Commentary - 4 minute read
Ruth Carter, OCR Stakeholder Relationships Manager
It’s amazing to see the response we’ve had to the GCSE Natural History consultation so far. Since the launch, held on June 4, we’ve had over 2,000 completed responses.
You can take part in the consultation until midnight 19 July 2020. Thank you to everyone who has been helping spread the word!
In my role, as Stakeholder Relationships Manager here at OCR, I’m discussing the consultation with many interested and enthusiastic experts and organisations.
I’m speaking with people whose specialisms are incredibly fascinating and diverse like Ben who has a PhD on Chemical Communication in Wasps (he discovered their alarm pheromone and what makes them sting) and Seryana regarding British BAME participation, inclusion and context.
The specialisms of these stakeholders are incredibly fascinating and diverse, and they all want to find out how they can help with the development of the proposed qualification. The support we’ve been offered so far is amazing.
We’ve worked hard to promote the consultation to ensure we get as many different people as we can from a wide range of backgrounds taking part. It’s great to see how much press coverage we are getting and seeing the conversations taking place in social media.
Throughout the whole process and leading up to our consultation launch I ensured we engaged with young people and arranged for student representation. We also have Teach the Future students as members on our Natural History GCSE Strategic Advisory Board.
To make it as easy as possible for students to share their views, we’ve also created a student consultation specifically tailored for young people. This is vitally important as it is their future and we need to connect and respond to their needs.
During the launch event we had a phenomenal amount of engagement from our audience – it was great to see the passion, commitment and enthusiasm from everyone and we had lots of questions asked during the event. These questions have been valuable – so thank you to everyone who contributed.
As we are still in the early stages of the project, we are not able to answer all the questions right now. For example, answers about the content of the qualification and how it will fit into a school curriculum, will be dependent on the outcomes of our consultation, engagement with the Department for Education and Ofqual, plus the later steps in the process.
Don’t worry though, we have collated all the questions we were asked and will ensure that they are taken into consideration. In the meantime, here are our top FAQs.
I’m extremely excited to be working on this proposal as I have a keen interest in the world around me (since a small child when my mum would tell me the names of plants and trees). I always plan my garden to ensure I’m drawing in pollinators and wildlife (we put in a pond this year) and we are trying to be plastic free family.
I have always been drawn to nature, but in the last few years I’ve really had my eyes opened to the impact humans are having on the world. It’s been this realisation which has started my journey to zero waste and to try hopefully to encourage others to do the same.
I am a member of the Cambridge Assessment Environment Staff Network and it’s been great to connect and work with likeminded colleagues. We’ve recently received the great news that we have been recognised for a silver award this year by the University's environmental accreditation scheme Green Impact for the work we have been doing as an organisation towards reducing our environmental impact. I was also thrilled to receive the Sustainability Hero Award for setting up a Zero Waste pop up shop at work. In addition I have also set up an empty crisp packet recycling scheme in the office – my husband despairs that the car boot is always full of empty crisp packets to take to the Terracycle scheme run by Guide Dogs for the Blind!
I’m thoroughly enjoying engaging with stakeholders to gain their support, insight and expertise in order to offer young people the skills and knowledge they need for the future, combined with my personal passion for the natural world.
Let me know what you think a Natural History qualification would bring to your classroom in the comments below. If you have any questions email NaturalHistory@ocr.org.uk.
You can sign up for email updates and to receive latest information on our GCSE Natural History consultation.
Ruth Carter is Stakeholder Relationships Manager in the Policy Team at OCR. Ruth joined OCR in 2002 and has wide-ranging experience in education, curriculum, assessment and qualifications. She engages with employers, professional bodies and key stakeholders to ensure that OCR products have the appropriate levels of recognition, support and/or endorsement. Her recent work has involved liaising with stakeholders to gain insight for OCR’s proposed GCSE in Natural History.