One week down and 29 to go ! Time is of the essence.

So it is the end of week one of the new academic year and only 38 until we can celebrate the summer again. The bliss of being able to sit down and read a newspaper over a leisurely breakfast or watching a double does of Frasier on Channel 4 and then if it really is a duvet morning- double Big Bang Theory!

Seriously though- Year 11 begin their GCSE exams in 29 weeks.

Here is a link to AQA exam timetable :

It is crucial to make sure that the exam specification is used to carry out long term planning by the department. As teachers, our goal must be to cover the content and provide sufficient time in the taught lessons for revision. It is clear for some students (without the facilities at home or the time or inclination to study independently) the time for in class revision and exam practice is vital. I will lay my cards on the table and say I do not think it is acceptable for us to continue to teach new content right up until the examination period. I also agree with the saying you can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. Teenagers have a multitude of competing priorities and sometimes revising for the GCSE subject they most want to drop is not key. Procrastination is rife.

My Year 11 GCSE advice:

1. Always use the Exam specification to guide you though the course. I have met many teachers who use the exam board text books to teach from and then they wonder why they have not got enough time to teach it all. As the professional, you need to teach what your class need.

2. Plan out when you will do revision, ISA’s, etc. and stick to it as closely as you can. Know when the exam is (and also the date the first exam is so you are not  expecting students to come to class when they are in an exam. For AQA, I think, the first exam seems to be around 8th May).

3. Identify now, those who are likely to miss their grade by using Year 10 information. Intervene now.

Take some time to talk individually to each student on your intervention list and find out what might make the difference this year. How do they see the year, what is it they want from you, what can you expect from them? How would they like you to raise any concerns about their progress with them?

4. Design a detailed revision calendar and do one session a week starting as soon as you can. I do a PLC ( Personalised check list) at the start and end of each unit. I specifically invite students with a postcard home as well as face to face, all those students who would benefit from specific revision sessions.  I identify them from their PLC sheets and an assessed 6 mark question. I do not expect (but encourage) the students to come to all sessions. In this way, it is targeted and personalised- the group size is usually around 5 – 6. They also have a choice if they come or not and parents are fully aware of the offer. If a student doe not come to a session I do not give up, I keep trying to engage them. Occasionally a student will prefer a 1-1 session and I will fit this in (somehow) and try to develop their confidence to come to the next group session possibly with a friend.

 PLCAn example of a part of a plc.


Date                              All sessions run from 3:15 to 4:00pm Venue Content of session Classes this session is relevant for
Tues Sept 23rd Lab 3 Classification B1   11Xy2 and 11Xy3
Tues Sept 30th Lab 4 Variation & Speciation B1 11Xy1 and 11xy2
Tues October 7th Lab 3 Genetic Diagrams, punnet squares, pedigrees etc B1 11Xy1, 11xy2, 11xy3

 An excerpt from my revision calendar for Year 11 above and my long term plan for two teachers teaching AQA Additional Science below.

  September October November December January February March April May
M 1 INSET   3 B2.6.1 C2.3.3 1 B2.8.1 & Revision C2.6.1 & Revision       2 P2.1.5 P2.3.2 2 P2.5.1 P2.4.2            
T 2 INSET 4 2       3 3            
W 3 B2.1.2 ISA Prep  C2.2.1 1 B2.2.3 C2.2.6 5 3       4 4 1 Holiday      
Th 4 2 6 4 1 Holiday 5 5 2 Holiday      
F 5 3 7 5 2 Holiday 6 6 3 Holiday 1    
M 8 ISA Prep C2.2.1 6 B2.2.3 C2.3.1 10 B2.6.1 C2.4.1 8 Y11 Mocks     Mon-Fri 5 INSET 9 p2.2.1 P2.3.2 9 P2.5.2 P2.6.1 6 Holiday 4 Public Holiday 
T 9 7     11 9 Y11 Mocks     Mon-Fri 6 P2.1.1 C2.6.2 10 10 7 Holiday 5 Revision Physics Revision Chem
W 10 8 12 10 Y11 Mocks     Mon-Fri 7 11 11 8 Holiday 6
Th 11 9 13 11 Y11 Mocks     Mon-Fri 8 12 12 9 Holiday 7
F 12 10 INSET 14 12 Y11 Mocks     Mon-Fri 9 13 13 10 Holiday 8
M 15 ISA Prep C2.2.2, C2.2.3 13 B2.5.1 C2.3.1 17 B2.7.1 ISA prep 15 Y11 Mocks     Mon-Fri 12 P2.1.2 C2.7.1 16 Holiday 16 ISA For those who need it P2.6.2 WTM likely here 13 Revision Biol Revision Chem 11    
T 16 14 18 16 Y11 Mocks     Mon-Fri 13 17 Holiday 17 14 12 First science exam
W 17 15 19 17 Y11 Mocks     Mon-Fri 14 18 Holiday 18 15 13    
Th 18 16 20 18 Y11 Mocks     Mon-Fri 15 19 Holiday 19 16 14
F 19 17 21 19 Y11 Mocks     Mon-Fri 16 20 Holiday 20 17 15
M 22 ISA                     B2.2.2 C2.2.4, C2.2.5 20 B2.5.2 C2.3.2 24 B2.7.2, B2.7.3 ISA Chem week C2.6.1 22 Holiday 19 P2.1.3 C2.7.1 23 P2.2.2 P2.4.1 23 B2.4.1 Chem Revision 20 Revision Biol Revision Physics 18    
T 23 21 25 23 Holiday 20 24 24 21 19
W 24 22 26 24 Holiday 21 25 25 22 20
Th 25 23 27 25 Holiday 22 26 26 23 21
F 26 24 28 26 Holiday 23 27 27 24 22
M 29 B2.2.3 C2.2.6 27 Holiday       29 Holiday 26 P2.1.4 P2.3.1       30 Holiday 27 Revision Biol Revision Physics 25 Holiday
T 30 28 Holiday       30 Holiday 27       31 Holiday 28 26 Holiday
W       29 Holiday       31 Holiday 28             29 27 Holiday
Th       30 Holiday     YEAR 11  29             30 28 Holiday
F       31 Holiday     30                   29 Holiday

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