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John Simkin

GCSE Hybrid

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According to the BBC geography and history could be turned into a single GCSE subject in a bid to ensure pupils learn some of both. The Historical Association and the Geographical Association are involved in developing a new course called "Making Sense of the Modern World".

The HA and the GA have spoken to the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, the government's exams watchdog, about the proposals and a provisional curriculum has already been submitted.

Are geography teachers concerned about these developments?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/3246446.stm

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Geography teachers ARE concerned by this move as it is open to abuse by heads who may see it as a convenient 'catch-all' course, particularly if it contains elements of citizenship as well, and students may be steered into such a course for all the wrong reasons. Will the course be taught by subject specialists? Will the course allow students to go on to study Geography and/or History at 'AS' and 'A2'? Lots of questions raised by this initiative.....personally, I think it will do nothing to promote either Geography or History as key subjects for study at this level. :rolleyes:

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Sorry to disagree with you John, but the HA is NOT in discussion with QCA over a joint History and Geography GCSE - one of the HA's members is. We do not support the proposal as such. And also there seems to be some confusion over the term 'hybrid'. The 'hybrid' GCSE's we are involved in with QCA are one-subject - history OR geography - which combine 'academic' GCSE history and 'vocational' history. The exciting thing about this is that at last QCA are proposing a much more relaxed approach to assessing - trusting teachers more. A much more flexible approach to assessment is a real sea-change in my opinion. It also allows you to study 'old' history at GCSE too!

As I understand it, the proposed joint History and Geography GCSE is an attempt to widen subject exposure. After all, from Sept 2004 every student has to take Humanities at 14. It is as I understand it an attempt to fill a gap for those who want neither to take History at GCSE or Geography. How successful it will be at that is open to question, and the proposals seem to me to promote the worst of both subjects, not the best. Having taught integrated humanities to GCSE in the past, I think it rarely works - unless you have really keen teachers you get geographers teaching poor history, and vice versa.

I don't think good history teachers have much to worry about from this proposal - it is a long way from reality yet!

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This is the first we have heard of this proposal. At this stage we see nothing to be concerned about as talking should do no harm. However if it becomes a firm proposal there will be concerns that there will be a watering down of the curriculum by combining two key academic subjects.

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