On 27 March 2018, the Society hosted a day-long event on ‘The New School History Curriculum and the Transition to Higher Education’. This conference formed part of the 150th anniversary celebrations of the Royal Historical Society, and it was organised by the Society in conjunction with the Historical Association.
Recent changes to the specifications and curricula available at both GCSE and A Level have resulted in significant alterations to the historical education that students receive in English schools from years 9 to 13 (with many schools starting GCSE tuition three years before the examinations). With the first students taking the new GCSE in summer 2018, and the first cohort through the new linear A Levels having arrived at university in autumn 2017, it was a good moment in March 2018 to take stock of these developments and their implications foir the teaching of history in Higher Education.
The conference brought together over 80 delegates representing various key constituencies: representatives from all the Examination Boards in England and Wales (the Scottish SQA had to withdraw at the last moment), HEI heads of department and admission tutors, secondary teachers and members of the museum and archives sector, plus officers and councillors from the Society and the HA.
It proved to be a very stimulating day, both in terms of the presentations and discussion, and also the contacts many of us made with experts in different constituencies, and we agreed to make the extensive briefing pack available online.
The pack contains 10 items. (1) is the programme of events and speakers; (2) – (4) gives the essential background: DfE and Ofqual 2014 Subject Requirements for A and AS Levels and GCSE plus Assessment Objectives. (5) – (8) list the syllabi of the examination boards for England and Wales, including the WJEC’s new GCSE for schools in England – edquas. (9) summarises planned changes to Higher History in Scotland. Finally, we include (10) the 2017 HA’s survey of History in schools, a valuable analysis based on responses from 287 schools. We are grateful to the various authors of these briefings and reports for permission to upload them.
Prof. Ken Fincham