In this section:
THE LANGDON SECONDARY PHASE CURRICULUM
OfSTED [February 2013] were rightly critical of curriculum arrangements inherited from previous years, which could not be ‘undone’ this academic year, and which, despite our 5A*C [including English and maths] being at the national average, impacted negatively on some of our students.
This is an update on where we have got to on addressing the issues, and the next steps we are taking.
Exam entry: in September 2013, we ended the previous policy of early GCSE exam entry; from now onwards, unless we decide there is a very good case otherwise, every student does a full study programme before being entered for exams
- KS4 curriculum: we ‘inherited’ arrangements for Y11 which were not helpful. Too many students were missing part of their core studies due to the way offsite arrangements were organised, and some students’ pathways had not taken their prior attainment into account. Others were disadvantaged by the previous policy of early entry, particularly in science. Whilst we could not remedy this for Y11, we have adjusted arrangements for Y10, and our KS4 curriculum for the current Y9 is now set up in line with normal practice in other schools, with proper ‘pathways’
- Timetable/School Day: at the earliest possible date this year [January 2013] we replaced our excessively long lessons [3 x 100 minute lessons a day] with a more traditional timetable [4 x75 minutes a day]. This will help sharpen the focus on learning [see the section on Teaching]. In future years, we will consider the model most schools use [5 x 60 minutes a day]. There is no change to the start or finish times of the day
- Tutorial time: our half hour tutor sessions weren’t always a good use of learning time, so we’re moving to covering Personal, Social & Health Education [PSHE] topics through careful mapping of topics through other subjects, & suspended timetable events[‘Drop-Down Days’] where we run tightly-organised learning sessions on key topics. This isn’t in place yet, but is being planned for September
- Social, Moral, Spiritual & Cultural learning [SMSC]: we want students to think about their responsibilities to others, their place in the world, & the great moral & spiritual traditions. We do some of this well, but will systematically ‘map’ of how we cover these issues across different subject areas for the coming academic year
- Literacy and Numeracy curriculum: inspectors rightly identified that, whilst students typically make good progress in English and maths, there isn’t a systematic approach to developing these areas across the curriculum. The mapping of this provision begins for the coming academic year. Whilst inspectors did not identify it as an issue, we are also revising our approach to SEN provision, so we have a more focused approach to working with students who arrive with particularly low literacy levels. This will require additional staffing or staff training, so will form part of our forward planning on budget
- Revision & study support: many students [particularly Y11] work at lunchtime & after school on ‘learning gaps’ we’ve identified as barriers to them hitting their GCSE targets. These extra sessions will continue, as will holiday revision sessions, using our ‘Pupil Premium’ money. We are, however, looking at effective use of lesson time, as another way of maximising learning [see Teaching section]. As inspectors noted, whilst we introduced a proper system for tracking this autumn [there was nothing in place at the time], our next step is about using this information for interventions with underachievers. That is the next step on our action plan
- Extension activities: we run a wide range of sporting & other learning activities. As timings & locations are variable due to our building works, we’ve taken the activities list off the website, but these are advertised around school, &, from January 2013, in our new weekly newsletter [which is also on this website]