David Mansfield welcomes a versatile secondary package
These two spiral-bound publications provide a flexible collection of resources which will support any course, however it is structured. They are essentially photocopiable materials with simple lesson plans included to support form tutors or non-specialist use.
They follow a very similar format in four sections (personal management; healthy, safer lifestyle; relationships and diversity; and active citizenship), divided into topics which in turn break down into individual lessons.
The worksheet and information sheet format, inevitably in black and white only, will become repetitious unless supported by other materials. But some creative and challenging ideas are to be found. The unit on immigration and asylum-seekers is well structured, offering clear definitions, and provides historical context and a good exercise in opinion formation.
The lessons allow local studies to be undertaken and then cleverly set up a class debate on asylum in a democratic society. Writing frames are used extensively to develop necessary thinking skills, and the link to the next unit, on discrimination, is coherently constructed.
The whole unit is set within the topic of "Researching a political issue", so encouraging students to address a key issue of national significance within the context of developing internet research skills, accessing, noting, evaluating and sharing data, and making contacts with others online.
The materials therefore have sound content and a good methodological foundation which means knowledge and skills will be developed in well-guided learning activities.
The thinking behind this package is extensive and the books deserve a wide audience. They will at least provide a good starting point for hard-pressed non-specialists.
Some will find the design of some of the resources a little amateurish, and it will certainly not create much of a "wow!" factor with 9Z on Thursday afternoon, but this is well-thought-through cost-effective skills-based material written by practitioners for practitioners and suitable for the full ability range.
David Mansfield is headteacher of Southend High School for Girls