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REVIEWING THE PILOT GCSE
The following main points concerning the Pilot GCSE are the result
of a number of surveys and reviews carried out by interested
stakeholders over the past 3 years (full details can be found in the
•The content of the course is seen
as one of the most positive elements
of the specification. 100% of
teachers and 91.7% of students were
positive or very positive about the
overall nature of the course
•Teachers saw the established GCSE specifications as content heavy.
Leading to broad but shallow learning – the Pilot was less broad but
allows for deep learning by the students.
People as Consumers
•The course is seen as far more relevant, conveying better what
geography is and also allowing for more, varied and genuine links
beyond the classroom.
• Students felt that the course content allows for much greater
variety in learning.
• There is evidence of a greater link between HE and schools being
forged as some academics have started to take an interest.
Learning & Teaching
•There is clear evidence for a
more varied pedagogy, with
greater use of ICT in an
integrated as opposed to a ‘bolt-
• Textbooks are used far less
than in established GCSEs,
students relying more heavily on
• There is a clear use of the organising principles to knit the learning in
the various units together. As a consequence, students see the course as a
whole rather than a series of random snap-shots.
• Links between the GCSE and KS3 have been seen as more problematic as
the skills development is not always there at the start of Year 10.
However, with the new KS3 coming on line in Sept 2008, with its concept
led approach, the Pilot would fit in well as the next step.
• The Pilot GCSE has a unique
• There is a widely perceived synergy
between the course and its assessment.
• Leads to a greater involvement of
students in their learning throughout
the course as they see the work they do
as being part of the course, rather than
• The variety of formats in the
assessment are seen as a real strength
of the course, as it allows students to
demonstrate a range of skills and
approaches, leading to a clearer
impression of their overall
• Teachers on the whole chose to
join the Pilot due to its innovative
• There was also a lack of regard
for content laden specifications
which led to two dimensional
learning and teaching and
cramming for examinations.
• There is also considerable evidence that teachers wanted to take
control of curriculum development, and wanted to get away from a
narrow set of well worn resources.
• From anecdotal evidence from several of those involved in the
development and support of the Pilot, the spaces taken could have been
filled many times over by other schools wanting to try something new.
• Students highlighted greater fieldwork opportunities, more interactive
learning, and the opportunity for their own personal views to be used as
very positive elements of the course.
• Students felt the coursework was exciting, challenging, stimulating and
satisfying, as well as relevant and interesting.
• 75% of students in one survey felt the course was more relevant than
the other GCSEs they were taking.
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