A brief outline of a project involving a College of HE (School of Education) and one city secondary school under 'special measures'. (This particular project was a small part of a larger project involving two secondary schools, funded by the DfEE, 'Supporting Schools In Challenging Circumstances'.) Management of the project: in school, was under the direction of one person reporting directly to the headteacher, and with membership of SMT; in College, by the PGCE (Primary) Course Director.
The school had an intake into Year 7 in September 2000 of 300 pupils. Standards measured by GCSE results, in 2000:
|5 A*-C% GCSE||21.9%|
|1 A*-G% GCSE||87%|
|Average total points||29.3%|
The school had identified major concerns regarding the entry profile of pupils (i.e. the social, personal and 'basic skills' needs, as well as academic needs); the inappropriateness of the secondary curriculum, in organisation and delivery more than content (1); and the lack of progress which had been noted in previous Year 7 pupils. In particular:
- A significant number of pupils arrive without the learning skills necessary to access the whole secondary curriculum. Around 50% of the intake have not achieved Level 4 in mathematics and English.
- Some pupils cannot cope with the school size. They struggle to form effective relationships with 15 teachers in a week. They find it hard to organise themselves around buildings and to remember to bring equipment and homework to lessons.
- Able pupils have been spread too thinly across equal bands with the effect that they have not been challenged and have lost motivation.
- The 'new' approach adopted for pupils in Year 7
- New forms of banding introduced.
- Identification, and placing, of pupils in one band (Y) as being likely to have their needs met more effectively through a differently organised and delivered curriculum, requiring:
- a review of the balance of the curriculum in respect of subjects and time allowance;
- enhancement of basic skills;
- reduction in the number of room changes;
- reduction in the number of teachers encountered;
- establishment of smaller classes and maximisation of adult:pupil interaction;
- establishment of learning support;
- building more effective pupil/teacher, and pupil/pupil, relationships;
- engendering feelings of security through the use of a common classbase;
- promoting success climate with rewards, positive reinforcement and recognition of achievement;
- establishing clear rules and promoting acceptable standards of behaviour and good working habits.
|M||120 NC level 4.5/5; R.Age 11-13; CAT scores 100+ (inc. 30 pupils L5+, R.Age 13+)|
|A||110 NC level 3.5/4.5; R.Age 9-11; CAT scores 85-100|
|Y||70 NC level 3.5; R.Age -9; CAT scores 85-|
Y Band Curriculum
- 20 periods 'integrated studies' based on KS2 methods of planning and delivery, focusing heavily on literacy and numeracy, and serving as a 'half-way house' between junior/secondary school; (2)
- pupils to be taught in same classroom for these lessons;
- pupils will work with only three teachers (English/literacy; maths/French; science and humanities);
- pupils will undertake 4 x 25 minute success maker sessions each week;
- an LSA is available to support each of the 20 periods.