Changes to the curriculum in 2013/14
As you will have been aware the curriculum for schools has been under constant government review and a number of changes have already come into effect. A few of these include;
- All GCSE examinations will now be examined through linear assessment, an exam at the end of the course.
- There are very little coursework assignments or controlled assessments in new specifications and only qualifications of full GCSE size will count. (The Academy used to offer short course, half qualifications in Citizenship and Religious Studies).
- There will be no opportunity for retakes in most subjects and modular examinations have been scrapped.
- As many parents are aware, the results nationally for English in 2012 were depressed compared to previous years. The syllabus for English has been changed considerably with much more stringent marking guidance.
The Academy also received an Ofsted inspection in October 2012. The overall judgement was “good and rapidly improving”. Recommendations were that we make amendments to the current school day in light of the new curriculum and the change to the buildings at the academy, as it felt that 50 minute single lessons were too short and double lessons were too long. The Academy had already been planning the removal of double lessons as these were a legacy of the need for staff to travel between two sites, which rarely happens now. As a result we have made changes to the Academy day for 2013/14.
- The Academy will move to five periods of one hour a day instead of six periods of 50 minutes.
- There will be no change to the start and finish times of the Academy day.
- Period one will start at 8.55 after a registration period starting at 8.45am; the tutor period will now be at the end of the day.
- There will be four periods in the morning and one period and a tutor / assembly time after lunch.
- English, maths and science will all receive additional teaching time; all KS4 option subjects will receive additional time.
- All students will be entered for English Language and English Literature.
- Religious Studies and citizenship will be taught in focus days at five points in the academic year rather than through one lesson per week. Religious Studies will also be offered as a full option subject for GCSE. The current Year 10 students who were on course to be entered for the full course qualification will be offered lunch or after school provision to complete this course.
- Level 3 students, in the Sixth Form, will now have one lesson for each A-level every day instead of three double lessons each week.
New timings of the school day will be:
Period 1 8.55-9.55
Period 2 9.55-10.55
Period 3 11.15-12.15
Period 4 12.15 – 1.15
Period 5 2.05-3.05
The Academy is committed to providing a stimulating curriculum which meets the needs of all learners and provides all students with the best possible chance of fulfilling their potential. We believe that the changes we have made will provide all students the best possible chance of achieving outstanding results in subjects which retain validity and therefore maximise their career prospects.
When your son or daughter receives their new timetable they may see that a number of classes have changed from the previous academic year. The new timetable structure has allowed us to set in English, mathematics and science independently. This will allow all students to be challenged effectively in all lessons. Previously, students were placed in a group which was a compromise of their overall ability across a number of subjects. We have also introduced pathways at Key Stage 3 with different allocations of subjects depending on ability level. The grammar students will now find that they are placed in the W band in Year 7 and 8, this band completes Key Stage 3 in two years and students will their GCSE studies in Year 9.