DfE has launched a new website with more details about the further 20 reformed GCSEs. It includes information for students, parents, employers and anyone working in education.

  • Assessment of reformed qualifications

    February 2016

    Ofqual has confirmed the assessment arrangements for reformed GCSEs, AS and A level qualifications for first teaching in 2017.

  • Key Stage 4 performance tables: Early entry guidance

    Advice March 2014

    Following pressure from ASCL that early entry policy should be explained more clearly, the DfE has produced a guidance document which brings together the rules for counting the first exam entry.

  • Stepping stone qualifications

    Advice September 2017

    ESFA has published a list of the stepping stone qualifications that members can use for those students who are not resitting GCSEs but who are taking other English and maths qualifications.

  • Ofqual updates - June 2018

    Advice June 2018

    Information from Ofqual including a letter to schools regarding provisional entry statistics, what to expect with reformed GCSEs, AS and A levels, Applied Generals and Tech levels this summer, and details of reformed qualifications workshops.

  • How GCSE grade boundaries are set by comparable outcomes – March 2015

    March 2015

    GCSE grade boundaries are currently set using a system called comparable outcomes. Ofqual state they are using this system to protect the cohort in a time of rapid change.

  • Free books for your school library

    Advice December 2017

    Free school library or special school library packs are offered as part of the Book Trust’s reading for pleasure programmes that offer children a variety of books to inspire them to read for fun. Sign-ups operate on a first come first serve basis and registration closes on Friday 22 December.

  • Technical Award Update - certification for 2019

    Advice September 2017

    There are a number of technical awards, which have not been approved for league table points, in the latest update of qualifications counting in the 2019 performance tables. The list was released at the beginning of September.

  • Teacher focus groups for reformed GCSEs and A levels

    Advice March 2016

    Ofqual is seeking teachers’ views on how prepared they feel for teaching the new qualifications for GCSE and A levels. To do this they are holding a series of two-hour, twilight seminars around Easter and they are inviting teachers from all types of schools to attend.

  • Update on Ofqual announcements on severe grading of MFL

    Advice August 2017

    ASCL along with ALL (Association for Language Learning), ISMLA (Independent Schools Modern Language Association) and HMC (Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference), wrote to the Chair of Ofqual to raise concerns regarding the severe grading of modern foreign languages (MFL) at GCSE and A level.

  • Special consideration: Minimum requirements for enhanced grades reduced to 25%

    Advice June 2017

    The move to linear qualifications and recent tragic events have led the awarding organisations to review how enhanced grades are awarded for GCE and GCSE qualifications.

  • Digital awareness resource

    Advice June 2018

    HMC and Digital Awareness UK have produced a ground-breaking video and lesson plans on digital addiction which they are sharing with all schools.

  • Flawed but fairer

    Leader article September 2014

    Duncan Baldwin explores the moral issues raised by the new performance measure, Progress 8.

  • Marking or moderation errors

    Advice July 2017

    Ofqual has announced that schools and colleges in England will in future have a second opportunity to challenge GCSE, AS level, A level and project results if they continue to have concerns about marking or moderation errors.

  • IGCSE English

    Advice August 2015

    A number of ASCL members have contacted us regarding disappointing CIE IGCSE English results. We have been in discussion with the board and established the following points which may go some way to explain current issues particularly around grading.

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