Saturday, 15 October 2016

Saturday, 4 June 2016

GCSE ML specifications 2016: overview comparison

Comparison document

Last year I spent a great deal of time putting together a comparison of the GCSE draft specifications for first teaching 2016.  The final specification has only recently been approved, and so I am afraid that the final version of my comparison is a bit 'rushed'.  However, it may be useful to those who have been waiting to select a specification from the three available now available.  (AQA, Eduqas and Edexcel).

Here is a link to the Google document which I will up-date as and when I find mistakes.

I suggest that you 'save as' a pdf if you want a printable copy, as this then retains the formatting.


The specifications are constrained by the DfE GCSE criteria and Ofqual has a duty to approve the specifications. 

The whole process has been interesting.  To be honest, I have been quite impressed at the way that Ofqual seem to have spotted areas which needed attention to bring specs in line .. mainly where criteria were far too harsh at foundation level or where criteria seemed a bit woolly.  There are several areas where I had to strike through my original rant and write that the issue had been addressed. 

The aspect which I will freely openly criticise is the ridiculous rule about speaking tests having to be presented in the target language. This is requirement set by DfE subject criteria.  The DfE should not have been involved in the way the content was tested, and this will compromise the validity of the test and the sanity of teachers preparing students to learn the tricks!.  Every time I look at those ridiculous ‘prompts’ I start muttering at the screen. (I just replaced the word I had originally written for ‘muttering’).   I wonder if there will ever be an authentic context where a native English speaker will find some French words and need to turn them into a sentence, hoping it is the sentence the author intended.

Dr Rachel Hawkes has done some fantastic work comparing specs.. much tidier than this .. but I felt I needed to do it to get my head around the differences, and also because I am interested in analysing Eduqas and French.

ALL London June Event 2016 - Saturday June 11th 2016.  SOAS.

I hope some of you will be coming to hear Wendy Adeniji talk about preparing pupils for the new GCSE speaking and writing terminal examinations.   Here is a link to more information. and here is a direct link to registration. 

We have booked in Dr Rachel Hawkes already for June 2017!

Sunday, 6 March 2016

ICT in Languages Conference

This Tuesday I am meeting with a few others to put together a draft programme for the Free ICT and Language Event, for all sectors and languages, which we are holding at The Ashcombe School on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th April. [You pay £25, but get this back if you turn up.] 
We already have a great crowd coming, and excellent presenters, but there is room for more participants (65 have signed up, and there are 35 more places until we reach capacity) and if anyone is interested in presenting, there are some more slots to cover elements of using ICT - (e.g. establishing real contact with pupils abroad, training to listen, read, use grammar accurately, translate and pronounce).
If no one else offers, we can definitely cover these elements from our existing team, but it's nice to involve as many people as possible and to let the presenters attend other sessions! As it is an ICT conference, it will not have non-ICT sessions, but we are very conscious of the need to provide something for everyone, whatever their competence / access, so don't worry! 
 Here's a link to register, and within the description, there is a link to a google form where you can suggest something you could present .. even if only for 5/10 minutes! If you are not familiar with Google forms and you just want to pass me your ideas directly feel free to do so! Don't be shy! Thanks!

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Paris Study Visit 2016

Preparing for a school visit takes a great deal of time, but when you witness the students' enjoyment, it can make it all worthwhile!

If you are planning for a visit to Paris with students, you may find the following documents helpful.
They are all on my Google Drive.  You can view and download them.  If you cannot access them, it will probably be because your school does not allow access to Google documents.  In this case, I recommend you access them from a home computer.

The Ashcombe School Paris Study Visit 2016: Itinerary with comments and advice

Y11 and 6th form trip master details - including:
  • Accommodation
  • BlogSpot
  • Costing
  • Health and Safety Information
  • Information evening
  • Letters to parents
  • Master data
  • Medical consent form
  • Phone Chain and key details
  • Recommended items to take
  • Risk assessment
  • Travel
  • Visits planned in advance
Paris Study Visit Booklet - a booklet issued to pupils in a format which means they could 'roll it up' and put in their rucksacks.  Includes the following:

  • Key info
  • Les règles
  • L'itinérairie provisoire
  • Les jeux
  • Le guide alphabétique

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Thoughts on the new GCSE 9-1 MFL

It was an honour to be invited to speak about the new GCSEs at the annual ISMLA conference which took place yesterday, Saturday 30th January 2016.

When invited many months ago, I fully expected to be in a position to be able to do a thorough objective comparison of four approved examination boards specifications.  However, only one has so far been approved.

I therefore concentrated on outlining the following three areas:
1) The  context for the change
2) The subject content, subject conditions and subject guidance as laid down by Ofqual and the DfE
3) The possible 'variables' which may influence school choice of exam board once approved.

I have made a pdf version of the presentation here which you can download and I am doing a 'webinar' where I will repeat the talk on Sunday 7th February 15:30 - 16:30.

Once all specifications have been approved I will update a very detailed grid which I have already produced and share it.

I hope this is useful.