Since the GCSE reforms were announced by the coalition government, History departments across the UK have been switching round, reviewing and tweaking their KS3 schemes of work to accommodate for the increase in conceptual ideas, content and ultimately to support students with the increased difficulty of exam skills.
We decided against a 3 year GCSE for several reasons, mainly that student’s would not have enough conceptual skills to analyse and explore the historical content in enough detail. In addition, we wanted to equip students with a broad contextual knowledge of History, not just teach to the exam.
We also wanted to interweave as many different types of assessment as possible – from in-class debates to the more traditional exam-style questions.
In 2016, we changed our KS3 SOWs to accommodate for these ideas.
However, this year, we have switched it around again, to include more links to the GCSE content as well as changing the order in which topics have been taught. The latter has been the result of careful calendar planning, to ensure we teach each subject with enough depth in the time we have each half-term. 2 x 50 minute lessons have allowed this to happen.
We have also been conscious that student’s enjoy the topics and a balance is struck between curiosity and genuine intrigue, and the development of exam skills and conceptual ideas. A clear favourite for students has been the Empire and Slavery topic in Year 8, which we link to the modern day monarchy.
I’m so excited to add suffragettes to our SOW for next year – it’s a great topic to end the year on and is something I’ve wanted to teach since I started my PGCE all those years ago!