Academic Update – 15th February 2019

Academic Update – 15th February 2019

Dear Parents and Carers,

As this is one of the busiest times of the year, I thought I would give you some year group-specific advice and updates regarding your son / daughter’s academic progress, and how you can best support them at this time.

Year 7 / 8

  • Have another read through the ‘I can’ booklet’ you may have received previously, then go back over the specific targets that teachers set, and the resources they mentioned that will help the students to progress. You 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 if you ask your son / daughter to log onto their email account, then simply enter the surname of the teacher in the ‘to’ box.
  • The more progress your son / daughter makes, the more likely they are to achieve their target certificates in every subject at the end of Year 8, so they should be trying their hardest.

Year 8

  • 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 for Year 8 students at present is to work their hardest in every subject, building knowledge about themselves, i.e. where their strengths and weaknesses really lie in each subject. If they know themselves and their abilities inside out, they will be best placed to make good option choices.   
  • Your son / daughter will be experiencing taster lessons in a range of subjects between now and March 15th, including Childcare & Development, Health and Fitness, Creative iMedia, Media Studies, Business Studies and Economics. All other option subjects will be talking your son or daughter through the GCSE spec during lessons as well.

Year 9

  • 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 Year 9 option booklet is openly available on the website if you want to know which exam board individual subjects are following.

Year 10

  • The key focus for Year 10 students at present is RE, as they now have about 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.

Year 11

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?

Sixth Form

In the all-important run up to the final A Level exams, it is vital that students have a positive mindset, so nobody should be thinking ‘It’s too late’. 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.

  • You have just had parents evening so please do ask the students about the comments made at this time. What have they put into place since?
  • To help answer the question 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 February to June.
  • As a general rule, Sixth Form students should be completing a minimum of five hours per week per subject of IL, so please do try to ensure that this volume of work is actually taking place. It really is necessary to maximise achievement.

I hope this guidance is helpful and look forward to seeing the students again after a restful half term break.

Kind regards,

Mr Ainsworth
Acting Vice Principal – Curriculum

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