A licence to kill off exam boredom

18th April 2008 at 01:00
Iraq, March 19, 2003. Somewhere north of Baghdad, a burning helicopter gunship is about to make a secret drop. Britain's deadliest agent has been sent to "take out" Saddam Hussein. He has just 45 minutes to save the world ...

This, or something like it, could soon be creeping into exam scripts as GCSE syllabuses face the biggest shake-up for 20 years. History candidates will be expected to answer questions such as, "What is the significance of the Iraq war?" Candidates sitting media studies could be asked to analyse stunts from James Bond films. If nothing else, the changes should produce a rich new crop of exam howlers. No, Osama Bin Laden did not say, "Do I look like I give a damn?" It was Bond, James Bond.

Teachers are certain to seize upon the changes as an opportunity to engage their pupils and reinvigorate their subjects. Geographers will be able to debate the merits of sustainability and the effects of climate change, while drama students will be able to specialise in backstage activities such as lighting, or costume and set design.

Inevitably, die-hard traditionalists will claim the changes are dumbing down the curriculum. But the alternative is a syllabus which becomes increasingly backward looking and of ever-diminishing relevance to children in an ever-changing world.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today