‘We’re Mystic Meg’: headteachers left in the dark over new exams

The TES is reporting that just three of 156 new GCSEs, AS- and A-levels that schools will be expected to teach from next year have had any official approval from exams regulator Ofqual.

Headteachers say they needed to see approved specifications and sample assessment materials a full year before teaching begins in September 2016. They warn that the delay in preparing for the biggest year of exam reform for decades is wasting scarce public funds and forcing them to act like “Mystic Meg” when explaining the changes to pupils and parents.

The slow progress is despite Ofqual pledging last December that new specifications for all the exams to be taught from 2016 would be available in “autumn 2015”. Exam boards have published draft versions, but Ofqual rejected most of them.

This week, Ofqual chief executive Glenys Stacey admitted: “It is fair to say that accreditation of this year’s exam board specifications has been slower than we had hoped.” She acknowledged that the list of approved qualifications “makes for scant reading”.

The three qualifications with some accreditation – Latin GCSE, and music A- and AS-levels – each have approved specifications from only one out of a potential four exam boards. That leaves 153 specifications across 21 subjects without accreditation.

Speaking to Ms Stacey at an exam reform conference in London, one deputy head, who asked not to be named, said: “We are basically Mystic Meg…trying to give answers to students and parents when we don’t even know ourselves.”

See more in the 16th October edition of TES

More at: ‘We’re Mystic Meg’: headteachers left in the dark over new exams


You can see the ‘live’ list of accredited exams from Ofqual at: New GCSEs, AS levels and A levels accredited to be taught from September 2016


In reality, what issues is this lateness in confirming specifications and sample assessment materials having on you and what consequences might it have?

Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…


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  1. Gove has behaved like the sorcerer’s apprentice – frantically waving his broom and causing chaos.  How are teachers supposed to prepare to teach exams from next September if they haven’t even been accredited?

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