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An update on 4-19 history from QCA FACE Conference January 2006 Presentation by Jerome Freeman QCA Adviser for History.

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Presentation on theme: "An update on 4-19 history from QCA FACE Conference January 2006 Presentation by Jerome Freeman QCA Adviser for History."— Presentation transcript:

1 An update on 4-19 history from QCA FACE Conference January 2006 Presentation by Jerome Freeman QCA Adviser for History

2 Key issues for history – strengths and concerns: Strengths There is much enthusiasm amongst primary and secondary teachers for school history and this has been a key factor in the maintaining good provision for the subject in some schools and visible improvements in many others. History in secondary schools has also benefited from the plentiful supply of highly qualified and well trained subject specialists. The present National Curriculum for history represents a successful compromise between the competing aspirations of the different interest groups in the 1980s. British history dominates the content of the National Curriculum although European and world history are represented. It also has a good balance between providing historical knowledge and skills. Reduced prescription and greater flexibility has made the POS more manageable and is encouraging innovation in some secondary schools. The quality of history teaching in secondary schools is a strength. Ofsted’s 2005 subject report for secondary history states that ‘the overall quality and effectiveness of history provision remains high.’

3 GCSE and AS/A Level history remain popular option choices with students at 14 and ,240 pupils were entered for history at GCSE in A Level history was the sixth most popular subject with 45,113 entries, a rise of 3.0% since At AS Level, there were 54,139 entries in 2005, a rise of over 39.8% since The subject is given support by active, and mutually supportive, subject associations. However, many of these operate on minimal funding and rely heavily on the goodwill of their members. This sometimes limits the extent, reach and sustainability of their activities.

4 Areas of concern The relevance of the history curriculum in schools In many primary and secondary schools, the subject is playing an increasingly marginal role in the wider curriculum and is often given low priority in school development plans. This is due to a combination of factors including the increasing emphasis given to literacy and numeracy and a perception, particularly in secondary schools that it is ‘academic’ and has only limited relevance to many pupils. Primary history According to the Ofsted subject report for primary history published in February 2005, ‘…primary history continues to disappoint, with lower achievement and weaker teaching than in most subjects’. Formal assessment of pupil progress is frequently lacking. This is exacerbated in many cases by the lack of ITT and CPD opportunities for primary teachers, most of whom are non-specialists. Key Stage 3 history The transfer of pupils from Key Stage 2 to 3 is problematic with secondary schools lacking confidence about what pupils may or may have not learnt in their primary schools.

5 Pupils often fail to acquire a good overview of history as they progress through Key Stage 3. Too often, the focus is on developing the pupils’ in- depth knowledge of specific topics in history at the expense of making explicit links and connections between the different historical periods studied The quality of assessment is inconsistent across schools. In a significant number of schools it tends to be over-elaborate and not particularly effective at helping pupils understand how to become better at history or at improving the quality of history teaching history There is has been a narrowing and ‘Hitlerisation’ of post-14 history. The option choices made by schools and colleges in GCSE and AS/A-level mean that the content of post-14 history continues to be dominated by the 16 th, 19 th and 20 th century topics, most notably the Tudors and the 20 th century dictatorships. In addition, the quality of aspects of the examinations is unsatisfactory; for example, the failure to examine historical interpretation properly, the decline of opportunities for more able candidates to display their narrative skills, and the failure to exploit the full range of media which characterise successful history in museums and on television.

6 The curriculum overall  Only limited attempts have so far been made in schools to look at how history can help to contribute to pupils’ wider needs – for example, literacy, numeracy, citizenship and personal development. CPD in history  Although there is some high quality CPD in history, there is very little of it and, in any case, most teachers do not have access to it. Links between higher education and school history  There are few formal links between university ‘academic history’ departments and schools with the result that neither sector has a very clear understanding of developments in the other.

7 White Paper on Reform: Background The White Paper is the DfES response to report published in October 2004 by The Working Group on Reform, chaired by Sir Mike Tomlinson. The aims of the White Paper are to: –tackle the low post-16 participation – aim to increase participation at 17 from 75% to 90% over the next 10 years –ensure that every young person has a sound grounding in the basics of English and maths and the skills they need for employment –provide better vocational routes which equip young people with the knowledge and skills they need for further learning and employment –stretch all young people –re-engage the disaffected.

8 Some of the main proposals Key Stage 3 review –For first teaching in schools from September 2008 (phased introduction) A review –GCSEs and A Levels will remain as the ‘cornerstones of the new system’. –GCSE review (GCSEs to continue and most to remain broadly the same as now.) –A Level Review (structural and content changes for first teaching from September 2008).

9 Other developments The new GCSE history pilot: OCR, on behalf of QCA, is being funded to develop and trial a new GCSE history qualification. This will be piloted in around 70 schools. Aim to develop a qualification that provides genuine links between history and related vocational areas such as heritage, archives, museums, galleries, historical sites, archaeology, tourism and media. First teaching to start in September Thorough review and consultation before deciding how to proceed beyond Will not replacing existing qualifications but may influence future developments.

10 The structure of the GCSE history pilot specification: The history core (50%) General with links to related vocational areas PLUS One optional unit (25%) General or vocational PLUS A second optional unit (25%) General or vocational

11 The history core (equivalent to half a GCSE) will include three options: A local history enquiry They will have the opportunity to actively engage with the history of the locality to find out how it relates to their own lives and how they might become involved in its preservation for future generations Why does local history matter to me and what can I do to conserve it? A national history enquiry They will learn about the work of museums, galleries and sites as part of a detailed enquiry focusing on a lengthy period of national history. What can we learn about change and diversity in the medieval period through the work of museums, galleries and sites? An international history enquiry They will investigate how an event in recent global history been portrayed in the media and why this should matter. How have particular websites been used to portray the recent Balkan conflicts and how do we find out what really happened?

12 Innovating with History:

13 Innovating with history: purpose of this website  Launched in the Autumn of 2004, this website aims to help primary and secondary history teachers make use of the increased flexibility in the national curriculum to design history courses that are exciting and engaging.  The site is like a virtual ‘adviser’ with guidance for teachers on all aspects of teaching and learning in primary and secondary (KS3) history.  It also provides a ‘gateway’ to the many other websites offering support for teaching and learning in history.  The materials on the website include examples of innovative and effective practice drawn from a range of schools.  It is a ‘work in progress’ so that new examples are being added to the website on a regular basis.

14 Innovating with history: structure of this website Improving curriculum planning (guidance on long, medium and short term planning along with new enhanced secondary school case studies and 3 new enquiries designed to promote the teaching of post 1945 history)  How and why is the legacy of British rule in India interpreted in different ways?  How did Germany move from division to unification ?  How was the twentieth century shaped by events in the Middle East? Developing assessment (practical guidance and, coming soon, examples of good practice from schools). Contributing to the wider curriculum (links to ICT, inclusion, citizenship, literacy and creativity). Improving learning (new sections on teaching historical interpretations and developing pupils’ chronological understanding). Improving subject leadership (step-by-step guidance for heads of history).

15 There is a History Matters section that offers information and support on matters relating to history across the whole 3-19 spectrum including: news of the latest developments in history It worked for me - cameos’ – 21 mini case studies submitted by teachers wishing to share innovative classroom practice in history guidance for teachers on effective key stage 2/3 transfer in history information about all the history subject associations.

16 Optional assessment tasks for KS1, 2 and 3 history 11 units altogether, 4 for KS3, published in hard copy Easter 2006: –Was life nasty, brutish and short for all people in Medieval Britain? Builds on QCA unit 2: How did medieval monarchs keep control? And QCA unit 3: How hard was life for medieval people in town and country? –How powerful was Cromwell? Builds on QCA unit 8: The civil wars: was England ‘turned upside down’ in the seventeenth century? –The British Empire: who gained most from independence? Builds on QCA unit 14: The British Empire: how was it that by 1900, Britain controlled nearly a quarter of the world? –Was the 20 th century a century of genocide? Builds on QCA unit 19: How and why did the Holocaust happen?


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