What does GCSE stand for in Education

What Does GCSE Stand for in Education UK? (Explained)

Studying at school, college or distance learning means you’re looking to build knowledge, understanding and gain a qualification that’s accepted for further education or by employers. Like A level’s GCSE’s are nationally known and accepted by all industry employers and help you gain access to work based training and jobs.

As a recognised qualification, school national curriculum GCSE stands for General Certificate in Education studied in schools by 14-16 year olds (Year 10-11) in England, N Ireland, Wales and by adults at college or online.

What are GCSE’s?

Nationally awarded & recognised GCSE is a highly valuable qualification that’s studied in UK from England, N Ireland & Wales, although not in Scotland. You can study in excess of 60 GCSE’s both vocational or subject, although individual schools don’t offer all courses in the same academic year.

Students study theory and conduct practical work as GCSE courses involve both in the vast amount of courses. You can complete GCSE’s at school, sixth form college or attend a further education college full or part time as an adult over 1-2 years or certain subjects by online study with exams in January or May/June each year.

GCSE’s are very important to advance to study for A level or access other educational courses. Indeed, good GCSE’s grades are highly desired by employers in all industries, gain acceptance on apprenticeships and work based training awards, such as training as a school teaching assistant.

School students at 14-16 years old study core subjects and choose GCSE courses as options in years 10 & 11. Students take 10-12 GCSE examinations where they’ve studied while other students choose a mix of GCSE and other courses, such as vocational qualifications then sit exams at 16 years old.

IGCSE international qualification

IGCSE (International General Certificate in Education) is the overseas version offered by Edexcel and Cambridge Examinations in British international curriculum schools outside the UK in countries around the world.

History of GCSE’s qualification in UK

Gcses England

1998 saw the introduction of GCSE qualifications to replace O’ levels and CSE’s where all grades were awarded with letters from A-U, with A being the highest award grade.

England Education Department in 2010 changed the grade structure of GCSE’s to number grades system from 9 to 1 with 9 representing the highest grade award.

GCSE subjects

School students 14-16 years old require studying core & foundation GCSE subjects and can choose certain options.

School core subjects & foundation subjects

Core SubjectsFoundation Subjects
EnglishComputing
MathematicsCitizenship
Sciences: Physics, chemistry, BiologyPhysical education

Additional GCSE subjects offered

HistoryGeographyMusicStatistics
PsychologyAncient HistorySociologyBusiness studies
Art & designReligious studiesEconomicsAccounting
Modern foreign languagesPhysical educationDesign and technologyMedia Studies
Food preparation & nutritionEngineeringFilm studiesDrama & dance
ElectronicsGeologyAstronomyClassical civilisation

How are GCSE courses assessed?

Students are assessed in both written examinations, continues or practical assessment depending on the subject taken. You can find yourself completing:

  • Artwork
  • Lab experiments
  • Fieldwork
  • Practical assessment, such as in physical education
  • Individual or group project

3 UK GCSE examination boards

Examination supervision boards:

  • The Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) Northern Ireland.
  • Qualifications Wales in Wales.
  • The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) England.
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