Curriculum planning for GCSE history

The days are long gone when you asked a subject leader for a scheme of work and all you were given was the GCSE specification. We now all have long term plans which carefully allocate modules to specific time slots. We all know that it is probably best to get students to complete their coursework before the end of Y10. We know that with longer modules, such as the line of development study with SHP, we need to include an intensive revision programme that does not last too long but still covers the essentials.

The 4-strikes approach to planning featured in the long-term planning section of the site is certainly worth looking at, if you have not already got something similar. Students answer four different questions on each key part of the specification at different times over the two years. They then record the scores they achieved at each attempt.  As each time the question is differently phrased, students become much more adept at responding to slightly unusual questions, rather than trying to answer the ONE question they had rehearsed.
When it comes to medium-term planning there is one piece of advice of absolutely key importance, that of having precise and challenging learning objectives. Of all the underachieving departments I have ever worked with,none have had precise let alone differentiated objectives. Where they did exist, they were often re-workings of the key questions. For example, an
objective was often to explain the weaknesses of the Weimar Republic. This is not a lesson objective!  Look at the medium -term planning section to see what IS required.

Once the objectives are clear and appropriately pitched, then we need to have in our planning recommended teaching and learning activities. These do not need to be so tight that they stifle initiative. On the other hand they must make best use of tried and tested methods that work and must bring variety.

What you will find on the site are links to up-to-date sample planners for all GCSE courses, provided by the examination groups.  These are supplemented by high-quality examples form outstanding departments.

GCSE History: Guide to planning and teaching Edexcel 9-1 GCSE

E Lots of thinking has taken place to decide the best way to structure the new Edexcel 9-1 GCSE history course. The rationale behind this plan comes straight from successful classroom practice.. One of my former Advanced Skills Teachers has written this about planning the above course: This Essential Guide shows...
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Curriculum rationale for history at KS4

Choice of specification and order of teaching

You will all been settled into your new GCSE course.If you're thinking of changing it might be worth asking threse questions

Questions for you to answer

1. How do you know that the GCSE course you follow gives students the best...
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Creativity in Key Stage 4 history

When the demands of the examination, and the results, loom large over our GCSE teaching, you might be forgiven for feeling that the last thing you want to be thinking about is creativity. Yet, when you think that you have the same students with you...
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What is history at Key Stage 4?

You may be forgiven for thinking that this is a really crass question.   If you don't know by now, and you've been teaching GCSE for years, what can this possibly tell you?  Don't worry. This is not meant to be radical, just a few reminders,...
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Long-term planning at Key Stage 4

Planning for the legacy GCSE history specifications

I have featured only a few models from the existing specifications, concentrating instead on the new specifications.  For each course offered by each board I have given a brief and gentle critique of different schools' approaches.  When we know...
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Medium term planning at Key Stage 4

What should go into a good medium term plan at key Stage 4?

1. Key questions, not just the overarching question from the Board's specification, but sub-questions too. 2. Learning objectives. These must identify depth of understanding as well as specific skills that are being taught. These must be differentiated. It is...
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Short-term planning in Key Stage 4 history

My view about short-term planning at KS4 is simple; keep it short. If you are following a detailed medium-term plan, as you should be, then most of the planning has already been done. All that needs attention now is: a. differentiation b. pace and timings c. structure d. transition e....
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Thinking skills at Key Stage 4

With a firm foundation of thinking skills now laid at Key Stage 3, thanks in part to the National Strategy, it is really important  that in GCSE classes you offer just as many challenging opportunities to put these skills to good use.  How often do...
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ICT and history at Key Stage 4

There are a number of ways in which ICT is already being used successfully in history that go far beyond wordprocessing. The internet features prominently in most lists of current practice, but usually for information retrieval rather than evaluation. Imaginative ways of getting students to...
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History and numeracy at Key Stage 4

With so much else to focus on in GCSE history you would be pardoned for thinking that this is not top priority. Rather than add to your burden, all I would like to do here is to outline a number of different examples of good...
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History and literacy at Key Stage 4

What OFSTED said  they were looking for in history lessons when reviewing literacy across the curriculum when they last published on the matter.  An insider’s view – what OFSTED are saying to their inspectors It is likely that there will be a greater focus in all...
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Citizenship at Key Stage 4

Am I alone in feeling the pitiful irony of history not being a compulsory subject at Key Stage 4, whereas citizenship is? When I see and hear how it is taught in some schools, compared to what students would experience in history lessons, it makes...
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Curriculum models at KS4

As most courses are a blend of  SHP and Modern World and there will be at least two new topics you were not formerly teaching, you know where you needed to start our long-term planning. But have you organised the topics into the most coherent...
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