GCSE and GCE Design and Technology Examination Reform Update

Published 7th December 2015

The D&T Association is doing its best to keep the D&T community updated and informed about the rolling out of the new examinations for the subject at GCSE and GCE A level. This process is being administered by DfE and Ofqual and some of their timings have already changed and may change again in the future. This website remains the best place to visit to keep up to date.

However, following conversations this week with DfE and Ofqual, we can now confirm that the time line leading up to first teaching of the new specifications in September 2017 has been modified. Although there is no change to the first teaching and first examination dates, the process leading up to the final specifications being published and available in schools has been put back several weeks from the date we had previously been given.

GCSE update

We are now anticipating the following schedule:

Week beginning: 14th December 2015: publication and start of a 4 week consultation on the Detailed subject level conditions and guidance, including guidance on assessment objectives. This will be published on Ofqual’s website. Consultation closes 18th January 2016. This document is intended to provide more detailed guidance to be used by Awarding Organisations (AOs) when developing their assessment processes and by Ofqual when interrogating/approving them.

Week beginning 18th May 2016: Draft specifications to be published byindividual AOs on their respective websites.  We had hoped that this would have been during the spring term with final versions published around Easter 2016.  This later publication date means that final specifications are now, at the earliest, only going to be available in schools toward the latter part of the summer term.  Ofqual allow 40 days between submission of draft specifications and their response to AOs. How much if any additional work needs completing at this stage will determine the final publication date.

We are taking this delay to be a consequence of the challenge AOs may be experiencing in developing their proposals.  The Association pointed out to DfE at the very beginning of the review process that this overhaul would not be a simple task and would take considerable time to complete satisfactorily.  Although it was disappointing that the review of D&T was extended for a further year, with the first teaching date being put back from 2016, we believe that this was a good decision which allowed sufficient discussion to take place and the views of a wide variety of stakeholders to be sought.  The downside is that new D&T GCSE will be one of the last subjects to be introduced; consequently it will be associated with the confusion that will exist when two different examination grade reporting systems are run concurrently for two years. We are however disappointed that the process is continuing at this slow pace, as we are having to reschedule GCSE CPD sessions we had originally planned for the first half of the summer term. 

The D&T Association is developing a bank of teaching resources to support the new GCSEs and which will be available in the autumn term via regional one day courses. We also hope to run shorter sessions to help schools with the task of deciding which of the specifications to adopt in their schools as soon as specifications are available.

A level update:

Week beginning 14th December 2015: Publication of the final GCE subject content and assessment objectives. This version will take account of the feedback provided following the consultation completed in the summer and further work by the expert drafters.

Draft specifications are likely to follow the same time line as GCSE so we can expect to see these in May 2016 with final specifications published at the earliest toward the end of the summer term.

Back to News