24th June 2020
Good afternoon. Here's the latest update from Mr Rouse.
Returning year 10s and 12s
It is lovely to have the year 10s and 12s returning now in small numbers as they are invited in for sessions by their subject teachers. The majority of year 10s who are being invited in are coming in, and if you are invited we would strongly urge you to take up your place as it means your teacher has specifically requested you to come in. Students that are not coming in when invited multiple times will stop being invited and places offered to others, so don't lose out! A reminder that year 10 and 12 invitations to sessions in school are sent to one email address only (the person down as first contact for your daughter or son), so please ensure you check all family accounts if you are not sure who that is, and check regularly as we send out invites about a week before the sessions are run.
Those students who have been in for the first three days are already saying how much it is helping them engage with the work that has been set on Teams as they get support from a subject specialist teacher. They are saying they are definitely coming back for more when invited.
All our year 12s are coming in when invited, and it is a reminder to me of the benefits of a small sixth form! Students are getting small group support and racing ahead when I know that larger colleges are not able to have such a large proportion of their year group in due to size. For us, due to small class sizes, we are able to have entire classes in at the same time. As these restrictions potentially carry on into the future, I would urge year 11 and year 10 students to strongly consider the outstanding provision our sixth form offers.
Class sets for next year
As we turn our attention to next year, it is still too early to say exactly what September will be like, but we are planning assuming that everyone will be back quite quickly and we can adapt our plans if this is not the case. We may need to communicate these plans over the summer break if the national picture changes during August, so do keep checking your emails regularly. With regards to class sets for September, we would normally make some changes. However, we intend to do very little in terms of set changes for September and keep groups together for the start of the year. The only exception to this is, of course, year 9 going in to year 10, as the curriculum changes dramatically as some subjects are dropped and new ones started with the beginning of key stage 4. Year 9 parents will have been contacted about their daughter's final option choices for September, and the maths, English, science and RE departments are creating new classes alongside Mrs Trueick the head of year in the same way as we would do annually. We are aware that for science, we planned to do assessments in year 9 to determine who would be doing separate sciences and who would be doing combined sciences. For obvious reasons, that has not happened. Instead, the science department will begin year 10 teaching aspects of the curriculum that are common to both combined and separate sciences, and assess during year 10 which 30 students will be offered to take separate sciences. We would then make set changes accordingly. There are a number of common questions that get asked about combined sciences and separate sciences which we have answered in a FAQ below.
Community Languages exams 2020-2021: a message from our community languages exam coordinator
Thank you for your understanding and patience with the community languages exams that were sadly unable to take place this year. Unfortunately, we have not been advised what things will look like next year, so there is no information to give out just yet. However, I will do so as soon as I know more. If exams do go ahead, we will confirm with you and your daughter whether she would still like to be entered for these exams.
Year 9 students: I have been in touch with year 9 students via their head of year on Microsoft Teams with a current update, and I now have a list of all students who have expressed an interest on their options forms. If your daughter did not indicate on her options form that she would like to take a community language but is now interested in doing so, there will be a chance for her to let me know in the Autumn term, once we know more from the exam boards. I will then be in a position to issue past papers to any students who have not done them and give out further exam information.
If you have any questions at this stage, please do get in touch with me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Combined Science / Triple Science Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Will my daughter still get specialist teaching if she does combined science and not the separate sciences?
Regardless of which course they study, every pupil in year 10 will have 10 hours of science a fortnight, taught by specialist biology, chemistry and physics teachers to prepare for the relevant papers.
My daughter wants to study sciences at university and/or for A-level. Doesn’t she have to have separate sciences to do that?
She does not have to study separate sciences to go on to study A-levels or university courses in sciences. Entry requirements for sixth form colleges and the undergraduate admissions process show that higher grades in combined sciences will be a better preparation than lower grades in the separate sciences. This is the driving factor in the school’s decision of which pathway is best for students.
What is the difference between how the combined science and separate sciences courses are assessed?
The GCSE combined science qualification covers distinct biology, chemistry and physics topics and is assessed at the end of year 11 via six papers lasting one and a quarter hours each (two biology, two chemistry and two physics papers). The final outcome is an average of these papers and is given as a double grade to acknowledge that the content is equivalent to two GCSEs (9-9, 9-8, 8-8, 8-7 etc. down to 1-1). The separate sciences are three separate qualifications: GCSE biology, GCSE chemistry and GCSE physics. Each has distinct topics (which are the same as the combined science topics, but have extra content) and in total the three qualifications are assessed at the end of year 11 via six papers lasting one and three-quarter hours each (two for GCSE biology, two for GCSE chemistry and two for GCSE physics). The final outcome is a 9-1 grade for each qualification based on an average of the two papers for that science.
Who makes the final decision about which pathway my daughter follows?
As for all aspects of curriculum, the school makes the final decision on what curriculum is most suitable for each pupil, there is no option choice for science. However, if a student is offered separate sciences and does not want to do it, she can remain following the combined science curriculum.