In case you haven’t picked up the changes to GCSE for September 2013, (the ones Gove wanted in order to ‘strengthen’ GCSE history), you need to get up to speed. The implications are likely to be very significant. Take one of the market leaders, for example. The effect on the teaching of OCR Modern World in just 6 months’ time could seriously damage your health. We now have prohibited combinations as shown below. You will need to read it, blink hard, and take a deep breath. No this is not a bad dream . Following hard on the heels of the grotesque draft KS3 curriculum this is nothing but a nightmare!
Read for yourself, taken from the OCR website today, showing how the existing, most popular combinations of depth and core international units are now no longer acceptable. Completely new schemes of work will be required, for at least part of the course, if you are currently following these soon-to-be-outlawed combinations.
If you study interwar Germany, USA or Russia you cannot study inter-war international relations
If you study post-war China or the USA 1945-75 unit you cannot study the Cold War
Go to OCR site for details, if you still can’t believe it.
Why does this matter?
Not only does it mean a major change for hundreds of Centres, it makes no sense . Why would you NOT teach, for example, International Relations 1919-39 in combination with Germany 1918-43 so that one supports the other? If Gove is worried about too much overlap then surely the argument for prohibiting the study of inter-war USA and USSR along with international relations 1919-39 is far weaker than for Germany. You might argue that schools ought to cover more ground, but by prohibiting the study of one period of international relations you might find that this backfires and means fewer, rather than more units are covered!
I’ll post more when I see the effect on the other specifications. I’m not hopeful that these will be any less muddle-headed and detrimental