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DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR ANNOUNCEMENT- GCSE AND A LEVEL REFORM

26th October 2015

GCSEs and A levels are being reformed in England from 2015 to 2017. Exam boards are producing new subject specifications which Ofqual[1] review to make sure they are of the right standard. The changes being made to GCSEs will mean they are more engaging and worthwhile to teach and to study, and that they compare well with similar qualifications internationally, and the changes at A level will ensure they remain a highly respected qualification both domestically and internationally. 

New A levels and GCSEs will be taught in schools in England from September 2015 with further subjects introduced over the following two years. 

For more info about the detail of the reform click here.


What impact does this have on fencing?

The new PE GCSE and A Level will both be introduced in September 2016, when fencing will unfortunately no longer be on the approved activity list – the respective lists can be found using the web links below:

GCSE activity list

A Level activity list

The inclusion or non-inclusion of sports does not represent a view on the legitimacy or value of the activity. Furthermore, British Fencing was not consulted nor involved in these decisions.

The list has been revised to reflect Ofqual’s principles that non-exam assessment should ensure sound assessment practice, be manageable, and ensure a qualification is not easily distorted. To meet these principles, awarding organisations developed a set of key considerations which were applied to each activity in order to ensure parity and rigour. These requirements were considered collectively, rather than in isolation, for each activity, and can be found using the web links above.

British Fencing, along with many other National Governing Bodies (NGBs) is aware that a number of sports have been removed from the list and this has caused a degree of consternation across NGBs. 

British Fencing will be making every effort to get fencing back on the list when the Department of Education undertake their next phase of consultation (the date is yet to be announced and we envisage will not be for some time). 

In the meantime, British Fencing is fully aware that there is a wider issue - one that we are addressing now with various representative bodies to equip the education sector with the right skills and knowledge for the benefit of our sport. 

We have lots of support from members, partners and national organisations and are aware that this decision by Ofqual and the Department for Education is very disappointing for fencing.

Thank you to everyone for getting in touch on the matter. We will provide further information when available. 

Gabby Williams, Development Director.


[1] The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) regulate GCSEs, AS and
A levels in England, and a broad range of other qualifications in England and Northern Ireland. Other regulators exist for the devolved nations of the UK.

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