February 2018
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Designing your new GCSE history course for examination in 2018

As the leading exam board have now had their new GCSE history courses accredited, our thoughts now need to turn to planning the new course. I have been somewhat dismayed by the tone of some of the boards’ statements about their new courses. It seems that the market imperative  drives all that they say. Listening [...]

New GCSE OCR Explaining the Modern World. An acquired taste? or Hobson’s choice


Now that the new GCSE history (9-1) specifications have nearly all been accredited, it is time to start making some hard choices. For teachers of the popular legacy OCR Modern World Course, the choices will be that bit tougher. It’s the thematic component that worries me most. There are three options. You can either do [...]

History GCSE results 2015

This year’s results show a rise in A*-C from 68.1 % last year to 69.1% this, but the proportion gaining A* fell.  from 10% to 9.6%. The gap between the boys’ performance at A* (7%) and girl s’ 12% had widened. Oddly the number of entries fell by 9,000.

Somehow the government are claiming that poorer [...]

New GCSE history sample assessment material

As we await OFQUAL’s validation of the draft specifications, I thought I’d drill into the sample assessment materials to see whether a new style of exam questions was emerging. My first sample took me to SHP OCR B and the topic called Norman conequest 1065-1087. To my horror I found one of the two questions [...]

More YO! Sushi history GCSE course from WJEC for 2016 ?

I have been asked to conclude my round-up of new GCSE offerings from 2016 by evaluating the Welsh exam board’s draft specification. Given that we will know the fate of each of them, fairly soon, I will not go into detail other than to point out the obvious issues. The chief of these seems to [...]

Draft AQA proposals for new GCSE history from 2016

Some thoughts on the new AQA GCSE history proposal for first teaching in 2016.
Of all the new specifications this is the only one which landed on the front page of the national newspapers. This was largely to do with one of the options entitle conflict and tension 1990-2009. AQA would like to claim some other [...]

Thoughts on new GCSE history spec from Pearson

Some thoughts on the Pearson (Edexcel) draft proposal for new GCSE history from 2016
As I read through Pearsons’ draft proposals for the new GCSE history specification which they will be submitting to OFQUAL next month, several thoughts occur. I mention these only because I have heard many schools enthusiastically voting for this as their preferred [...]

Thoughts on the new GCSE history from 2016

As examination boards beaver away to present their final offering to OFQUAL by next month, I wonder how many of you are beginning to plan what this new linear examination course might look like. Superficially it would seem easy. You have 5 elements so why not 20% if the time for each. One term per [...]

So now we know why Geography is so much easier than history

One of the more unfortunate revelations unearthed by the Daily Telegraph’s investigation into GCSE exam ‘cheating’ was a comment made about GCSE Geography. Steph Warren, a senior official at Edexcel, one of the biggest exam boards, was recorded by an undercover Daily Telegraph reporter claiming that “you don’t have to teach a lot” and that [...]

End of GCSE modules for history. Shedding tears?

So, its now official. Gove recent promises to axe modular exams at AS had only one possible conclusion for GCSE. I predicted that it was a racing certainty: you knew it too. We may welcome the decision, but you can’t help but count the wasted effort and nervous energy entailed in bedding in this new system over the last [...]