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Suspending the accreditation requirement for GCSE Computer Science

We have decided to suspend the accreditation requirement for GCSE qualifications in Computer Science until 31 December 2019.


Revision to the accreditation requirement




Section 138 of the Apprenticeships, Skills Children and Learning Act 2009 (‘the Act’) allows Ofqual to impose an accreditation requirement on specified qualifications, or descriptions of qualifications.

If we decide to impose an accreditation requirement on a qualification, then we must formally accredit (approve) it before it can be awarded. We use our Accreditation Criterion to decide whether or not to accredit a qualification.

Currently, all GCSEs, AS and A levels are subject to an accreditation requirement, as are all Technical Qualifications.

Changes to GCSEs in computer science

In response to evidence about potential malpractice in GCSE computer science, we introduced interim assessment arrangements in January 2018. These interim arrangements will remain in place for students taking their exams in 2019, 2020 and 2021. The subject content of this qualification has not changed.

In January 2019, following further consultation, we decided to introduce longer-term changes to assessments in GCSE computer science, which will apply to students taking exams in or after 2022.

Exam boards will now need to make changes to their GCSEs in computer science before students take exams in 2022. The revised qualifications will be taught from September 2020, and schools, colleges and teachers will need revised specifications available ahead of that date so that they can prepare for teaching.

To allow exam boards to make their revised qualifications available as quickly as possible, we have decided that we will not require them to go through a formal accreditation process. Instead, we will closely monitor the development of the new GCSEs in computer science to ensure they meet our requirements.

We have therefore decided to use our powers under section 138(4) of the Act to vary our Accreditation Requirement so that it does not apply to GCSEs in Computer Science until 1 January 2020.

The attached document sets out this decision formally.

Published 18 February 2019

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