Talking Natural History

Earlier this week I spent an interesting day in Cambridge discussing the GCSE Natural History as a member of OCR's Consultative Forum. This is a group of people who share an interest in the new specification and the subject itself, and are drawn from a whole range of backgrounds. We were given a little window on what has happening to prepare the new subject for first teaching...

There were some familiar faces as well as some new friends to meet. We had some good conversations on our table.

We had an update on the context within which the new specification will be appearing - this was similar to the OCR Geography Forum meeting that I'd attended the month before. 
Time is tight to complete all the required steps for accreditation in time to start teaching the specification in 2025, and it may slip into 2026 - the timeline is very compressed from now on.

We couldn't be told too much about the specification as the content was embargoed ahead of a consultation which will hopefully take place this month.... or be opened this month. 

We saw a few likely sections presented as broad headings, which suggest a slight change in emphasis from the original conception of the course, and were also asked to choose which of the potential example habitats which students might be shown that we liked. I can't share any of this at the moment.
When the consultation does finally appear, we will of course be all over it here. We will be recommending to people with any sort of interest in teaching the course that they respond if they want to have any influence on what is (and isn't) included. More on that as it comes...

We were given a flavour of what might be involved, and also discussed some options for an assessment model. This will be crucial to uptake as the subject will need to find its way into crowded option blocks, and the timing for inclusion in these, and allowing for teaching time is tight. I referred to my previous experience with the OCR Pilot GCSE Geography, and the use of different types of assessment as well, including the possibility of a Pre-release booklet.

Image: A La Ronde, Devon - Alan Parkinson - shared under CC license