Cultural Learning Alliance

The arts fuel children’s curiosity and critical capacity. They are every child’s birthright. It is vital that children engage with the arts early in their lives.

Arts Council England
Achieving Great Art for Everyone, 2011


GCSE and A Level reform

Published 30 July 2014

Some of the work we have all been doing on Arts GCSEs and A Levels came to fruition in July. Art & Design, Dance and Music GCSE, and Dance and Music AS and A Level subject content and assessment went out to public consultation.

Drama subject content has not been published, however we have been told this will follow in September.  

The new Art & Design, Dance, Drama and Music GCSEs will be taught from September 2016 with the first exams in 2018.

Art & Design AS and A Level has been consulted on and the new qualifications are due to be taught from September 2015. Art & Design A Levels are 100% non-exam assessment.


Subject content

The Department for Education launched their consultation on GCSE and A Level Art & Design, Dance and Music subject content requirements on the 16 July. The documents set out the minimum knowledge, skills and understanding required for GCSE and A Level qualifications. The awarding organisations use the subject content to create the actual qualification specifications.

The subject content consultation closes on the 17 September and you can download the documents and respond here.



On the 15 July Ofqual launched their consultation on the design, assessment arrangements and assessment objectives of the new qualifications in GCSE Art & Design, Dance and Music and AS and A Level Dance and Music. 

The Ofqual consultation includes proposals on the weighting of non-exam assessment, which for Dance and Music includes a reduction. Art & Design remains 100% non-exam assessment.

The Ofqual consultation closes on the 22 September. Download the consultation documents and respond here.

Ofqual are offering to run consultation sessions around the country on specific subjects to allow for detailed discussion on the proposals which directly impact on a specific subject. They will run the sessions based on demand and ask for people to fill in this online form by the 1 August to indicate their preferences.


The CLA will of course be responding to both consultations and will post our response online for colleagues to use when writing their own responses. Please do get in touch with any comments or information.




If I understand these 'reforms' correctly, there's a move to drop creative & performing arts disciplines from the GSCE 'brand' in favour of disciplines that offer 'rigour'. Rigour mortis more like. The broad and balanced curriculum is a right. It doesn't seem to have occurred to the powers that be that an academic curriculum can't exist without a vocational curriculum feeding it. No design, music and plays being created = nothing to talk about.
Mark Featherstone-Witty 31 July 2014
I just find it eternally frustrating that the DFE slip out important consultations and announcements during the teacher summer holiday period. It's been a tactic since 2010 and is so obvious.
Susan M Coles 31 July 2014
I agree with Susan M Coles...I find this on the Cultural Alliance site the day before some comments are due! Performing arts are the backbone of our society...with more free time, more choices, more need to be is really the time for all the arts for a well-rounded future society!
June Trask 31 July 2014

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