Clarifying the position of food within the GCSE Review

Published 3rd December 2015

As was reported here last week in our news pages, the DfE announced on the 19thJanuary that it has changed the proposed date for first teaching of the new Design and Technology GCSE examination courses from September 2016.  This delay is to allow further time for the development - firstly of the Subject Content and also the revised Assessment Objectives.  First teaching will now be from September 2017 with first examination in summer 2019. The announcement can be viewed here.

We can now add that the plan to introduce the new food GCSE for first teaching in 2016 has not changed. The final content will be published by the end of this month, as part of an announcement covering other aspects of the reform.  DfE are working with Ofqual and Awarding Organisations to ensure that there is no overlap with existing GCSEs.  The decision with respect to any change of title from Cooking and Nutrition that was proposed as part of the consultation will also be announced at the same time.

In advance of the DfE’s announcement this information has now been reported elsewhere. To ensure there is no confusion,  we can confirm the schedule for introduction and final examining of current food related GCSEs.  These will be examined for the last time in 2017. Following the introduction of the new Food GCSE, they will cease to be available so it will not be possible to run these as alternatives or in parallel with the new GCSE.

This means that in terms of KS3 students making GCSE option choices, this is the last time the current courses can be offered will be for a 2015 start.

The consultation events run by the D&T Association during autumn 2014 were attended by a large number of food technology teachers, the vast majority of which expressed concern over the proposed change in title and subject content. These views were passed on to DfE and Ofqual through the Association’s formal responses and we are eager to see if changes have been made.  We hope that the new specifications that Awarding Organisations are currently writing for publication and in school for September 2015, will still accommodate sufficient opportunity for students to develop skills, knowledge and understanding  through food product development,  even if the overall emphasis of the examination courses is changed.

In summary, this means that for D&T departments that offer a range of D&T GCSE courses, new courses to replace the existing suite will be phased in over 2 years between 2016 -17 rather than introduced at the same time.

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