History and literacy at Key Stage 4

What OFSTED are looking for in history lessons when reviewing literacy across the curriculum (August 2012) An insider’s view – what OFSTED are saying to their inspectors

It is likely that there will be a greater focus in all history lesson observations under the new (2012) framework on how well particular groups of pupils achieve. Also, with the increased emphasis on reporting what makes teaching effective in improving learning, it will be necessary for inspectors to record in evidence forms where aspects of teaching clearly have an impact on learning, whether positive or not. For literacy, this will be easiest where there are readily identifiable actions which affect the progress of pupils. However, the real skill of observation may be in identifying where opportunities are missed in teachers’ planning or in their teaching. Here is the checklist  you need when monitoring history’s contribution to literacy in your own department.

The ability to write in a particular style that suits the requirements of GCSE history has almost become a holy grail. Teachers spend more class time in history decoding questions and preparing answers than they do in most other subjects. When the questions are as predictable (and often formulaic) as they

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