Easter Revision courses run by members of the Council for Independent Education are reporting an increase in demand for GCSE courses this year. This is being attributed to the recent reforms of the GCSE examinations, designed to contain tougher topics than previously. The new exams combine new content, new assessment and a new grading system.
James Barton, Director of Easter Revision Courses at MPW College, London, explains the reasons: “Parents are a lot more clued-up on the reforms now and their questions are much more targeted. GCSE demand is buoyant because there is continuing nervousness about the new exam specifications. Secondly, as schools get ever stricter on admissions into their sixth forms, parents are using GCSE revision courses in large numbers to try and ensure their child’s place for A-levels at their chosen school. No one wants to be the wrong side of the line on results day. In addition, universities used to look at AS-level grades as a marker of achievement; it is now evident that they rely more on GCSE grades when assessing applicants’ capabilities. Students and parents are aware of this, so there is more emphasis on ensuring top GCSE results.”
“GCSE demand is buoyant because there is continuing nervousness about the new exam specifications.”
This trend is confirmed by Dan Roberts, Director of Marketing at Cherwell College, Oxford. He says: “In monitoring our course enquiries, I have noticed a greater interest for our GCSE courses. This includes our Google Ads responses where the majority of search terms are for GCSE revision.”
The new phase of linear, non-modular A-levels, giving added importance to the final exam, has helped to maintain interest in revision courses for these syllabuses, according to feedback from the college providers. Parents and students are much better informed about the two-year reformed exams, which were held for the first time last summer. However, early booking trends in the CIFE colleges indicate that demand for AS-level revision continues to decline. Barton says: “There is now a great deal of uncertainty around the AS-level reformed market. Since its decoupling from the A-Level ,people are asking ‘Why is an AS-level revision course necessary?’ So courses are being offered as part of a two-year A-level revision plan as much as for the now devalued AS-level exam itself.”
He also makes the general point that the stigma about taking a revision course has vanished: “There is nothing negative about taking a Easter Revision course nowadays. It is regarded as extremely useful, not only as a forensic revision tool focusing on the specifics of the new reformed syllabuses, but also as a timely confidence boost.”
For more information on Easter Revision courses run by CIFE colleges, click here.