2017 English GCSE: Something to fear or a great opportunity?

The new spec GCSEs are coming. They are different. They mean that nearly everything we do needs to change…but is that so bad?

 Well it’s blooming not ideal…!

Agreed. This certainly is a rather flippant and optimistic blog based upon a brainwave I had a few months back. 

  • I completely agree that it is going to be INCREDIBLY hard for Jimmy with his predicted E grade to access a lot of the new syllabus. 
  • I completely agree that closed book exams are (currently) a ridiculous idea which almost sets students up to lose marks for not using enough quotes. 
  • I completely agree that it is a big pain in the backside for teachers to have to create new SoWs and resources etc as well as simply teaching themselves how to comparatively analyse 19th C non fiction…
  • I completely agree that it is unhelpful to try to teach year 10 a syllabus that is evolving by the day.


I also think the new GCSEs are a great opportunity: 

I believe that the single greatest opportunity stemming from the changes is the offer of time. We no longer have to schedule year 10 and 11 with military precision to cram everything in around coursework draft deadlines, moderation deadlines, real deadlines, missed deadline extensions and so on. With the exception of mocks, we have the entire year(s) to teach. 

Whilst this is going to be VERY messy whilst they drip feed clarification and resources to us, imagine what it COULD be like to teach something you know well WITHOUT the faff of teaching-marking-moderating-submitting coursework etc… 

Hopefully it won’t stay as chaotic as it is now…

Currently it feels like we’re all standing at the edge of a cliff. There’s no way back and it is just a case of plucking up the courage to jump and hope for the best. Hopefully, sooner rather than later, we will have all of the info we need to be able to discover a happy new land where we have the time to embrace new pedagogy, give KS3 attention AND get our students happily through exams… 

…somehow, though, I feel I won’t be this optimistic come September… 

…we can dream!


(Images not my own)


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