Phenomenal response to consultation on creating a GCSE in Natural History

a badger in a woodland

More than two thousand people and organisations have added their voices to a consultation on creating a GCSE in Natural History.

The six-week consultation run by OCR, our UK exam board, has now closed. Hundreds of advocates for the subject took part in the online launch of the consultation on 4 June 2020 (watch again) and took to Twitter to share their support and encourage others to do the same using #GCSENaturalHistory

The level of engagement in the consultation has been fantastic. OCR received over two thousand responses for the main consultation from a variety of interested parties including environmental and education organisations, teachers and parents. To make it as easy as possible for students to share their views OCR also ran a bespoke consultation for young people and received 200 responses. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to share their views, all comments have provided valuable evidence to support the proposal being presented to the Department for Education and Ofqual.

The consultation took place in response to the call for developing a GCSE in Natural History.  Last year we were approached by naturalist Mary Colwell, who has been spearheading a campaign to address the gap in natural history content in education for a number of years. Since then we have been working closely with Mary, the Natural History Museum, the Eden Project and many others to understand the purpose and themes of such a qualification.

As Jill Duffy, Chief Executive of OCR explained: “We think there's a gap in the curriculum that isn't encouraging a connection with the natural world. At the same time, we know that young people are very much engaged in the debate on the environment and they understand what their role should be and could be in protecting it for the future.”

The consultation has received a lot of support from key advocates and from leading environmentalists and organisations, as well as media coverage. Organisations supporting the consultation include:

Logos of organisations supporting the consultation into creating a GCSE in Natural History

With the consultation now closed, we are reviewing all of the feedback received and the responses are helping inform the next steps. The next stage will see OCR publish its consultation findings and submit a proposal for a GCSE in Natural History to the Department for Education.

Timeline of key milestones for the creation of a GCSE in Natural History

To be kept informed with the latest from OCR on our Natural History proposal sign up for email updates.

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