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Are you an advocate of ‘Fat’ or ‘Thin’ GCSEs? Frederick Soddy Award to support fieldwork.

H Head Working Cliff

Geography without fieldwork is unthinkable.  Getting GCSE students out to collect primary fieldwork data is a minefield, but thanks to a Frederick Soddy Award, we were able to take our students a little further afield this year.  I’d recommend putting in a bid!

HHead Working

So, over the next three days (starting this morning!) Year 10 headed to Hengistbury Head to collect data.  Getting out to an inspiring location and one that contrasts with their own, means that young people not only meet the conditions of the Specification, the also develop as people.  This is what I call the ‘fat GCSE’ that we try to give. Let me explain:

  • ‘Thin’ GCSEs do not develop independent learning or personal qualities (Like collaboration above). This could be caused by spoon feeding. ‘Thin’ GCSEs may allow lots of resists, (personally I’m not a fan of modular GCSEs) redrafts………
  • ‘Fat’ GCSEs develop independent learning and personal qualities. One way to do this is to get young people outside and working together on a common problem.  We may have given them some data sheets (with added flaws!) but they had to decide the question.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t teach exam technique or help students succeed, just that, well, learning should be hard every now and again! Do you agree? What are the barriers in giving ‘Fat’ GCSEs?

Fieldtrips are also good times for ice cream and coffee Winking smile :

Ice cream H Head


  1. Haven't you changed your shirt since Guildford ? ;)

  2. All good field visits end with ice cream - even in the rain :)



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