GCSE Reform

New GCSEs are being introduced by the government across all secondary schools in England. These will be sat for the first time in the summer of 2017. The new GCSEs will be graded on a scale of 1-9: grade 1 being the lowest, grade 9 being the highest.

Legacy GCSEs and New GCSEs

New GCSEs will be more demanding both in terms of their content and the way they are assessed.

The new system does not mirror the old letter grade system of the legacy GCSEs. However a ‘good pass’ at grade 5 or above is in line with the top of the old C grade and above. The table shows, broadly speaking, how new GCSE grades will be awarded compared to legacy GCSE grades.

This new system is being phased in starting with English and Maths, followed by most other subjects in the summer of 2018. From September 2016:

  • Year 11 will sit new GCSEs in English and Maths and legacy GCSEs in all their other subjects;
  • Year 10 will be sitting new GCSEs in the vast majority of subjects;
  • finally all other year groups will be sitting new GCSEs in every subject.

Where students are studying towards legacy GCSEs, we will be reporting to parents using the old G – A* grades. Subjects studying new GCSEs will be reported using 1 – 9 grades.

Life After Levels

The government has made the decision to remove the use of National Curriculum levels in primary and Secondary Schools throughout England and Wales. Schools have been given the freedom to develop their own systems of assessment to use with students as they see fit.

At Kingsway Park High School, all students in Years 7 – 10 will be assessed using new GCSE grades from 1 – 9. We believe that it is very important that teachers, parents and the students themselves view progress throughout secondary school as a journey over five years. Small steps every term, continually building knowledge and developing skills is the key to GCSE success. Students are not expected to move up the scale too quickly from their individual starting points. It is essential that they develop competency and confidence; progress over time should be steady and secure.

For some of our younger students, being assessed on a 1 – 9 scale does create an element of challenge. The criteria sets a high standard, and a small number of students in Years 7 and 8 may not be working at a GCSE grade 1. To support these students, we have added a ‘breakthrough’ grade to the scale. This will allow us to accurately measure the progress of all students.

The benefits of this system are:

  • it encourages all students to stretch themselves;
  • the B – 9 scale is linked to the new GCSE grades; students will be able to see where their current learning fits into the overall journey towards their success at GCSE;
  • it is easier for teachers, students and parents to monitor progress over time. As students are always measured against the same criteria, we can clearly see the progress each individual is making across all of their subjects;
  • identifying students who require greater challenge, or who need more support, will be easy.

Useful Links




Kingsway Park High School

Turf Hill Road
OL16 4XA