DfE proposes for additional GCSE support materials
Students set to sit their GCSE exams in 2024 could receive additional support materials, as the Department for Education (DfE) asks Ofqual to make arrangements to continue providing formulae and equation sheets for one more year.
Following a consultation, the proposal would see students provided with enhanced formulae and equation sheets to support them in mathematics, physics, and combined science GCSEs, as was the case for 2023 exams. This means students will not have to memorise formulae, as they need to in a normal year.
These proposed arrangements recognise the disruption this cohort of students experienced during their secondary education due to national school closures during the pandemic while these pupils were in year 7 and 8.
Ofqual launched a consultation on Thursday 16 November to get insight from the sector on introducing this expectation, and it will run for two weeks, ending on 30 November 2023 at 11:45pm.
Education Secretary, Gillian Keegan said: “Young people taking GCSEs next year will be the last who experienced two years of national closures during secondary school and it’s right that we recognise that with some additional support.
“GCSEs are young people’s passport to their next stage of education and we must ensure students have the opportunity to show what they know and can do, and ultimately meet their potential.”
An Ofqual spokesperson said: “In response to the Department for Education’s announcement that students taking exams in 2024 will not need to memorise the usual formulae and equations for GCSE maths, physics and combined science, Ofqual is now seeking views on the use of formulae and equation sheets for these exams in 2024.
“Students, teachers, school and college leaders, unions, exams officers, exam boards, employers and further education institutions are encouraged to take part in the consultation.”
2024 will be the final year where enhanced formulae and equation sheets will be available, returning to normal exam arrangements in 2025.
The department said its decision on arrangements for 2025 reflect that those pupils will have had the opportunity to benefit from more time in secondary school with support from teachers and interventions such as the National Tutoring Programme, compared to students from the previous two cohorts.
In September, Ofqual confirmed its two-year transition to pre-pandemic grading is now complete. Normal grading arrangements will continue for GCSEs, AS, A levels and Vocational and Technical Qualifications (such as Pearson’s BTEC Nationals and OCR’s Cambridge Technicals) in 2024.