Natural History GCSE: Confirmed

Mary Colwell, Caroline Lucas and Tim Oates at the Natural History Museum in London on the 21st of April 2022 for the official announcement of the new GCSE in Natural History.

“A GCSE in Natural History is a unique opportunity for young people to engage with wildlife in a structured, guided way, to learn the skills of a naturalist at a time when we need them more than ever. I am so delighted it is, at last, a reality.” - Mary Colwell


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Over the last 40 years the UK has lost 50% of the mass of its wildlife. Half as many birds, insects, mammals, wildflowers and amphibians live alongside us. Bird song has thinned, the buzz around the flowers is quieter and there is less colour in the fields. But we can’t protect or value what we cannot see or don’t understand.

British children are more removed from nature than at any other point in our history, exactly at the time when we are losing wildlife and feeling the effects of a changing climate. We need smart, capable, knowledgeable, practical people to know and understand wildlife and what it needs. In other words, we need to be nurturing the naturalists of the future – decision makers who will work for the good of all life on earth. By placing Natural History at the heart of education we will make sure all children can learn about nature throughout their education, wherever they live.

Mary Colwell has spearheaded the campaign and the GCSE in Natural History is now at the stage of awaiting final approval from the Department of Education. It has been a long road to get to this point, but we are hoping for a decision very soon. The exam board OCR have been wonderful in pushing this through the right channels and getting us to this point and we would like to thank them for their support. Caroline Lucas has also been a tremendous supporter in helping us navigate the world of politics.

Back in June, OCR launched a public consultation to see what people thought of the idea, Click here to replay the online seminar that launched the consultation on introducing a GCSE in natural History. The seminar took place on 4th June 2021, with our Director, Mary Colwell, giving a presentation and being part of the panel discussion.

Take the quiz!

The Guardian

Can you spot a Grampy pig?

Our Director Mary Colwell has been interviewed for The Observer / Guardian about plans for introducing a GCSE in Natural History. Click below to take a quiz to find out how you might fare in a GCSE!

“We think there's a gap in the curriculum that isn't encouraging a connection with the natural world, and 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 for the future.” - Jill Duffy, CEO, OCR

If we get the go-ahead, actually, let’s make that WHEN we get the go-ahead, the syllabus will be overseen by the Oxford and Cambridge Exam Board (OCR) and they have published a Podcast explaining the background to what they are developing.

For more information about the GCSE, please visit the OCR website.

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