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More than a third of new GCSEs and A levels still not ready – with less than a term to go

More than a third of new GCSE and A-level qualifications that will be taught from September have not yet been approved, with less than a term to go, figures from exams watchdog Ofqual show.

Just 65 per cent of the new specifications have been accredited, leaving 35 per cent – including most French, German and Spanish AS levels and A levels – waiting to be given the go-ahead.

Teachers are warning that the wait for the specifications “gets more serious and more ridiculous as each week goes by”.

Of 70 new AS and A levels, 39 have been accredited, as have 63 of the 86 new GCSE specifications.

Languages appear to be the worst-affected by the delays. French, Spanish and German GCSEs and AS and A levels have each had just one of four papers signed off.

Mary Bousted, general secretary of the ATL teaching union, told TES: “This government and Ofqual appear to be incapable of doing the very job they are required to do. The fact that a third are still not available shows this is a reform process that has been rushed.

“The situation gets more serious and more ridiculous as each week goes by. It’s indicative of complete ignorance at Ofqual about teachers and the life they lead.”

Dr Bousted said teachers used the summer term, which starts in many schools today, to plan and prepare for the coming year.

“The later these specifications arrive, the more impossible it is for teachers to plan and get resources in place,” she said.

Speaking to the Commons education select committee last month, Sally Collier, the government's preferred candidate to be Ofqual’s new chief regulator, said making sure the new qualifications were accredited on time would be her “most immediate challenge”.

In an article for TES in February, Ofqual’s acting director for general qualifications, Julie Swan, said the regulator was “not complacent” about the process of approving the qualifications.

An Ofqual spokesperson said: “We have today accredited exam board specifications in A level French, German and Spanish. There is now at least one accredited specification available in every GCSE and A level subject.”

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