GCSE Science specifications are released

Here are the draft specifications for GCSE Science from each of the exam boards – they are due to be ratified by Ofqual before end of the summer holidays. Officially for first teaching in September 2016, but some schools run a 3 year GCSE so they will be teaching this from September 2015.
Please could you comment below if your school is doing this – we could do with getting heads together over the summer to formulate an appropriate scheme of work – see below.

This table has links to the relevant webpages (click on each exam board) as well as direct links to the specification as PDFs.

AQA EdExcel Eduqas OCR Gateway OCR C21
Combined Science

Combined Science
Combined Science Combined Science Combined Science Combined Science
Biology Biology Biology Biology Biology
Chemistry Chemistry Chemistry Chemistry Chemistry
Physics Physics Physics Physics Physics

keep-calm-it-s-only-gcse-science-5I will study the physics specifications in more detail and report back, but here’s a comment: the content for these GCSEs has changed greatly. There is little resemblance to the topic structure that existed before.

They all cover new subject criteria as defined in the DfE GCSE Subject Content for combined and single science but aside from the order it’s more or less the same content as the DfE document on first look.

My initial advice would be to study the sample assessments and make a decision on exam board based on accessibility of assessment as the content is all but identical.





  • Comparison of Proposed Exam structure
  • Identification of key descriminators between each course
  • Practical requirements.


Please comment below with your thoughts and advice – I will collate any pertinent tweets.

10 Responses to GCSE Science specifications are released

  1. Helen Rogerson says:

    I was told in January at the ASE conference (in a NAIGS session – definitely go to them) that the GCSE specs would be word for word the same at the DfE subject content documents. Although the exam boards would do their best within that constraint. I had hoped for a little extra, filling gaps or extending. So the decision for which board will likely come down to cost of resources, organisation of those resources and the assessment scheme, the length, quantity and content of exams and the admin burden of the practical endorsement.

    • Thank goodness it’s not word for word eh? Gravity constant! The only freedom the exam boards appear to have had is to set up how the exams will be structured. And AQA have attempted a context based amalgamation of the 3 sciences for their combined offering.

  2. Andrew Raistrick says:

    We do a 3 yr KS3, were looking at OCR gateway. Would be more than happy to collaborate with colleagues on SoW.


    • Hi Andrew, Thanks, I’m going to try and set something up to get this to happen. Did you mean KS3 or 4 – i.e. are you teaching the new OCR Gateway from this September?

      • Andrew Raistrick says:

        Sorry my mind is frazzled at the end I term! 3 year KS4 so need to start something with year 9 in September 2015

  3. Sarah Longshaw says:

    We also plan to start teaching OCR Gateway in September – and have a 3 year KS4
    would be interested in sharing ideas too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: