A competition for teams of students from schools studying OCR’s new GCSE History migration themes in which they design an exhibition to go in a new national Migration Museum.
The evening was the product of a three year partnership between OCR and the Migration Museum that began in 2015. With collaborative ideas, we wanted to offer students the opportunity to show off their knowledge and understanding in a creative and meaningful way but also draw upon the new GCSE History migration themes. As the culmination of this, this inspiring competition was born.
The evening took place at the Migration Museum’s temporary home at the Workshop in Lambeth. The excellent ‘Turning Points’ exhibition has been designed with students in mind, and takes them on an interesting journey through seven key turning points in the history of migration to Britain.
Some of the teams even went so far as to organise themselves a day trip to London to see the exhibition for inspiration. Indeed, the exhibition itself drew upon advice from author and former teacher Martin Spafford, who also helped design the OCR migration specifications and authored one of the textbooks.
As one of the judging panel (along with OCR Sales and Director Chris Powley, Migration Museum curator Aditi Anand, and Park High School sixth form student Neha Tavra) he asked some very probing questions which drew out the best from the students.
The presentation evening wowed everyone in attendance. Each team had prepared so carefully and thoughtfully for their presentations, and the teams gave the judges some serious thinking to do in their deliberations. The judges commented on just how difficult it was to choose between four excellent teams with very different approaches to the museum exhibition content, design and presentation.
Equally impressive were the teams’ thoughtful answers to the tough questions the judges posed on the night. I was particularly struck by how articulate every member of each team was, and I hope that the preparations for the competition final itself have given all the teams a chance to practice valuable skills that will serve them well in the future.
As Michael Riley, Director of the Schools History Project commented:
"Brilliant presentations this evening from all the finalists in the Moving Stories competition. Great to meet students such knowledgeable and creative students."
This simple idea was transformed into a fantastic showcase of the talents of four inspiring sets of young people last month, the culmination of which was the announcement that a team from Aylesbury High School for Girls had triumphed.
For the three teams that didn’t win, from Framingham Earl High School, Lady Margaret School and Tiffin Girls’ School there was the satisfaction of having reached the final, presenting their ideas to a very special audience of authors, curators, politicians and campaigners, and there was even a very special message to wish the teams luck from BAFTA award winning actress Wunmi Musaku.
At the time, we all said it would be wonderful to be able to give the winners a once in a lifetime prize of a trip to New York, but we did wonder how realistic this would be. Happily, in July 2018 the winning team from Aylesbury High School will be jetting off to the Big Apple, with a special tour of the Tenement Museum, a trip to Ellis Island, and other exciting sights and trips that hopefully should make memories that will last a lifetime.
It was so pleasing for those of us at OCR and the Migration Museum who had created this competition, to see the genuine joy on the faces of the students, parents and teachers from the winning school, and equally so the recognition all teams whether in the final or not, got for their efforts.
We were thoroughly inspired by what we saw on the evening. Four sets of students representing their schools with pride, showing off the knowledge that they had built up about migration history from studying OCR’s GCSEs. To come along to London on an evening in April in the midst of everything else young people have to cope with nowadays, and for each team to put on such a display of confidence, intelligence and thoughtfulness was a truly wonderful sight to see.
Our hope at OCR is that future partnerships with the Migration Museum which give students opportunities to build on the enjoyment they have had in studying these important topics for the first time, will inspire more young people to find out about migration history, more schools to consider teaching these relevant themes, and for society in general to recognise the valuable contribution our young people, whoever they are, can make to our public discourse.
You can find out more about the Migration Museum here: http://www.migrationmuseum.org/, more about the OCR GCSE History courses here: http://www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/by-subject/history/ and please follow both @migrationuk and @OCR_History for updates, information and guidance.
All images © Hugo de la Rosa Paulet.
Asher Goodenough - Subject Specialist - History
Asher has worked at OCR since September 2015, and is a History Subject Specialist and also looks after Critical Thinking. His degree is in Modern History with a focus on British and American history since the 19th century. Previously, Asher was a teacher of History, Co-ordinator of Critical Thinking, and Head of History, working in schools in England and Germany. In his spare time he is an avid cricket, travel and cooking enthusiast.