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I’ve been heartened by the positive response of history teachers to the OCR GCSE (9-1) History B (Schools History Project) specification. Judging by the feedback we’ve received so far, there seems to be five main features of the specification that teachers find particularly appealing:
Now that the 2016 exams are over you will be thinking in more detail about the next academic year so here are some reminders about planning for the British Studies and History Around Us:
The Thematic Study
Each of the thematic studies is organised around three issues, so focus directly on these in your planning. The content in the specification has been carefully structured so that students begin with a brief overview of each period and then learn about each of the three interesting issues. The clear structure will help your students to get to grips with the big changes and continuities in the theme, and the factors which led to these. There is also plenty of scope to build-in the fascinating details which bring history alive, so decided where your students will explore aspects in more depth.
The British Depth Study
Again, the clarity and variety within each study should help your planning. The headings for each of the five sections in the study are the starting point for your planning. Turning each of these into a rigorous and engaging enquiry question will provide a clear focus for your students’ learning. There are lots of examples of enquiries in the support materials on the OCR website and in the resources published by Hodder Education. Remember that the assessment focus is on interpretations of history so build in a range of visual and written interpretations, and encourage your students to argue about history!
The site study
This will be a joy to plan and teach. Some schools are choosing iconic sites while others are going for places which are relatively unknown. Whatever site you chose, engage your students with a fascinating investigation (Why should XXX be a world heritage site? What can the story of XXX reveal? What makes XXX so special?) and challenge them to communicate their findings through ‘real contexts’ (audio-guides, radio-programmes, display boards) Through their research and creative communication students will develop the knowledge of the site which they will need in the exam.
A range of resources are already available to help you take forward your planning. Have a look at the guidance on the OCR website and check out the textbooks and Dynamic Learning resources for the Thematic Studies already published by Hodder Education. We are receiving some great feedback about the quality of SHP’s textbook for OCR GCSE (9-1) History B (SHP) and will ensure that more quality resources for the British Depth Studies are with you in the autumn term. The new SHP website will also provide a range teaching and learning resources to support the SHP specification.
Happy planning and enjoy a well-deserved summer break.
Michael Riley - Director at Schools History Project (SHP)
Michael has been Director at SHP since 2008. He is responsible for the strategic direction of SHP, ensuring that the project provides an independent source of ideas and experience for the teaching of history in schools. He also organises the annual conference and regional courses, maintains the website and represents SHP at external meetings. Michael is involved in the development of SHP-Hodder publications.