Harris Academies
All Academies in our Federation aim to transform the lives of the students they serve by bringing about rapid improvement in examination results, personal development and aspiration.

Key Stage 4 Curriculum Changes

Changes in English

  • Coursework and Controlled Assessment (previously worth between 40% and 60% of the GCSE) has been removed.
  • This is the first year of the 1-9 grading for English
  • Speaking and Listening is no longer assessed - it used to be worth 20% of the GCSE in English Language.  It is however still a requirement of the course as is recognised as an endorsement.
  • There are now 4 exams instead of 3.  They are longer in duration - up to two and a half hours.
  • The 2 literature exams are now closed book.  This means students will need to learn quotations from 1 Shakespeare from 1 Shakespeare play, 1 19th Century Novel, 1 modern text and 15 poems.
  • The English Language exam will present students with very challenging unseen texts from 19th, 20th and 21st century.
  • Each question has a very specific focus and teachers must be teaching exam skills explicitly.  Many of our students will struggle to respond to these texts and will need finely tuned exam strategy.
  • Exam content will be completed by Christmas.

Changes in Mathematics

  • Greater focus on problem solving with multi-step questions that have no scaffolding.
  • Requirement to provide clear mathematical arguments linking different areas of mathematics.
  • New added content at both Higher and Foundation level.
  • Fewer mathematical formulae provided.
  • Exam board - moved from Edexcel to AQA
  • Higher expectations of student's basic numeracy skills.
  • Intervention needs to take a more sustained approach over the year.  Last minutes intervention is no longer a viable option.

Changes in Science

  • No mixed tiering and no retakes for GCSEs.
  • Greater emphasis on questions that link to new command words, such as plan, plot, choose, design, determine, predict, sketch, which appeared previously in ISAs.
  • No more Controlled Assessments, which did count as 25% of each Science GCSE.
  • Old GCSE assessments are 6x 60 minutes in duration (for 2 Sciences). New assessments are either 6x 105 minutes in duration for Separate Sciences or 6x 75 minutes in duration for the Double Award equivalent.
  • Less that 10% of assessments will be recall.  Assessments will now include skills previously assessed in Controlled Assessments.
  • Content of assessments for the new GCSE will be more demanding, students will have to analyse, interpret and evaluate information.
  • Mathematical skills have increased in importance, in all 3 Sciences.

Changes in Geography

  • The UK has a much greater focus and separate exam questions explicitly based on it.
  • Greater extended writing with move from more basic command words such as 'describe' and 'explain' to 'evaluate' , 'assess', 'to what extent'.
  • No more Controlled Assessment (coursework)
  • Fieldwork - changed from on fieldwork day at Key Stage 4 to at least 2 in contrasting areas and these will be assessed in an exam rather than controlled assessment (as above).
  • More credit for factual knowledge, and the use of this knowledge to deepen understanding.
  • More complex understanding needed od he core geographical processes and interactions that underpin human and physical environments.  Greater emphasis on the application of this understanding.
  • GIS and numeracy skills have increased importance.

Changes in History

  • More credit for chronology and factual knowledge.  Must be accurate.
  • Greater extended writing.
  • No more Controlled Assessment (coursework)
  • Use of sources and evaluation of evidence needs to be linked to the period - can't be formulaic.
  • Interpretations (historians' writing) is now a separate Assessment Objective.

Changes in Modern Foreign Languages

  • Linear GCSE exams at end of course, removal of Controlled Assessments (previously worth 60%) and no mixing of Higher / Foundation Tiers across all 4 papers.
  • Now equal weighting of 4 skills
  1. AO1 Listening 25% (previously 20%)
  2. AO2 Speaking 25% (previously 30%)
  3. AO3 Reading 25% (previously 20%)
  4. AO4 Writing 25% (previously 30%)
    Some exam questions are in the Target Language (TL).
     
  • Greater emphasis on Spontaneous Speaking (describing pictures & role plays now part of GCSE exam).
  • Greater emphasis on Spontaneous Writing (without dictionaries).
  • Understanding and respond to a rich range of authentic material, including (adapted/abridged) literary texts.
  • Reintroduction of translation to and from English.
  • Significant increase in GCSE cohort sizes (one school has gone from 30 to 120 students in 3 years) resulting need to fosters positive attitudes towards the subject and raise the profile of MFL and amongst a broader range of students.