Oxford History for GCSE series
By JA Cloake. Oxford University Press. Price: pound;9.50. Tel: 01536 741068. www.OxfordSecondary.co.uk
This text was updated in 2002 to meet the requirements of the revised specifications. It provides excellent coverage of all the main themes. Each of the 20 chapters is based on a sharply focused enquiry, and supporting questions at the beginning of each chapter help students to unpick the larger issue. A distinctive feature of the book is the inclusion of substantial extracts from the writing of different historians.
The activities take the form of questions related to the material in individual chapters. Some activities are labelled "research", but it is hard to see how these differ from other questions used in the book. It is a pity that the activities do not include more motivating tasks that would allow students to engage creatively with the enquiry questions.
Layout is clear and varied. Students and their teachers will enjoy the wide range of fascinating visual sources. Subheadings provide help in reading the text, but greater consistency in the use of colour for different features would have ensured even greater readability.
A detailed and solid text that contains some fascinating material. However, you will need to think hard about designing your own learning activities if you decide to use it with your GCSE class.