8 May 2020

New ISEB Specifications
Future Development of 13+ CE

Having completed the ISEB Curriculum Review, in which many of you generously participated, we are pleased to announce that the new specifications and specimen papers for 13+ CE are now ready for consultation and are available here.

These new specifications are based on the following core aims:

That pupils who have pursued a course of study based on CE specifications and assessments will:

  • be equipped not only for the next stage of their education but for life-long learning based on a secure foundation of subject knowledge, concepts and skills and the ability to apply what they know to new situations;
  • be enthusiastic learners who are open to new ideas and experiences, curious, questioning and keen to experiment;
  • enjoy reading and be able to communicate clearly orally and in writing;
  • have the confidence to think, weigh up evidence and make up their own minds, and the resilience to learn from their mistakes;
  • have the skills to work independently and collaboratively;
  • understand how subjects connect with each other;
  • demonstrate cultural and environmental awareness and empathy, developing an understanding of their own place in the world.

The extent to which each subject will contribute to each of these aims will vary, but all are influenced by the spirit of ‘less is more’, thus ensuring that knowledge is not prized of itself, but for how it can help pupils progress, develop their understanding and apply what they learn to new situations. Opportunities for rote-learning of material have therefore been minimised.

Building on the successful review last year, we will shortly be inviting comments from teachers in prep schools intending to teach to the specifications, and from senior schools with views about the foundations required for further study in Year 9. We also hope to hear from other interested parties, and will welcome views from anyone engaged in teaching Years 7 and 8, including in overseas schools and those outside the patron associations (GSA, HMC and IAPS). Details of how to contribute to the consultation will be published shortly.

Galore Park and Hodder Education are developing print and digital textbooks and revision material to support the new specifications and new examinations. ISEB has been working with Galore Park and Hodder Education for many years and we are proud to endorse their Common Entrance resources. This means that each resource has been edited and approved by a member of the ISEB Editorial Endorsement Committee for the relevant subject, giving assurance that each resource is closely aligned to ISEB specifications.

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Please note that these specifications are for first teaching from September 2021, in readiness for first examinations in 2022-2023 (first summer examination 2023).