KS3 Curriculum

Skills London 2016

Dear Parents and Carers,

I'm sure you are already starting to discuss your children's ideas for their GCSE options.  They do not need to make their choices until March 2017, but they should be thinking carefully from now onwards.

I want to draw your atention to a completely free event at The ExCel Centre that you and your children may find useful.

Skills London 2016 is London's biggest jobs and careers event for young people and takes place at ExCel London 9-10 December 2016.  Aimed at 15-24 year olds, this two day event will provide youngpeople and their families with a rare chance to discover careers through interactive, inspirational activities and demonstrations, and help young people visually bridge the gap between what they enjoy doing and what they could potentially do as a career.

You can find more information on their website:

http://www.skillslondon2016.co.uk

Best wishes,

Crispin Bonham-Carter
Director of Studies Year 9

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Guide to new reporting system

Download a PDF of this guide

Rationale:

  • Curriculum Reform is changing assessment and grading at all Key Stages.  Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 4 now have different grading structures, and ‘National Curriculum levels’, which formed the basis of previous reporting, have been removed.  These ‘old’ levels can no longer be linked to expected GCSE performance.  A new system of reporting is needed to reflect this.
  • Responding to the suggestions of students, parents and staff.  Consultation took place throughout the 2015/16 academic year, which confirmed that there were many areas of agreement about how reporting could be developed further at APS.
  • An opportunity to enhance the effectiveness of reporting>.  Above all, the purpose of the new system is to increase the scope of reports to ensure that they support student development in a variety of ways. The new reporting system has a broader educational focus, with the intention of supporting students’ academic progress, and also developing a range of valuable attributes that will prepare them for life after school.

Overview

This guide sets out details of the new reporting system.

  1. ‘APS Values’ Report – see pages 2 - 3
  • Page 2 -  provides a summary and explanation of the ‘values’ that we will be reporting on in Years 7, 8 and 9.  Since September there has been a strong focus on developing these ‘values’ in lessons, and throughout the school.
  • Page 3 -  shows an exemplar for the new ‘Values Report’.  All teachers will contribute to this report and it will be sent home for students in Years 7, 8 and 9 in December and July.
  1. Academic Progress Tracking Report - see page 4
  • Page 4 – gives details of the information that will appear on the new Tracking Report which will also be issued each term for Years 7, 8 and 9.  This report will provide attendance and punctuality data and a minimum target grade for GCSE.  Progress will be tracked in each subject for every student and will indicate whether or not they are on track, above or below where they are expected to be, in order to achieve their minimum target at the end of Year 11.

Alexandra Park School’s Values

School is about more than exam results; we educate the whole student.

When we say goodbye to students at the end of their time with us we hope that they are well-rounded individuals, confident about their futures, with the skills to achieve on their chosen paths. To ensure this we actively teach values and characteristics that we believe will help them during their time at school and later in life.

Resilience is the ability to deal with setbacks; perseverance is our capacity to push on through difficulties to complete tasks. At school and beyond, these characteristics can be the difference between success and failure. They can be encouraged and must be practised.

Being organised is more than just remembering what you need to bring to school, planning your time and completing tasks by the due date. It is about having systems of thought that will allow you to structure essay responses and see your way through a task.

We often think of enthusiasm as being positive, upbeat and willing to throw yourself into a task. But it is also the ability to talk yourself into this state of mind; to recognise that whilst there may be other things that you would rather be doing right now you will benefit from this task and you will get the most out of it if you commit to it whole-heartedly. Hard work is much more rewarding if you are enthusiastic about your subject!

One of the goals of education is to give students independence and initiative so that they can flourish on their own. The first step on this road is to take responsibility for your own learning and, rather than waiting to be shown something, take the initiative and find out for yourself. The best learners show drive; they are independent and motivated.

Learning new things requires an interest in the world outside of your immediate life. A sense of inquisitiveness and curiosity makes this easier. Whilst some people are naturally curious, others must make an effort. However, it is its own reward. Learning new things opens up new worlds and our curiosity grows.

Whilst learning is a goal in itself we are judged by what we produce. The care, patience, diligence and desire to perfect a piece of work are summed up in a sense of craftsmanship.

Students learn new topics in several subjects every day. To make the most of their time they must develop adaptability. After the uniformity of the school experience, their life is likely to be varied and changing. Being ready and willing to adapt to new situations is a valuable skill. Those who throw themselves into tasks, without the fear of failure, often gain the most from them. By doing and succeeding we build our confidence. Sometimes we need to be fearless in order to start a task, particularly something that is new to us: we must have a sense of adventure and the desire to try something

We are using the word creativity to mean more than the conventional definition of artistic endeavour. Creativity in finding new ways to accomplish tasks and the innovation to find solutions to difficult problems can differentiate us from our peers. These skills can be developed in all subjects.

Ambition is a characteristic that we often believe is innate. But is usually begins with the spark of interest in something. Finding something to be ambitious about is part of the school experience.

Whilst being happy may not be as simple as making a decision to be happy we can find ways to be positive, work out what makes us happy and practise other characteristics that will help us be happy: gratitude, kindness and open-mindedness.

Empathy and consideration, the ability to understand the feelings of others and modify our responses with those feelings in mind, are qualities that may not help earn academic grades or get us to university but will be essential to our success in every other aspect of life.

ValueTable

Academic Progress Tracking Report

(a) Minimum GCSE target grades are agreed for individual students within each Department and are based on prior attainment including results from Key Stage 2 and assessment conducted in school.

(b) Progress in relation to these minimum target gardes will be assessed each term in every subject using the definitions below. Reports will continue to include assessment from previous terms as the system develops.

Progress Definitions

(c) The first Year 7 report (at the end of the Autumn term) will be a settling-in report, which will include a written element instead of progress indicators.

(D) Attendance and Punctuality will also be shown on all reports.

(E) Minimum targets will be set using the 9 to 1 grading system as all students currently studying in Years 7, 8 and 9 will be sitting only the ‘new’ (reformed) GCSEs. The diagram below illustrates how these new grades relate to the old A-C/D-G grading system, and includes an approximation of how the distribution of grades will change (in the form of a percentage).

GCSE Structure

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Key Stage 3 Homework Timetable

Core Subjects

English
One piece per week
Maths
One piece per week 
Science
One project set for each topic (every 4-6 weeks) 

In Art, History, ICT, Languages and RS homework will be set once per fortnight as follows:

 
Week 1
Week 2
Year 7
Art, History ICT, Languages, RS
Year 8
Art, ICT, Languages History, RS 
Year 9
ICT, Languages, RS Art, History 

Other subjects will set a longer 'project-based' homework once per term according to the following rota:

Week Beginning
Year Group
7
8
9
14/9

Drama

Music

DT

21/9
28/9

Geography

DT

Drama

5/10
12/10

  DT

Drama

Geography

19/10
30/11

Music

Geography

DT

7/12
14/12

Drama

DT

Music

4/1
11/1

DT

Music

Geography

18/1
25/1

Geography

Drama

Drama

1/2
8/2

Music

Geography

Music

22/2
7/3

Drama

Music

DT

14/3
21/3

Geography

DT

Music

11/4
18/4

DT

Geography 

Drama

25/4
2/5

Music

Drama

Geography

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Key Stage 3 Curriculum

Parent Guide to new KS3 reports

There have been a number of changes to the Key Stage 3 curriculum recently. Our aim is to provide students with a broad, balanced and challenging curriculum that fosters a love of learning and enables all students to reach their academic potential.  We build on students’ achievements in Key Stage 2 to develop the breadth and depth of their knowledge, skills and understanding, preparing them thoroughly for the end of Key Stage tasks, tests and assignments in Year 9 and for taking GCSE and Vocational courses at KS4.

Each year within Key Stage 3 has a different emphasis:

07 In Year 7 the focus is on reinforcing and strengthening numeracy and literacy skills; establishing high expectations and developing students’ enthusiasm and independence for learning.

08 In Year 8 the focus is on maintaining high expectations, developing students’ self-motivation by providing students with a very wide range of learning opportunities including the world beyond school and raising the level of challenge to stretch the most able.

09 In Year 9 the focus is on preparation for the end of Key Stage tests or assignments, preparing students for the demands of GCSEs and on making choices for Key Stage 4.

The Key Stage 3 Curriculum at Alexandra Park School is broad, balanced and reflects the aims and ethos of the school:

  • English, Maths and Science – the core subjects – are given priority time.
  • History, Geography and Religious Studies – are taught separately but provide opportunities for collaboration.
  • Modern Languages form a major part of the curriculum with every student allocated to study one of two languages: French or Spanish, during Key Stage 3. All Year 7 students experience Mandarin lessons once a fortnight and provision for Years 8 and 9 has been increased to two and three hours respectively and now also includes a KS4 GCSE option. There is also the opportunity for students to study Turkish GCSE.
  • Performing Arts – the importance of Performing Arts is reflected in the time allocated.   Every student will study Music and Drama every week.  
  • Physical Education – is given time each week to allow team sports and individual skills to be developed in conjunction with a wide and impressive range of extra-curricular activities, including trampolining, cheer-leading, dodge ball, climbing and handball.
  • Art and Design – has a high profile in the school with specialist rooms offering access to a wide range of materials including photography, printing and sculpture.
  • Design and Technology – All students have the opportunity to study Food and Nutrition, Textiles and Product Design in a suite of specialist rooms.
  • Computer Science – is delivered through weekly lessons in Years 7, 8 and 9.  KS3 assessment is based on an e-portfolio and is offered at GCSE and Advanced level.
  • Astronomy – is offered in Year 9 as an after school subject. GCSE Astronomy provides students who are fascinated by the night sky with an opportunity to explore, measure and describe the continuing exploration of the Universe in which we live, while also developing important scientific enquiry skills. Students will cover four main topics, which include: The Earth Moon and Sun, Planetary Systems, Stars, Galaxies and Cosmology. The course will be assessed through one two-hour examinationd containing a variety of multiple-choice, short and extended answer questions. Students will also complete two observational projects; one using simple astronomical instruments, such as a telescope, and the other with naked eye or unaided observations.
  • Citizenship / Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) - is delivered by a specialist team of teachers in all key stages.  Topics include: Government and Politics, Rights and Responsibilities, Sex Education, Drugs Education and Careers.
  • Literacy and Numeracy are delivered across the curriculum in all years. A range of strategies are employed to provide additional support for students who have not achieved level 4 in Maths and English by the end of Year 6. The school also has a designated Literacy team and base room. The team is responsible for delivering Lexia, reading programmes aimed at identified groups and ‘Thinking Reading.’ Additionally, the  ‘Accelerated Reading’ programme is delivered to all KS3 classes through fortnightly library lessons; matching reading ability with appropriately challenging books and rewarding completion and comprehension of texts.

There are also opportunities for students to engage in learning outside of the timetabled curriculum. Astronomy GCSE is a popular option in year 9 and Latin from year 7.

With every unit of work, in every subject, students will experience a wide range of teaching and learning styles.  This will include individual and group work, whole class teaching, oral presentations or written reports, creative work and opportunities to make choices and have control over what they learn.  Students will be encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning, developing excellent independent learning skills, so that they become less reliant on input from teachers.

Homework

Key Stage 3 students will be set pieces of work that encourage independent learning skills and, in particular, skills to: preview and summarise information, use a number of different sources, organise and plan work and improve presentation.  Students are encouraged to transfer skills between subject areas, see mistakes as part of the learning process, set challenging targets and aim to achieve the best possible work. Students will get homework in English, Maths and Science every week and will also be set an additional lengthier piece of work or project from another area of the curriculum.

Homework support is offered within Department areas. The school library also offers a quiet area to study before and after school and during lunchtime.

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