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Jumping to a three year ks4 for this September!

Discussion in 'Senior Leadership Team' started by mrsread, Apr 15, 2016.

  1. mrsread

    mrsread New commenter

    I know it's a bit of a rush but we think we can manage it - after a very long SLT meeting we've decided not to wait until September 17 to reduce impact the current year 8's. We'll need to send out options soon and meet with parents.
    I know a lot of schools already do it but and advice would be very appreciated.
    How well do yr 9's settle into the courses.
    Are they on the whole mature enough to cope with the pressure ect
    Is they any problems that we might have over looked?
  2. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    I no longer work in schools, but my niece is currently in Y10 and her school began her year group's KS4 when she entered Y9. Her perspective - and she's an extremely high ability student who is (according to her school) Oxbridge material - is as follows:

    * Some teachers dragged out topics in Y9 such that students were bored witless - this was particularly so in her favourite subject, history. She felt that it was over-taught.

    * Some teachers tested the students too much - they felt like they were being tested formally every couple of weeks.

    * Not enough guidance was given to students when they were looking at their options in Y8. My niece is an outstanding athlete (she's a national champion and record holder) and chose PE - which turned out, she sees now, to have been a bit pointless with regard to her future ambitions, etc.

    I hope this helps. Ask me if you think I can offer any more to help you.
  3. fineliner

    fineliner Occasional commenter

    I can't understand the need to do this. Surely if there is an issue with subject coverage then the content of the year 9 curriculum can be adapted to cover some of this. That way, pils would have a clearer understanding of the demands of the subject at GCSE level. I teach English so we are already on the new specs with year 10 and I find that there is so much time. Once the controlled assessments have gone all we need to do is teach.

    I know of colleagues in other schools who start GCSE English/lit in year 9 "because there is so much to get through" but this is really not my experience. The pupils will read the lit texts in year 9, then again in year 10 and then have year 11 to revise. I can't help thinking that this will be boring and will really narrow the curriculum. I think it is better to teach the whole of the subject for as long as possible before focusing on the content of the GCSE.
  4. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    Is there any evidence or data collected on the impact of doing so? If it's beneficial, I presume there is some reasonably solid evidence to show that?
  5. eljefeb90

    eljefeb90 Senior commenter

    You don't mention any of the criteria on which your SLT based their decision. We made the change last year to a 3 year KS4. It has been tough as specifications were not published (and our preferred option has still not appeared!). In our case, the main criterion was student motivation. Behaviour and motivation was poor in certain subjects in Year 9 as students started the options process in February and knew they wouldn't be doing several subjects. Having opted in Year 8, this tail off was lessened as the Year 8s were not quite as clued-up/cynical. The year 9s attitude has improved, I would say, and most have approached things more seriously and with renewed purpose. However, many students are now dragooned into subjects they wouldn't have taken thanks to Progress 8 and this has led to serious behaviour issues with certain groups in some subjects (Humanities/MFL). It also seems common sense to devote more time to those subjects on which students will be tested. You haven't left much time to consult with parents, advise students (who are mostly too immature to make options choices) and then sort out the staffing. Is it really feasible to do this in April?
  6. MrsArmitage

    MrsArmitage Occasional commenter

    I know as a classroom teacher, this isn't my forum, but this is an issue which is making me consider my career options. Three year ks4 was landed on us with minimal notice too and now I face the following problems,
    1. Year 11 taking the old subject spec over 2 years
    2. Year 10 taking the new spec over 2 years
    3. Year 9 taking the new spec over three years
    And me being the only teacher of this subject (and not being a specialist) being told I will plan all this on my own. I have absolutely no idea what to do with that extra year as its not a subject taught below ks4. I should imagine this is the case in other schools too. Never mind if the kids are prepared, what about the staff who'll be doing all the work? How will you support them?
    install likes this.
  7. install

    install Star commenter

    Unfortunately, this is another example of 'reactions' by some Headteachers in some schools.

    Discussions such as 'In my son's school' usually come up around this topic without any appreciation of the actual students involved.
    Whatever the key stage, it is the skills that matter and a consolidation of those skills...

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