Curriculum

 Introduction

These pages been designed for you to ensure that you know what your child is learning in school at any time in the year. In order for every student to achieve their potential it is important that study becomes part of their life; not just in school but at home. Meaningful home learning includes homework, but it also encompasses all the conversations and experiences that parents or carers expose their children to. We hope that this booklet can contribute to your child’s success in the following ways:

  • Improve parents’ knowledge of the curriculum by including a subject by subject breakdown of learning throughout the year
  • Develop study strategies and support for home learning
  • Emphasise the importance and value of homework
  • Provide ideas for discussions and practical ways to extend learning
  • Give tips on how to safely access effective online support for learning
  • Highlight the importance of independent reading

 

We hope you find this guide useful and that it improves our communication with you about our curriculum. If you have any queries relating to subject matters, please contact the Faculty or Subject Leader listed on each subject page.

Here are a few websites which you may find helpful:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/parents/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/parents/parental_involvement/

https://www.familylives.org.uk/advice/teenagers/school-learning/

https://www.dad.info/education/exams-and-homework/supporting-my-child-s-education-what-can-i-do

https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping-children-safe/

 

The importance of homework

Well-designed homework will play a valuable part in your child’s education.  It offers opportunities for work which is independent of the teacher. Homework tasks will exploit materials, new technologies and sources of information which are not always accessible in the classroom.  Homework will take many forms and is an essential complement to the work done in lessons.  It is relevant to all KS3 (excluding PE), KS4 and Post-16 courses and plays a vital part in enhancing your child’s learning: reinforcing what it is done in the classroom; encouraging increased responsibility for achieving individual goals and increasing the chances of success. It also contributes to the teacher’s assessment of your child’s learning and potential.

Homework is set to provide your child with opportunities to:

  • Extend, develop and practise what was learned in class
  • Prepare for work in class
  • Acquire the ability, confidence and organisational skills to work independently
  • Work at their own pace and ability level, particularly in tackling longer term projects
  • Make use of resources and new technologies outside of the School
  • Strengthen School – Home links in the learning process
  • Revise and reinforce skills and knowledge learnt in the class work
  • Develop literacy and spelling

 

Homework will take many different forms including: planning, preparing, revising, learning, reading, speaking, designing, drawing, collecting, re-drafting, improving, researching information and written tasks to consolidate or extend learning. All students will be given a homework timetable at

Some homework tasks will be specific short term tasks related to the topic at that time and others will contribute to longer term tasks such as projects, portfolios of work and coursework.

Establishing a study culture at home

As your child progresses through Key Stage 3, there is the expectation that he or she will build on and consolidate skills already learnt. This means that as well as learning new topics, students shouldn’t forget topics they have previously studied. By promoting a positive culture towards study at home, and establishing expectations early on, parents can ensure that, by the time their child reaches his or her exam years, there are embedded and effective study routines at home to support success in public examinations. 

Getting into the habit of revising and reviewing work regularly – the idea of little and often, rather than cramming at the last minute – is extremely important and can help support students in managing their workload and making consistent progress.

Below are a few suggestions as to how this could be supported at home:

  • Ensure that homework is prioritised in family routines and there is a designated time each day for completion. Ensure you have a copy of the homework timetable at home.
  • Have a place where your child can study quietly and have sufficient space to do their work and have their books around them.
  • Use the school planner to check homework set and sign each week to confirm that you have checked.
  • Check when your child has assessments and ensure that they have scheduled some revision time and know what to revise.
  • Support your child in identifying the best ways they learn, particularly when they have revision. For example if a child is a visual learner, he or she may like to write things out or draw pictures and use them as visual aids, or produce charts or diagrams. Some children prefer a more auditory approach to learning, which means they need to speak out their ideas and hear information. Often, children combine the two approaches, but it is worthwhile observing how you child learns and considering how you can best support them.
  • If your child struggles to complete homework at home, encourage them to use homework club at lunchtimes in school, or stay in the Study Centre after school to complete work. It is open until 4.30 pm and staffed with adults to support learners.
  • Check that your child is using home study time constructively and not being distracted by their mobile phone, music, tablet, X-box etc.
  • Discuss their work and show interest in what they are studying: getting children to explain or ‘teach’ you a concept is one of the best ways of checking learning.
  • Offer incentives for successfully completing homework

Independent Reading

Being able to read fluently and with understanding is not just immensely enjoyable, it is also incredibly important for success at school in every subject:

  • Most texts at GCSE have an average reading age of 14 – 15 years. If students have a strong reading age they will be able to access and comprehend the curriculum.
  • Students will also be able to read and infer the meaning of exam questions, understanding what is being asked of them and completing examinations more successfully.
  • Reading independently can inspire students creatively. It also improves their vocabulary knowledge, word recognition for spelling and punctuation.
  • Reading also exposes students to new ideas and concepts, encouraging them to make deductions and inferences and also stimulate their own responses and arguments and ability to evaluate.

To encourage reading, parents can do the following:

  • Ask your child which book is being read in English. Discuss favourite titles and genres encourage explanation and discussion of likes and dislikes.
  • Suggest taking part in the extra-curricular literacy activities in school, such as the Carnegie Book Club or the school newspaper.
  • Encourage the borrowing of books from the Study Centre or use our new reading room.
  • Join the local library if you haven’t already – they are free and an amazing resource
  • If your child’s second language is English, make sure he or she reads regularly in his/her first language as well as in English. Research shows that children who have a higher level of reading and fluency in their first language are much more likely to be successful in the British school system.
  • If your child is resistant to reading books, suggest trying comics or magazines.
  • Suggest your child uses a tablet to read an e-book. Kindle has a lending library as well as ebooks to purchase.

Knowledge Organisers

Why does your child have a Knowledge Organiser?

Knowledge Organisers show your child everything that they need to know for that particular topic of study. It is the ‘big picture’ of what knowledge they will be taught by the end of the topic. It will give them an excellent understanding of the topic they are studying and to understand the expectation by the end.

 How will the teachers use it?

  • Teachers may set homework to learn parts of the Knowledge Organiser or set tasks from what is on there. KS3 students are expected to complete between 30 minutes – 45 minutes of homework for each subject according to the homework timetable.
  • Teachers may use the Knowledge Organiser in lessons to support the new knowledge being taught and to encourage independent learning skills.
  • Teachers may give low stake quizzes which will test your child’s recall of the current knowledge but also previous knowledge as the year progresses.

 How can you support your child to utilise this resource?

  • Encourage your child to use the Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check system to learn the information.
  • Encourage your child to complete any support or challenge tasks.
  • Help your child to recall information by quizzing them or giving them spelling tests.
  • Promote independent study especially towards the end of the half term when assessments usually take place in lessons.

 

Please note that each term your child will be given a new Knowledge Organiser to ADD to the previous. They should keep all of them throughout the year as they will need to revise from them for their end of year exam.

Follow this link to find out more about what your child will be learning at Key stage 3 and how you can help them.