New, Novice or Nervous? 165: Enabling progress - students who need more support

Teaching History feature

Published: 3rd January 2017

Students often find history ‘hard’; senior managers and pastoral managers perceive it as challenging and many, with the best of intentions, steer students away from taking it for GCSE. Indeed, in the most recent HA survey, 49% of respondents reported that some students are actively discouraged or prevented from continuing with the subject beyond Key Stage 3! Yet pursuit of the EBacc in other contexts may mean you find yourself with a larger and more varied cohort of GCSE students than you had expected – a trend likely to be encouraged by the Progress 8 accountability measure that recognises the progress made by learners at all levels of attainment, not merely those achieving grades A*-C. While the assessment objectives within the new GCSEs continue to highlight the importance of analysis and judgement, those processes depend on students having a secure grasp of substantive historical  knowledge; knowledge that they now have to retain for two, if not three, years. Whether you find yourself arguing for more students to be allowed to continue with the subject or panicking about how you can possibly support the progress of students who would previously have been directed elsewhere, here is a guide to the principles and strategies that teachers have previously explored in seeking to enable all students to make progress in history.

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