Education & Family

GCSEs and A-level subjects culled by Ofqual

Exam candidate Image copyright PA
Image caption The first new GCSEs and A-levels will be taught in schools next autumn

The often-maligned subject, media studies, has survived a cull of A-level subjects as England's qualifications watchdog moves to toughen examinations.

Ofqual is scrapping home economics, citizenship studies and communication and culture A-levels.

GCSEs in catering, digital communications, expressive arts and home economics are also being axed.

Ofqual said it based its decisions on whether the subjects "were of an appropriate level of academic demand".

A number of educationalists have expressed dismay at the rise of media studies as an academic subject.

'Future developments'

When he was a Labour education minister, David Blunkett, publicly regretted that too many youngsters were taking "narrow" courses like media studies, instead of studying, what he saw as, broader, more intellectually rewarding courses such as history.

The announcement on future exam subjects comes amid a shake-up of examinations, with new strengthened GCSEs in maths, English and English literature due to be taught first in schools this coming September.

A range of core A and AS-levels in English, maths, the sciences and some humanities subjects are also due to be introduced in the autumn.

All GCSEs and A-levels are based on core content for each subject. That core content is determined by the Department for Education following public consultation.

When deciding which subjects to keep, Ofqual asked examination boards to demonstrate that they would be meeting this core content for each subject.

'Doubling up'

If they could not persuade Ofqual they could do this, then the subject would not be continued at present.

Ofqual also sought to reduce the doubling up of subjects and content in qualifications.

For example, as home economics is dropped, a new GCSE in cooking and nutrition is due to be taught in schools from 2016.

Chief exams regulator Glenys Stacey said: "It is now for the Department for Education to consider whether content can be developed for those subjects that we think could meet our principles and, in turn, for exam boards to decide whether to submit specifications to us for accreditation.

"Importantly, we are not ruling out the future development of any subject."

AS and A-levels being scrapped: Anthropology, applied arts and design, applied business, applied information and communication technology, applied science, citizenships, communications, communications and culture, economics and culture, home economics, human biology, humanities.

GCSE subjects being scrapped: Additional and further additional science, additional applied science, applied business, applied science, business and communication systems, business studies and economics, catering, digital communications, environmental science, expressive arts, home economics - food and nutrition.

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