New, Novice, Nervous: GCSE Thematic Study

Planning and teaching the thematic study in the new GCSE

HA, last updated: 18th April 2016

Thematic studies have been a long-standing feature of the Schools History Project (SHP) GCSE specifications in England and Wales; but for teachers of ‘Modern World’ GCSE specifications, the thematic study in the new GCSE specifications for teaching in England from September 2016 is unfamiliar territory. Perhaps you are entirely new to teaching GCSE. Or perhaps you have been teaching an SHP specification but want to refresh your scheme of work, taking account of the greater emphasis on comparative and thematic questions, or moving to one of the new thematic studies on migration or political power.

The work of history teachers in recent decades provides many useful starting points for thematic study novices, and ideas for seizing the historical and analytical opportunities that the thematic study offers.

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