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Show Posts - swhitch

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Messages - swhitch

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Well done all !  :D

General Discussion / Re: melting ice issues.
« on: April 10, 2016, 09:28:14 PM »
Nothing to worry about apparently but isn't the wobble of the Earth one of the Milankovitch Cycles that controls climate change?

General Discussion / Re: Easy Online OS Maps Access
« on: March 23, 2016, 08:02:31 PM »
Digimaps is excellent but subscription-based.

Customise maps and also use historic maps. Useful webinars as support too.

I am with zcsaa44. This approach gives you an insight into how the management are likely to treat you when you are there. Steer clear I would say.

General Discussion / Re: Assessment objective and new 1-9 grading rubric
« on: February 28, 2016, 11:07:24 AM »
Why not wait until the exam boards give some clarification. What a ridiculous demand. Seems your management are rather unrealistic and out of touch. They possibly have not actually realised that Geography has not moved to the new GCSE yet and most specs only just accredited.

General Discussion / Re: New GCSE spec 2 or 3 years course?
« on: February 28, 2016, 11:03:40 AM »
Unfortunately this is all driven by League Tables and is therefore a form of "gaming the system" that we hear so much of. I have been in a meeting where the DFE representative was very forceful about the KS3 being three years and the KS4 two years but nothing has since come out of that to stop schools from doing it. Even if they did there are ways around it, particularly when Academies are supposed to be immune from the National Curriculum anyway.

Wouldn't we all like an extended GCSE thereby reducing our stress levels and workload considerably? Same content 50% more time to teach it.

If your school requires you to do a three year GCSE then in Y9 focus on developing the skills that are need for GCSE, skills which can then be developed further right through to A level. Doing CGSE content at the start of Y9 for an exam at the end of Y11 will often result in it having to be retaught anyway.

So to sum up:

Heads are trying to do the best for their schools, and keep their jobs, by gaming the system all driven by pressure caused by league tables. Nothing can be done to stop it as Academies are not required to follow the rules anyway, rules that were put in place by a Government seemingly not always in touch with the real day to day demands in education. Outcome: increasing pressure on students, and staff, hence increasing mental health issues seen in press this week. Discuss.

General Discussion / Re: New GCSE spec 2 or 3 years course?
« on: February 27, 2016, 12:39:05 PM »
As Kate quite rightly points out GCSE is a two year course and KS3 a three year course.

General Discussion / Re: Cambridge IGCSE
« on: February 16, 2016, 09:55:47 PM »

Paper 4 relies on ability to answer on ANYTHING from physical and human coursework.

General Discussion / Re: New A level spec choice
« on: February 16, 2016, 09:52:09 PM »
Eduqas with OCR close second.

General Discussion / Re: Cambridge IGCSE
« on: January 28, 2016, 12:44:32 PM »

We use New Wider World and have a few Guinness and Nagle (light blue and white books) but also supplement with Geoactive / Geofile and Geofactsheets.

Unfortunately we are having to move back to GCSe away from IGCSE because of league tables. It is a real shame as we and the students really do seem to find it does what we need.

General Discussion / Re: DfE EBacc consultation - RGS-IBG response
« on: January 24, 2016, 06:31:02 PM »
Hi Steve,

Mostly very supportive of the response but some things that could be further detailed:

There is a financial burden in resourcing increasing student numbers in Geography which is not addressed when funding cuts are taking place.

One of the big stresses we are facing at present is the introduction of BOTH the new GCSE and A Level courses at the same time. It is a particular issue where the department is small in terms of staffing yet relatively large in terms of student numbers. There is also the increasingly pressing problem that many of the new specs have still not been authorised by Ofqual.

General Discussion / Re: Starting KS4 in Year 9
« on: December 03, 2015, 12:07:34 AM »
There are times when the best thing you can do for your students is to stand up to the managers and put a strong case for not following the herd. Three out of four responses to your post say a three year KS4 is the wrong thing to do.

28 years of experience tell me that the best for most students is for them to do the GCSE at the appropriate age range, even the most able students. Currently I am seeing highly able Y10 students struggling to get to grips with the requirements of the higher levels of iGCSE.

Do your managers have evidence to suggest that a three year GCSE is better for your students? If so then maybe there is a case for your school but surely wait until there is a confirmed spec. Three years to do a two year course means less rather than the more work you suggest, longer to prepare and no Y9 KS3 to prepare, essentially a 20% cut in content between Y7&Y11. Maybe I am coming round to this idea.

If you must jump then I would be looking to develop, as I said, the basic skills, particularly map skills and the mathematical elements which have been upgraded, and these will not be changed so no wasting time on things that may or may not exist in the final spec.

What do you normally do in Y9, does any fit the current draft? We tried an extended project a couple of years ago where we introduced some selected controlled assessment topics for Y9. It was a disaster, the Y9 could not take the work to the next level.


General Discussion / Re: Text books or not
« on: December 01, 2015, 08:58:38 PM »
You are correct about the use of the map skills books, they are excellent for map skills(unsurprisingly), are very useful for case studies or supporting case studies or as the basis for developing case studies and outstanding for cover etc. In fact, they are just very interesting for anyone who loves geography just to thumb through in tutor time etc. Magic.

I feel that you HOD is missing the point if he/she is looking for a book to be used every lesson. Which books are used every lesson if a teacher is using a variety of skills and strategies? If a book is being used every lesson my suspicion would be that there is a lot of ....... open at page 23, copy the notes and complete the activities ......... yawn ! Maybe I am wrong.

General Discussion / Re: Starting KS4 in Year 9
« on: December 01, 2015, 08:23:56 PM »
Sorry, just don't get this and, if I remember correctly, in a meeting with a representative of the DFE at the RGS a couple of years ago this approach was very much frowned upon. This is a two year course and KS3 is a three year course. There is, of course the added complication of Academies not having to do the NC but I still think that many of the concepts and depth of detail and understanding is beyond, even many of our able students in Y9. Use the time to help develop skills that can be used in the GCSE rather than developing a load of misunderstandings and misconceptions that you will never be able to get rid of no matter how many times your reteach of extend end of unit tests. With the added complexity of the new GCSE exams and the maths elements I would certainly be looking more at skills as suggested than content.

A gut feeling is that it is setting students to achieve mediocre, how will they progress in the knowledge and complexity of answers if they think that their Y9 assessments are sufficient.

Add to this the fact that the specs do not exist at this point and "may" require some considerable change it just looks like making much more work, and reworking, for yourself and the students.

My feeling on this strategy is that it is almost as bad as those subjects starting AS at Y11 so that numbers are retained through to A level in Y12 and Y13.

General Discussion / Re: Consultation on content for AS & A level geology
« on: November 30, 2015, 11:05:08 PM »
If you are thinking of taking up Geology please do read and respond to this new A Level draft document.

It may be considered challenging. Will be having very detailed discussions with my colleague, also a Geology graduate, as to the pros and cons of this document and the likely impact upon numbers.

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