You SHOULD be aware that the new GCSE will be first examined in June 2017 so working backwards from that in the traditional sense of a two year course means that teaching would start in September 2015 BUT it isn’t that simple. It never is! You would have thought that this was common knowledge, however I still get questions about timelines and I am amazed how little “subject” based reading about changes that some teachers do but that’s another discussion.

With the increased content and the renewed focus on rigour, mastery and problem-solving, together with a massive shift in content from higher into the foundation tier most Heads of Departments are wanting to start teaching this from September 2014 with the new year 9’s who are going to be the first cohort to sit the exam. This means, for these schools GCSE is effectively becoming a 3 year course but with the added complication that these students haven’t been taught some of the content as the previous key stage programmes of study have also changed, so effectively schemes of work are being written, re-written and then adapted for the various student cohorts across the country. As I see it, this is what most people will be working towards:

  • Years 7 and 8 in September 2014  – schemes of work based on the new key stage 3 content that will move seamlessly onto the new GCSE content.
  • Year 9 in September 2014 – these students initially require a bridging SOW before moving onto the new GCSE content.
  • Years 10 and 11 in September 2014 will be examined under the current GCSE so if schools are happy with what they do, no changes are required.

I am aware that at least one of the exam boards is working on providing support for the “bridging topics”  – additionally the collaborative scheme of work is looking amazing!  To bring you up to date on that, I have  slowly and quietly, taken a  bit of a step back from being the main driver on this apart from emailing and a bit of dabbling, mainly because I was a little conscious that some people were seeing it as a JustMaths “thing” and ( I probably shouldn’t tell you this but hey its true and it will make that person feel very uncomfortable!) I have even been accused of “self promotion”  – I didn’t do it for that reason, and how someone could have the gall to make that accusation amazes me, given how much sharing I do. So many people have been involved, and that was the point of starting it off in the first place – it was about real teachers, who teach day in and day out getting together to design the ideal scheme of work rather than it being limited to one of two from the same department with a limited view or even worse some corporate body who hasn’t been near a classroom for years. There is so much talent out there and I have to say that Jon Treby (along with loads of others who have contributed along the way) have really made loads of progress on it. As a teaching group we have more knowledge and know what works and what doesn’t and my message to you all is : Maths teachers rock!! The 21 units and the way it has been structured provide so many different routes through the new content that it can be truly useful to most school contexts. These routes (HAVE A LOOK: HERE) include:

1) Repeating elements of units 1 – 21 units every year so that over the 5 years all topic elements are done (the traditional spiral curriculum) and because the prior knowledge is detailed you can use that info to gauge  what is retained from the previous teaching to push on to the next element of that unit.

2) Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 content split over two years – very much along the lines of the “mastery model” whereby there are 21 units to be completed over each key stage and within each unit all levels of difficulty are covered.

There is really something for everybody, including the structure for tried and tested resources to be made available too!

What I love about the idea is that it has been put together by people with collectively 100’s of years of teaching maths, and as a teacher I can dip into that “knowledge base” and use it as it is, or in the case of my new job adapt it for our context – I don’t believe any scheme of work should be prescriptive but the intention was to provide something that others could use their professional judgement with and I think that has been achieved. Well done all!  Because I don’t yet know the lie of the land in terms of how ICT driven people are I am using some of the collaborative SOW to produce a bespoke paper SOW (and Seager is a Neanderthal when it comes to ICT! … he likes paper!) and I’m incorporating the units into a year 7 and 8 SOW and then doing the same for the GCSE splitting each of the 21 units into higher and foundation rather than 3 ability levels as I’ve shown with years 7 and 8. I have only done the first unit for years 7 and 8 as there is an urgency to get this to our new team but I’m aiming to get this finished during the first few weeks of the holidays and once its done I will put it on the Collaborative SOW website if anyone is interested in a copy  – it still needs work so don’t look too closely – I just wanted to get the structure of my document right and need to check Seager is happy with it before finishing this unit! so it really is just for demonstration purposes! UPDATED >>>>>>  Year 7 and 8 SOW (Units 1 and 2) <<<<<< UPDATED

And if you haven’t checked out the collaborative scheme of work site … you must!! CHECK IT OUT: HERE


Two posts in one day … you lucky, lucky people!