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How to boost pupil interest in resitting GCSE English?

Discussion in 'Heads of department' started by cuyocksol, Jul 5, 2018.

  1. cuyocksol

    cuyocksol New commenter

    I work in a sixth form where many pupils have to retake GCSE English (language) due to having not done well in secondary. We have one academic year to get their grades up. Many of the pupils come from backgrounds of relatively low parental education, and would consider themselves "not readers". It's typically hard to engage the pupils in this subject. They know they 'need' this qualification but feel that they're bad at English and are not very interested in the subject.

    At the teacher level there is necessary focus in lessons on passing the exams (Edexcel), but there isn't much time to try more creative ways to generate enthusiasm.

    I'm after suggestions on a HoD level - how to boost interest and engagement. I'm trying to think outside the box.

    Any pointers or links to other websites are gratefully accepted.

  2. dts

    dts Occasional commenter

    Have you tried delivering the skills through more "grown-up" content? It can feel quite demoralising to sit through the same content again when it didn't work the first time, and even more so if it now feels childish. You could teach a lot of the skills of close reading, writing for audience, etc. through life and employability skills. Perhaps Barclays Life Skills?
  3. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    Has it been discussed whether to deliver the curriculum in two years instead of one? Let those who were only a mark or two off sd a fast track, and the others take two years. This also avoids the resit twice difficulty, as if they fail it first resit they will only be less engaged next year when they have to do it again!
    cuyocksol likes this.
  4. gogogulliver

    gogogulliver New commenter

    I've found Functional Skills qualifications are a good stepping stone and reassure learners that they can do English. I've literally had people tell me that they've never been told they're good at English after doing perfectly good pieces of writing in FS lessons.

    I always sell it at enrolment as lowering the pressure for a year, going back over the basics and then going back to GCSE older and wiser. I have a spiel about lowering the pressure so they don't feel like they're always running to keep up and generally they respond well to that (with a look of manic relief).

    Sometimes throwing them back into GCSE isn't the right thing to do. If they're not confident in the basics, their attitude of "I can't do it" won't go away. Let them do GCSE in the second year if they need to and spend a year building up their foundations.

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