GCSE shake-up means fewer subjects to take

A revolutionary shake-up of the secondary school timetable will mean pupils spend three years, instead of the current two, studying for GCSEs in crucial subjects such as maths and English.

Many schools are expected to begin GCSE studies when pupils are 13, in response to government education reforms that have made exams harder.

The switch is most likely to be made in maths, where the new GCSE will require more in-depth knowledge of the subject, particularly in algebra and geometry. The new exam, to be set for the first time in the summer of 2017, is considered so demanding that an existing additional maths exam has been scrapped because its topics will be covered in the new GCSE.

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