Cambridge Nationals

Cambridge Nationals: Networks and Best Practice

Posted by Sarah Ash on 21-Nov-2018 09:00:51
Sarah Ash

In this blog I will address how OCR will support you in to two key areas:

  • The opportunity for teachers to work with one another via local networks, so that they can build relationships and share expertise and best practice
  • The support that OCR offers to make sure that teachers are confident in their delivery and assessment of our courses.

I am a former teacher of Health and Social Care. Now I work as a Subject Advisor and my subject includes both Cambridge Nationals and Cambridge Technicals. There are many things that I really enjoy about Cambridge Nationals; the variety of the content within the units, how straightforward they are to deliver and also that the content is accessible to learners and to teachers (whether this is your main subject area or not).

Learners can thrive in an applied subject that will support them to fulfil their future aspirations. At OCR we are determined to support teachers so that they are able to deliver a high quality course that embeds the values and skills that will enable learners to succeed in their chosen careers.

Opportunities to network with other teachers

OCR offers network meetings that are promoted and booked on Eventbrite. Network events can be organised at a time that is convenient to a group of schools that are geographically close to one another. They last for two hours and are held either in the morning, afternoon or evening. Most importantly these meetings are an opportunity for teachers to get to know one another and to exchange ideas about best practice around course delivery, marking and moderation.

The network event is designed to be a basis from which ongoing relationships are forged, so that teachers can continue to share ideas and resources once the event is over.

Support offered by OCR

There are three main ways in which OCR offers direct support for course delivery and assessment. Firstly, there are a number of free continuing professional development (CPD) events that teachers can sign up for. These are offered either face to face, or else online as webinars. Whatever route you choose for CPD, there is an opportunity to ask questions from the specialist who delivers the course. If you miss an online CPD event you can download a recording of it.

Secondly, we are aware that some learners can find exams challenging and in response to this we have created the ExamBuilder platform where you can build your own mock papers or find targeted revision questions. This gives you an opportunity to build your learners confidence in the types of questions they will be answering.

In addition to this we publish Examiner’s Reports and the Combined Feedback Reports that are available either on Interchange or our main website. The reports help you to understand the common errors and areas of strength that were found in each exam series. You can use these documents to give you a more precise understanding of the specification and the areas where students might need more support or different approaches to take with delivery and revision.

Thirdly, we recognise that the delivery and assessment of internal units is also challenging. To support you with this we have created candidate exemplars for our most commonly chosen units. These are exemplars of real candidate work offer you the opportunity to examine the moderator’s responses and grading to further inform your own marking.

Finally, particularly for new centres (although all centres have the opportunity to request this) we encourage centres to take the opportunity for an advisory support call. This can be booked via an ‘Advisory Support Call Form’ that can be downloaded from the ‘Forms’ section of any of the subjects web pages. This will offer you the opportunity to speak with a Lead or Principal moderator and to clarify any areas of uncertainty.

Get in touch

Share your experiences and submit your comments below. If you have any specific questions, email us at and for regular updates sign up for email updates or follow us on Twitter @OCR_Vocational.

About the author

Sarah Ash - Subject Advisor

Sarah was a teacher of Health and Social Care for ten years. This is her main subject area and her degree and PGCE qualifications are in this subject. She has also taught Child Development along with a number of other subjects at KS3 and moderated on the A level Health and Social Care for another awarding body. Sarah worked in secondary schools and a sixth form college in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex teaching KS4 and KS5 and as a teacher in a care home for young people aged 16-18 and supported them in preparing to leave care. She now works as a Subject Advisor in our Cambridge offices.

Topics: Cambridge Nationals

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