14 Feb Academic Update – February 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
As we come to the midpoint of the academic year and just as the busiest period is about to begin with the final push toward the GCSE and A Level exams, it is a good time to pause and reflect on the academic accomplishments so far this year.
3 Cert – Years 7 and 8
Congratulations to all the students who are making excellent progress across the curriculum. Year Leaders and Curriculum Leaders are busy celebrating and presenting certificates in recognition of the academic achievements so far this year.
Please take the break to review the ‘I Can Booklet’ with your son/daughter and use the holiday as an opportunity to set new targets and explore ways in which you can use the online programmes such as GCSEPod, Hegarty Maths, SAM Learning and Smart Homework to continue to inspire, challenge and support independent learning.
Students will also have targets from the Learning Coach Consultation Day. If you are uncertain about where to find materials, email the teachers directly – it is easy to find their email addresses – ask your son / daughter to log onto their email account, then simply enter the surname of the teacher in the ‘to’ box.
Year 8 Options
Please make sure you read the options letter when it comes out and book the date in your diary for the parents / options evening. The best piece of advice we can give Year 8 students at present is to work their hardest in every subject, this will help them gain an understanding of where their strengths and weaknesses really lie. If they truly get to know themselves and their abilities, they will be best placed to make good option choices.
Throughout March, your son / daughter will be experiencing taster lessons in a range of new subjects including: Health and Fitness, Creative iMedia, Media Studies, Business Studies and Economics. All other option subjects will run ‘taster sessions’ too allowing students the opportunity to experience the full offer at GCSE. We want to ensure that we give them as much information as they need to help them make the best choices for the next stage in their academic journey with us.
Now that we are six months into GCSE courses, it would be helpful to have a specific focus with your son / daughter on writing answers to extended exam questions, as this is a key feature of the reformed GCSE 9-1 specifications. Students need to write more, and there are more marks for spelling, punctuation and grammar. Look at exam questions together from the exam boards’ websites so that your son / daughter can familiarise themselves with the challenges that lie ahead.
The key focus for Year 10 students at present is RE, as they now have approximately three months left before their full GCSE exams. There are lots of interventions open to them so ask them to look into this with their RE teachers.
Finally, a question – Do you know your son / daughter’s mock exam grade from December? Ask them what they need to do to improve, and ask them to be specific about the subject content and skills involved.
In the all-important run up to the final GCSE exams, it is vital that students have a positive mindset, so nobody should be thinking ‘It’s too late. I may as well give up.’ Students should believe that in the next three to four months, a lot of progress can be made, and they can achieve the grades of which they are capable.
Firstly, a question – Do you know your son / daughter’s mock exam grades? What are the key things they need to focus on to improve?
To help answer the questions above, students have received ‘PLCs’ (Personalised Learning Checklists) from many of their subject areas, to help them identify their strengths and weaknesses in each course. These are very helpful in identifying where the focus of the students’ revision needs to lie over the final few months.
Ensure that your son / daughter has a clear and realistic revision timetable in place from Easter to June. Here is a simple revision timetable that you can print off if you wish: https://www.distance-learning-centre.co.uk/images/revision%20timetable.pdf
There is also an intervention timetable on the website, is your child attending these sessions?
Vice Principal – Quality of Education