12 questions to guide your thinking about the new GCSE history courses from September 2016

There has been a lot of hype from exam boards which focus on trying to minimise the changes that schools have to introduce. This pre-supposes that simply holding onto topics that you know and have resources for should be the main driver when planning a completely new curriculum. The danger of going for minimal change, of course, is that it is often simpler to start from scratch and create a coherent curriculum rather than trying to force topics into an arranged marriage which makes little sense to students.

Rather than prescribe a particular approach,I raise 12 questions you might like to ponder:
1.Have you developed a coherent rationale for your intended course so that iu can explain its coherence to students and parents?
2 .Is there any logic to when you teach particular types of topic e.g. teaching the depth study e.g. Norman or Elizabethan first as the time frames are shorter and students will at least have some experience of the topics from KS3?
3. Given that topics such as Norman England will have been taught in Y7 is there a good reason for not tackling it in Y9 as it might seem repetitive? Is it better to teach this type of topic later in Y10/11?
Will the proximity to the exam in Y11 means less time is needed for revision?
4. Will students have covered any of the content of the thematic study already in KS3? Will this automatically help them in GCSE or will many feel they are going de-motivating over old ground
5. Should you spend less time on early topics in later Y9/Y10 knowing you will revisit them more significantly in revision?
6. When will you plan revision to start? January 2018 or later?
7. Will all topics be taught as self-contained blocks? Or will you be able to exploit any overlap to make the curriculum more coherent?
8. Is there any virtue in splitting any, for example, the thematic study as in one of AQA’s models or will this simple interrupt the learning flow?
9. If you run a three-year course, do you start it in September or January, teaching existing KS3 topics in the Autumn term
10. When you have decided on your choice will you need to go back to KS3 and make a few tweaks to maximise preparation for known GCSE topics/ways of thinking?
11. How many ‘new’ topics is it sensible to introduce, beyond those that have been forced on you?
12. Will students be offered any choice e.g. by offering a different ‘routes’ or depth studies in different option groups?

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