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 : http://www.aqa.org.uk/exams-administration/dates-and-timetables
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.
|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.
|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|
|W||3||B2.1.2 ISA Prep||C2.2.1||1||B2.2.3||C2.2.6||5||3||4||4||1||Holiday|
|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|
|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|