Aim: To narrow the gender gap in attainment and achieve 75% of students gaining A*-C grade at GCSE. To create homework booklets to develop analysis and evaluation skills.

Background: This project was chosen in response to the new Progress 8 measures and to weaknesses highlighted in internal school data. The gender gap was 19% at the start of the project and analytical skills were a barrier to success for many pupils.


Year 1:

Homework booklets were created for each unit using past paper GCSE questions that increased in difficulty throughout. The booklets were designed to provide practice, opportunities for development, personalised feedback and motivation through demonstrating progress. They were also intended as a useful revision resource. It quickly became clear that pupils’ main area for improvement was source-based questions, which teachers were then able to focus on. Pupil surveys showed that 88% of Year 10 pupils thought that the booklet had aided their learning. 75% of pupils gained an A*-C grade, with 77% of mid-ability boys gaining a grade of C or above.

Year 2 :

The homework booklets were assessed by the department and it was found that, while the most able excelled with them, middle-ability students did not see such a big improvement. As a consequence, differentiated homework booklets were created with a greater focus on literacy and an intervention programme focused on giving extra support to a target group. A trip took students to the Imperial War Museum. 72% of students gained an A*-C grade overall, and boys slightly out-performed girls with their progress score standing at 0.44 (0.42 for girls).

Year 3:

The impact of the homework booklets was assessed, and boys slightly outperformed girls. The Imperial War Museum trip was extended to 100 pupils and it served to improve Year 9 students’ knowledge of the Cold War. An honours programme received very positive feedback, with pupils confident about exam requirements and pleased with mock results. Predictions based on mock exams show progress at 0.5.

Evidence: Pupil surveys, attainment (generally, and of boys), pupils’ knowledge of exam requirements.

Impact: Staff responded well to the homework booklets and appreciated that homework was centralised. They were able to give detailed feedback in homework booklets, leading to better performance in the source-based paper. Attainment improved across the board, in particular that of boys and high achievers. The number of pupils opting for GCSE History increased, and their knowledge of exam requirements improved. Interventions for middle-ability boys aided them in organising their revision.

Reflections: Knowledge of how to apply the mark scheme is key to providing accurate and relevant feedback. If staff are willing to become examiners, it makes the process much more successful.

Contact: Jamie King, Subject Leader for History,