WELCOME TO YEAR 11
Welcome to Year 11. This year is the most important and challenging period of your child’s secondary education and is the year when they will sit their GCSE examinations.
An important thing to remember is that the GCSE exams take place in May, so Year 11 is shorter than other year groups. There is a lot of work to cram into the 9 months between the start of the year and the first exams. It is essential that students maintain outstanding attendance, punctuality and work in lessons. All homework tasks must be completed on time and to the best of the students’ abilities.
Throughout the year, there will be intervention classes and booster sessions to help fill any gaps. Some of these will be compulsory, others will be on an opt-in basis – but we expect all students to make the best use of the support available.
Similarly, there will be revision sessions held during half term and Easter holidays, which we expect all students to attend.
Students must actively take ownership of their final year in school, producing their best work at all times. We will also ask parents to support the school and their child by:
- Making sure that your child maintains outstanding attendance and punctuality
- Checking your child’s homework diary every day
- Checking your child’s exercise book to make sure that they have completed their classwork and homework
- Discussing their work with them, always encouraging them to produce their best
- Signing the student planner every week to show that you are happy with their work
- Supporting our code of conduct and our positive “can do” ethos
- Staying in contact with us whenever you have any concerns that you would like to discuss.
If we have any concerns about your child’s progress, we will contact you either by phone or letter. We like to keep parents as involved in their child’s education as possible, so a phone call does not necessarily mean that there is a major issue, just that we would like to discuss something with you. We will also phone or write to you to congratulate your child when they have done something well.
We will run two sets of formal assessments: one in December and a second in February. These will follow the rules and regulations for the real GCSE exams and work will be marked against exam criteria. These assessments give students the opportunity to practice working under formal exam conditions and allow teachers to assess any gaps in students’ understanding so that we can plan future lessons to meet the needs of students. It is important that students take these assessments seriously and prepare for them by revising thoroughly.
Year 11 can be a stressful year as students prepare for examinations. We understand this and aim to make our students as resilient as possible. As a parent, you can support your child by:
- Encouraging your child to maintain good sleeping and eating habits during this crucial year
- Making sure that your child doesn’t fall behind with work, as this is the major cause of additional anxiety for many children
- Ensuring that your child has a stable routine of when they will do schoolwork; this becomes especially important as they start their revision towards final exams
- Making sure that your child does not leave “revision” until the last few weeks before the final exams but sees this as an ongoing process over the entire year
- Keeping a healthy balance between schoolwork, social time and family time
- Discussing their schoolwork and revision with them
- Knowing when to “put the brakes on” when they are showing signs of anxiety
- Keeping in regular contact with the school if you have any concerns
In school, we aim to nurture students towards success and support them at every opportunity to enhance their learning. We instil British values during PSCHE and assemblies to prepare them for life in modern Britain and for careers beyond their time as a student. There will be events throughout the year which aim to develop students’ understanding of the choices that they should make for life after school.
Students should remember that quite early in the year, they should make applications to sixth forms, colleges or training providers. The main pathways at post 16 are:
A mainly academic route, usually in 3 (sometimes 4) subjects. In order to study at A Level, students should have gained 5 or more GCSEs at 5 or above and will often need grade 6 or above in the subjects they wish to continue (or a similar subject). Most A Levels now are assessed entirely through written examinations (other than practical subjects like Drama, Music or Art).
Level 3 Vocational
Level 3 vocational courses are usually in one subject and have the same value as 3 A Levels. There will be a bigger emphasis on application of knowledge to a practical setting. Assessment is usually through a combination of written coursework, practical work and exams.
To gain a place on a Level 3 course, students will usually be expected to have 5 or more GCSEs at grade 4 or above, sometimes with higher grades in subjects that link to the subject they will continue to study.
Level 1 and 2 Vocational
Students who do not achieve a level 2 qualification (the equivalent of 5 GCSEs at grade four or above including English and Maths) may consider studying on a level 1 or level 2 BTEC course.
There will be a bigger emphasis on application of knowledge to a practical setting. Assessment is usually through a combination of written coursework, practical work and exams.
Level 1 or 2 courses usually last one year and students will often be able to transfer to the level 3 course once they have completed the level 2 qualification.
Apprenticeships usually combine time in the classroom with practical, job based learning. There are different levels of apprenticeship, depending on the job you are training for and the qualifications you have when you apply. Some students complete a level 3 course at school or college before applying for high level apprenticeships, some of which include part time study at university. Other students will go straight into the world of work at 16.
Obviously, the better GCSE grades that your child has when they leave school, the wider range of options they will have open to them.
It is important to remember that students who do not secure a pass (grade 4 or above) in English and Maths whilst at school will have to continue studying these subjects at sixth form college.
It is the students’ responsibility to research the options available to them and to make appropriate applications to schools, colleges or training providers. We will support students by giving guidance on suitable courses for them through tutor time, through PSCHE and assemblies. Students and parents should make sure that they meet application deadlines, which will vary between institutions.
Students will have access to workshops and online resources through the year to help them to make decisions about their future: this includes independent advice about careers, apprenticeships and college courses as well as a trip to a major university for those who are considering further study post.
Mr. D Turner-Monk
Key Stage Leader: Mr Turner-Monk, Deputy Headteacher
Achievement Team Leader: Mr McCullloch