GCSE Reform 2015 - Changes to Maths & English

December 7, 2015

GCSE Reform 2015: Changes to Maths & English

What are the changes to GCSE Maths & English in the GCSE reforms?

There has been a few changes made to the GCSE exams for 2016 as you probably already know. There has been changes made to the grading system, subjects, there will be no coursework and the Maths and English GCSEs have been reformed.  This blog explains the subject changes and why the reform happened.


Why is the GCSE being reformed?

The main reason behind these reforms is to improve the GCSEs on a worldwide level. The Government of the UK want to create results coming out of schools that both employers and universities can trust. They hope that this will put the UK in line with the other top-performing countries in education for example: Finland and Japan.

In order for the students to succeed the tutors need to be prepared and be willing to help them whenever they need it.

There will be more changes made to other subjects in 2016, for example Art and Design, Biology, Geography and History.


New Grading system –GCSE Reform:

  • From September 2015 the grading system of the GCSEs will change. The reformed GCSEs will use numbers from 1 to 9 to grade the students. 9 being the top and 1 being the bottom.
  • A grade of 5 on this new scale will be considered a top grade pass.  Which is the same as a B or C in the current grading system.
  • It has been said that this new system will make it more difficult for the students to reach the top grades, however it will allow for a more distinct differentiation between students and also it will help to distinguish the new GCSE from previous ones.
  • The new system will try to fairly set the students apart. Showing and contrasting clearly the students who are getting the top and middle grades.




  • In 2015 the English GCSE will be split into “English Language” or “English Literature”. Students can decide to study just English Language or both of these subjects.
  • The English Language assessment is straightforward and simple. The course allows clear progression to A-Level. There is an equal emphasis on both fiction and non-fiction texts which improves creativity.
  • The English Literature encourages students to explore and engage with a variety of major genres. The aim is to build students confidence in developing a new and creative response to texts that is supported by relevant proof.
  • If a student chooses to study English Literature they will have to study a Shakespeare play along with a Victorian novel and a modern fiction. They will also have to study a minimum of 15 poems.
  • The English Language GCSE will encourage students to read more and there will be a huge focus on spelling, punctuation and grammar with 20% of the marks allocated to this.
  • The students will be able to re-sit English Language in November, no resit will be available for English Literature.



  • The Maths GCSE will now be a Linear GCSE with one assessment at the end of the two year course in June. The students will not take exams at different stages over the course of the two year period. The exams will now be taken at the end of the whole course.
  • The assessment will be predominantly by external exam and there will be an option to re-sit in November. There will be no higher or lower tear papers, all students will sit the same exam.
  • The reformed GSCE will offer 100 marks per paper, which means there is more availability of marks going for the method, so the students will be awarded more marks for steps taken to get to an answer.
  • When relevant the formula needed will be provided directly in the question, as opposed to the previous methods where all the formula were on the front of the paper and students had to identify the correct formula to use.

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