Standards & Testing Agency
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Ofqual accredits revised GCSEs

We have accredited 181 GCSE specifications for first teaching in September 2009.


Ofqual, in conjunction with our regulator partners in Wales (DCELLS) and Northern Ireland (CCEA), has today accredited the GCSE specifications for first teaching in September 2009. 181 GCSE specifications, covering 60 subjects were accredited.

The qualifications have been reviewed to ensure that content supports the revised secondary curriculum and assessment continues to stimulate good teaching and learning. The changes include:

  • the introduction of controlled assessment to replace coursework
  • more varied question types

The specifications can be seen on the relevant awarding body websites and details of all the qualifications appear on the National Database of Accredited Qualifications. All qualifications were accredited in line with the GCSE regulatory criteria.

English, English literature, English Language, ICT and mathematics specifications will be accredited in autumn 2009 for first teaching in September 2010.  GCSE science specifications were revised for first teaching in September 2006.

Kathleen Tattersall, Chair of Ofqual, said:

"The GCSE is a well-established qualification, understood and valued by young people, parents and employers.

"These new GCSEs, will ensure that all young people are able to demonstrate their skills, knowledge and understanding when studying for a qualification that meets their individual needs. The inclusion of controlled assessment and more varied question types will ensure that GCSEs continue to stretch and challenge young people.

"As these new qualifications are introduced I want to reassure students, teachers, employers and the public that Ofqual will ensure that the GCSE standard is maintained. It is vital that young people, who work so hard to gain valuable qualifications, get fair, reliable and consistent results."

Notes to editors

1. Ofqual in its interim form is a part of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA). On 2 April 2008 Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, announced that the government intended to legislate to make Ofqual a separate statutory authority reporting directly to Parliament.

2. Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families and John Denham, Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills, announced the appointment of Kathleen Tattersall as Chair of Ofqual on 2 April 2008. Prior to legislation being passed to establish Ofqual on a statutory basis, Kathleen Tattersall is a QCA Board member and Chair of its Ofqual committee.

3. QCA and the regulators of external qualifications in Wales (DCELLS) and Northern Ireland (CCEA) held a web-based public consultation on draft GCSE qualification and subject criteria which ended on 14 September 2007.  The Consultation summary report can be found at

4. Controlled assessment will replace teacher marked coursework in some GCSE subjects in 2009. The regulations for controlled assessment can be found at

5. Details of the revised GCSEs can be found on the National Database of Accredited Qualifications

6. GCSE qualification and subject criteria can be found at

7. Details of the QCA consultation on English, maths and ICT can be found at

8. The 181 specifications excludes short course and double awards.

9. For further information please contact the Ofqual Press Office on 0300 303 3342 or out of hours on 07798 94532.

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