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History Common Entrance

Discussion in 'Independent' started by amigos, Jan 24, 2012.

  1. Hi,
    Just wondering if anyone has any info they can help me with.
    I am primary trained and work in a prep school - and will be teaching common entrance History next year.
    The school has no plans and I have been given very little information about it, apart from looking at past papers and on the internet.

    I was wondering if there are any training courses that teachers can attend to help them understand what needs to be taught for common entrance, and any text books etc that the students are meant to work through.

    any help greatly appreciated!
  2. Hi,
    Just wondering if anyone has any info they can help me with.
    I am primary trained and work in a prep school - and will be teaching common entrance History next year.
    The school has no plans and I have been given very little information about it, apart from looking at past papers and on the internet.

    I was wondering if there are any training courses that teachers can attend to help them understand what needs to be taught for common entrance, and any text books etc that the students are meant to work through.

    any help greatly appreciated!
  3. You will need to get hold of a syllabus & some text books or other resources. The ISEB (Independednt Schools Examination Board) is a good place to start & Galore Park supplies a lot of material for the ISEB. Look on the web. I am not a History teacher but you MAY find there is a choice of syllabus & your school has opted for a specific one.
    It is worth asking the school for sight of their SOW & the name of the text book(s) they are using too so that you can hit the ground running. You may not agree with what it says but at least you will have 'plan of action' in the first few weeks when every thing is new. I would imagine your HOD would be more than happy to help you get sorted in June / July if it helps the smooth running of the department in September.Beware though that the Independent sector has shorter terms that the state sector so you may need to sort all this out before the end of June. Common Entrance papers are taken in the week after summer Half term (if I remember rightly) so you are most likely to get given access to staff & resources at the end of June.
    I am assuming that the Common Entrance is for a boys' prep school. Check with your school to see if there are 'scholarship' exams that they pupils are entered into. These can be sat early in the Summer term. There may be different syllabuses for these papers too, depending on the target school.
    Hope a ll goes well - they shouldn't mind an email requesting resources or a visit to get sight of resources during the summer term.
  4. Hi
    I can send you all my notes etc. if you give me your email address. I also have some paper based resources & power points and useful website. Again more than happy to send if needs be.
    Oh if only there was a common entrance website that we could use...
  5. Ireton

    Ireton New commenter

    Hi Amigos,

    If you would like to email me/pm me I can send you lots of stuff, have been teaching the subject at CE and scholarship level for over 20 years so lots to chat about!
    Two areas to help you with - contact IAPS and ask them about their history subject leader, do the same with SATIPs as they both have staff to help out and coordinate material as well as giving up to date advice about any changes. Also, look at the ISEB web site, this is the examining board for Common Entrance and the Common Academic examinations. You will be able to download sample papers from them.
    History is a bit of a strange beast at CE level. Those teaching it have a choice of three areas to be examned in; 1066-1500, 1500 - 1750, 1750 - 1900. There is no 20th century option as they do enough of that at senior schools. The exam paper is based on English/British history and, for the present, has a source paper based on soemthing they have studied though the pupils may not have seen the sources before. The answers for these are based on the sources with the last two questions being pretty challenging; usually asking for utility and lots of inference. The essay are from a choice and come in two pasrts. A is usually straightforward, being a narrative reproduction of an event - battle, king's rule etc there is usually a wide choice. Part B is harder and the one that more academic schools placegreater emphasis on. In this part the pupils are asked to analyise the impact of the event/king/ etc in a - how successful was X, what were the consequences for the winning side.
    You'll see Galore Park mentioned and their books are very good for most pupils, though your most able ones will need more and Scholarship is very different and, in some senior schools, more akin to A level or first year at university - "Why do empires fail?" "Is the historian able to just interpret the past or do they always judge it?"etc etc....
    Let me know if I can help further.

    jax_sheridan likes this.
  6. Hi
    I was in the same position as you a couple of years ago. I have now taught both early areas of the syllabus, based on the Galore Park books. You need to get exam papers for CE and scholarship level - preferably for the main schools that your children move on to as the scholarship paper in particular can vary greatly. There is a huge choice of material but a limited number of questions on the topics! It is a great subject with lots of opportunities for creative teaching. Good luck!
    NC year 7 do a lot of similar middle-ages work - worth looking for National Curriculum sow to get started on topics.
  7. Hi,
    Am a similarly positioned panicking teacher, but an NQT and going in to teach history at common entrance where there is no scheme of work or lesson plans at all and I have never taught CE. They don't have galore text books but do have a plethora of other ones, I'm just not really sure where to start and how much detail to go into in each topic. I don't suppose you would be willing to send me some useful things would you? I would be forever grateful!! My email is sarah.hankinson"at"gmail.com

    Thank you thank you thank you!!
  8. trinity0097

    trinity0097 New commenter

    I can't help with specifics, as I teach Maths, but I would start by looking at History CE papers so that you know what is required. It is far more than you would have expected for Yr 8 children if you did your training in a state school. They have to be able to write well reasoned essays that you would normally expect from much older children.
    The most important thing for you to do though is find out which of the 3 topics they have already been studying, e.g. at our school they study to answer the Medevial section. Will you be the only history teacher, or are there others who teach CE History at the school that can help you out?
  9. I am not a History teacher but you MAY find there is a choice of syllabus & your school has opted for a specific one. [​IMG]
  10. Ireton

    Ireton New commenter


    Please pm me and I'll pass over what I've got. Are you teaching Year 7 and 8? Most schols begin their course then, but some do it from Year 6. Please note that from next year the exam is chaning and this may affect what you teach and how you teach it. Details are not available yet but keep an eye on the ISEB website for updates and ensure your Diector of Studies/Academic Deputy keep you fully informed.
    As I have written above the syllabus allows you to study the Medieval period, Tudors and Stuarts or 18th and 19th century. You can do some or all three but it does mean that in the exam your students will beturing pages over in the exam looking for questions. You will find that most schools will tend to ask their pupils to work on one of the areas. As for your syllabus and scheme of work that is really up to you. If doing the 18/19 period then it's hard and complicated to do a chronological study, I tend to focus on themes; military, social and economic change, political, art and architecture etc. If you choose the other two periods, I would argue in doing the chronological pattern but of course you can miss stuff out that you feel isn't necessary or would over complicate the learning process.
    In the exam there is a source paper which can be taxing in the final two questions requiring on occasions some pretty fine analyical skills, whilst the essays are in two parts; part A is a narrative of evenst whilst b requires the student to provide much more analysis of the event in A. This can be tricky and it's worth spending time exam spoting so the pupils can work out which one they can do justice on. It is also worth spending time getting the pupils to analyse stories rather than just learning them, this way analysis becomes second nature and it's oemthing we start in Year 5 to get the pupils realising that what they are reading is an interpretation not necessarily the truth!
    As CE history is one of the few subjest that demands an essay, this skill has to be leaned and developed. In some senior schools the B part of the essay is regraded as a seperate essay and you will find that weaker pupils can retell Agincourt in gory detail but then spend a few lines on the part B.

    Please pm me and I'll help as much as I can!
    Best wishes

  11. Hi there,

    This might be a long shot but I am also teaching CE history from y6-8 have no long term plans..I am also a bit confused by the syllabus.

    Can you help?

  12. Ameliakate123

    Ameliakate123 New commenter

    Hi there,

    I am making the transition from secondary to prep this September and having a bit of a wobble re stepping into the unknown. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  13. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    You'll be fine Amelia.
    Assuming you have taught to GCSE, then CE won't cause you a problem at all. You have all the subject knowledge already.

    Your biggest issue will be realising how clueless the younger children are about absolutely everything. "No of course Queen Victoria never saw a dinosaur!"
    "No the Romans didn't do battle with William the Conqueror!"
    It's sooooooo funny.

    Oh and getting over the fact that year 7 and 8 are not the sweet little ones you are used to, but the hulking great know it alls who are 'too cool for school'.

    Prep school is fab...I love it!
    sabrinakat likes this.
  14. Ireton

    Ireton New commenter

    Hi Amelia,
    As Caterpillartobutterfly says, you will be fine. The key thing I always look for is someone with a passion for the subject who really wants to make it come alive for the children. Moving from senior to prep may cause some issues in that my experience some staff tend to treat them like senior pupils,and this can cause issues. What age groups are you teaching to? If you are teaching down to year 5 or below, ensure you plan well and sort out plenty of differentiated material for the most able and weaker pupils. As for Yr 8, remember that they are top of the school, and if it has a prep prep which they attended, it is likely that they have been at the school for possible 9 years. This means that they often are given some responsibility and, in some ways, are grown up for their age. Coupled with this is CE/scholarship that is someway above KS3 requirements in history and in many ways is closer to GCSE level. There is a certain amount of hoop jumping but the good news is that you will be able to devise your own syllabus and tune it to the way you want to teach the subject.
    I have taught for many years in prep schools and it is a great age to teach!
    Good luck.
  15. jax_sheridan

    jax_sheridan New commenter

    I will be teaching CE history for the first time in September!!I am trying to get my head around it but not finding any really clear guidelines. Does anyone have any schemes of work or resources they would be willing to share?? I would seriously appreciate any help or guidance!!
  16. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Type ISEB 13+ common entrance history into google and it will give you the syllabus.
    The school should have some resources and might have a scheme of work already.
  17. jax_sheridan

    jax_sheridan New commenter

    Thank you - I have looked at this.
    The SOW of work mentions three time periods. I have seen that some schools study just one during year 7 and 8 and other schools choose to study two - for instance in the school I am joining they study "The Making of the uk" in year seven and then "Britain and Empire" in year 8. Is this what most schools would do?
    Thank you for any advice!
  18. jax_sheridan

    jax_sheridan New commenter

    Hello - not sure if you will see this but I would be really grateful for any resources! I am not sure how to send a personal message on tes!
  19. trinity0097

    trinity0097 New commenter

    You only need to answer a section A question on one time period, you then ignore the other two. The essay questions are sooooo vague you can answer them on any area you have studied.

    Other than this year which was too specific and asked about a battle Britain lost! Most pupils had prepared for a battle which we had won. Certainly threw our candidates who had studied the Armada.
  20. jax_sheridan

    jax_sheridan New commenter

    Thank you so much for your answer - are the students able to answer the evidence and essay question on the same time period or do you have to choose the evidence questions from a different time period?
    I was thinking of doing the Making of Britain and looking at this over the two years and the students would then answer the evidence questions on this - Mary I and Civil War next year but then also do their essay questions on this time period - so for instance the reformation for a religious question or the Spanish Armada/ Battle of Bosworth?
    Is this allowed? Thank you!

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