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.