This class is understandably demoralised with your subject. They are likely to fail it. It pains me to say this cliche, but these kids need more confidence--not in themselves, but in their ability to do your subject. You need to cheat. Just a little. Give them an internal assessment; an end of unit test (i.e, not a real test). Before you give it to them, read it yourself, and teach them a revision lesson "to the test" just before the test, giving them that little bit more of an advantage. They won't do brilliantly, but they'll get something that might just make them question their own conviction that they'll fail. You need to be completely blase when they get back their test papers. They a big red "C" marked on the front of their test, not "E" for a change. Euphoria takes hold. They boast to their friend within your vicinity, and you subtly drop in the words, "it's not good enough for me", walk off, and hide the smug feeling inside that you're starting to win the fight. Hyperbole? Perhaps, but there's certainly something in giving them a little confidence in your subject. Of course, you know this grade will be an inflated grade for what they'll get in the real McCoy, but you'll win some on side, and bring them up to what they should get. Might be worth doing some compulsory after school revision lessons. The lessons them selves may not be the real changer, per se, but that the kids see you as someone who genuinely cares about their education, and not someone who pays lip-service to caring. Play this card with care: only play it if you're confident you'll be able to squeeze the good majority into coming. Get support from SMT to punish/chase any child that does not attend your after school revision, after all you're doing free work. If you think, even for a moment, that many will not come, SMT won't support, and you'll be overwhelmed in punishing them don't do it, you'll loose face. Managing bad behaviour is always easier when you pretend it's not happening*. Not much learning takes place, but I've seen a few teachers pull this off without SMT noticing; in fact, these teachers tend to do well because they don't pass things onto SMT. That's not you. You'd rather feel terrible after fighting with these beasts and loosing, than not fighting for their education at all. You're a martyr. For that... I salute you.