Education Secretary Michael Gove announced today that a number of arts-based subjects are to be reformed as rigorous, demanding and world-class new GCSEs and A levels for first teaching from September 2016.
At GCSE level, they are art and design, music, drama, and dance.
Five other subjects – citizenship, computer science, design and technology, PE, and religious studies – will also be reformed on this timetable.
The announcement means students will be able to access high-quality, rigorous GCSEs in the arts at the same time as reformed GCSEs in languages, history, sciences and geography. Only GCSEs in English and maths will be reformed more quickly (for first teaching from September 2015).
New GCSEs in the 9 subjects announced today will be re-designed to the same high standards as new GCSEs in the EBacc subjects, content for which is being published later today. The Department for Education has already announced content for rigorous new GCSEs in English and maths, which will be available a year earlier, from September 2015.
[pullquote]These 9 GCSEs can be included within the new secondary accountability measure[/pullquote]These 9 GCSEs can be included within the new secondary accountability measure, which is based on a pupil’s progress in 8 subjects – English and maths; 3 EBacc subjects; and 3 other subjects (which can be EBacc subjects, but which can also be these new GCSEs, or high-quality vocational qualifications). The increase in the number of subjects that count in performance tables (from 5 to 8) will encourage more schools to ensure more students do well in the arts.
At A level, music, drama, and dance, as well as design and technology, PE, and religious studies will be reformed. These new A levels will ensure that students have the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in demanding undergraduate courses. They will be taught for the first time in September 2016, alongside new A levels in maths, further maths, languages and geography.
The content of the more demanding content for the nine GCSE subjects and 6 A level subjects will be developed by exam boards drawing on the advice of subject experts such as Dyson, Arts Council England, the Design and Technology Association, the Incorporated Society of Musicians, Music Education Council, British Computer Society and the Religious Education Council. A level content will also be based on the advice of respective subject experts from universities.