Exploring nature in education: Developing a Natural History GCSE

Exploring nature in education: Developing a Natural History GCSE teenager taking photos of wildlife
Date: 13 May 2021 Venue: Online
Time: 12:30 - 13:30
Type: Seminar Fee: Free

Environmentalist and campaigner Mary Colwell began working to address a gap in education content in relation to nature and our environment nearly 10 years ago. In 2019 she began exploring how to make this vision a reality and gathered the support of MPs, environmental organisations and over 10,000 signatures on a UK Parliament Petition for the development of the secondary school curriculum. 

With the support of Tim Oates CBE, Director of Assessment Research and Development, Mary has worked closely with OCR and Cambridge Assessment, the Natural History Museum, The Wildlife Trusts and others to explore the purpose, design and delivery of a GCSE in Natural History. In 2020 a proposal was submitted to the Department for Education (DfE) for the development of this new qualification.

At this Cambridge Assessment Network seminar, Mary will address her reasons for embarking on this campaign, including the lack of understanding of nature and its impact, the challenges we face in the future and the important role education can play in overcoming them.

She will be joined by Tim Oates to discuss the process of developing a proposal around this new qualification and the steps involved in helping to shape early thinking about what a Natural History GCSE might look like.

Please note: If you have already booked for this seminar when it was due to be held on the 27 April, you do not need to re-book and we will send you joining instructions three days before the seminar.

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About Cambridge Assessment Network seminars

Our seminars are an important part of what we do as the Assessment Network. Through inviting authoritative voices in education to share their expertise, our aim is to inform and stimulate debate on current issues in assessment and education policy.

As well boosting your CPD, these free events are an opportunity to ask questions and share insights with other professionals from the wider education community and around the world!

About the speaker

Mary Colwell - speaker - image

Mary Colwell is an author, producer and campaigner for nature. Her articles have appeared in the Guardian, BBC Wildlife Magazine, The Tablet, Country Life and many other publications. 

She has made documentaries for the BBC Natural History Unit in both TV and radio, and has published three books: John Muir – the Scotsman Who Saved America’s Wild Places in 2014, by Lion Hudson, Curlew Moon in April 2018, by William Collins, and Beak Tooth and Claw, also published by William Collins, due in April 2021. 

In 2009 she won a Sony Radio Academy Gold award and in October 2017 she was awarded the Dilys Breese Medal by the BTO for outstanding science communication. In 2018 she received the David Bellamy Award from the Gamekeepers Association for her conservation work on curlews and in 2019, the WWT Marsh Award for Conservation. 

She has spearheaded the campaign for the establishment of a GCSE in Natural History and has been working closely with Cambridge Assessment and OCR throughout the consultation period.

In March 2021 she was appointed Chair of the government supported Curlew Recovery Partnership England, a roundtable of organisations charged with restoring curlews, their habitats and associated wildlife across England. In 2020 she set up the charity, Curlew Action.

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