Teaching GCSE presents its own set of challenges, not least learning the code that you will need to crack to bring your students GCSE success. Because the GCSE history exam has become so formulaic, it is crucial that all teachers feel that they have the same knowledge that an examiner would have. Now that mark schemes are more openly available and even feature in textbooks, the world of the examiner is no longer a secret garden. But having the information and applying it confidently to students’ work is another matter. So the sooner in the course of Y10 colleagues can be marking actual questions, using GCSE mark schemes and criteria, the better. For teachers new to the role of GCSE marking, the provision of annotated sample answers at all levels will be a godsend.
Knowing how to prepare the students for the examination is only one part of the KS4 history teacher’s work. For many this will be the first time you have taught students continuously for five terms. This has both its benefits and its potential pitfalls. It will be even more important to keep pace and variety at the centre of the work. Time needs to be devoted