KING EDWARD VI HANDSWORTH SCHOOL PARENTS’ HANDBOOK YEAR 7 ACADEMIC YEAR 2010 – 2011 Dear Parents and Girls Year 7 is the beginning of an exciting journey of the learning. New Teachers who are subject specialists can provide a stimulating classroom environment in which girls can begin to explore topics in depth. It is also the time when new friendships are formed and girls have uses to a range of extra curricular activities. I also hope your daughter settles in well and is very happy in her new school. Yours sincerely Dr E V Insch OBE Headmistress KING EDWARD VI HANDSWORTH SCHOOL MISSION STATEMENT Our school is a happy and safe community where everyone can feel at home. • We encourage the highest academic standards whilst valuing and fostering each individual's personality and talents. • We work in a well disciplined but relaxed environment based on mutual respect. . • We are big enough to offer a wide curriculum and small enough to care about the progress of the individual. • Our teachers are highly qualified and experienced who will give willingly of their time to pupils and to extra-curricular activities. • We have a wealth of extra-curricular activities - something for everyone! • Our pastoral system is underpinned by the good relationships which exist between the staff and the girls; no worry is too small to be ignored or too big to be dealt with. • Teams represent us in all major sports but we emphasise enjoyable participation for all. • Music is a special interest. A third of our pupils are instrumentalists, taught by an ever- increasing number of specialist teachers; we have a wide variety of instrumental groups and choirs. • We believe that a good home/school relationship is central to the successful career of every pupil. • We encourage each girl to be proud of all her achievements, no matter how large or small, in every area of her life. WELCOME TO A NEW YEAR Dear Parents I am writing to introduce myself to you as Pupil Achievement Leader. As such I am responsible for the Pastoral Welfare and academic progress of your daughter in Year 7. I have had the pleasure of meeting many of you at the Induction Evening and I look forward to getting to know your daughter as the year progresses and to meeting you again at Parents’ Evening. Your daughter will be well supported by her Form Tutor, and Subject Staff I to ensure her transition is as smooth as possible. I would ask you for your support in monitoring her Student Planner and signing it on a weekly basis. This link between the school and home will be very important to your daughter. During the year academic progress will be supported with Academic Tutoring with her Form Tutor. If during the year you have any concerns about aspects of your daughter’s progress, do not hesitate to contact her form tutor or me via the Student Planner, by letter or by telephone. May I take this opportunity to wish your daughter a successful and enjoyable time in Year 7. Mrs M Begum Year 7 Pupil Achievement Leader Academic Year 2010 – 2011 Term Dates Autumn Term Spring Term Summer Term Thursday 3rd Sept* Monday 4th January Monday 19th April To To To Friday 23rd October Friday 12th February Friday 28th May HALF TERM HALF TERM HALF TERM Monday 2nd November Monday 22rd February Monday 7th June To To To Friday 18th December Friday 1st April Wednesday 23rd July Inset Days * Thursday 3rd September Friday 4th September Friday 4th December Monday 4th January Monday 19th April Timings of the School Day Students should aim to arrive between 8.25 and 8.35 although we do realise that some may have to arrive earlier as a result of difficult journeys. 08.35 – 08.45 Morning Registration 08.45 – 09.00 Assembly 09.00 – 10.00 Period 1 10.00 – 11.00 Or Period 2 10.20 – 11.20 10.00 – 10.20 KS3 Morning Break 11.00 – 11.20 KS4 Morning Break 11.20 – 12.20 Period 3 12.20 – 13.30 Afternoon registration 13.35 – 14.35 Period 4 14.35 – 15.35 Period 5 STAFF LIST School Leadership - HUB Head Mistress - Miss Insch Deputy Head Mistress - Mrs Wager Assistant Head - Mrs Bulloch Assistant Head - Miss Berry Year 7 PAL and Form Tutors Year 7 PAL - Miss Thacker 7E - Mrs Emmrich 7F - Miss Wheeler 7G - Mrs Taylor 7H - Miss Glendenning Subject Leaders – HOD’s English - Miss Glendenning French - Mr McEwen German - Mrs Buckel Maths - Mrs Osborne Science - Mr Trotter P.E - Miss Webb Geography - Dr Crampton History - Miss Smith Drama - Mr Dawes RS - Miss Harbutt Art - Mr Basset Technology - Miss Theakston Music - Mr Heppel Instrumental Music - Mr Parry ICT - Mrs Brown Office Staff Ms Lloyd - Head of Admin Department Mrs Patel - Attendance Officer Mrs Danks - Miss Dalvair - Mrs Harvey - Mrs Frew - School Administrator Miss Rogers - Examinations Officer Miss Powell - Receptionist Ms Wheatley - Arts Administrator Mrs Nisar - Reprographic Assistant Mrs Foulkes - Student Support Officer Miss Thompson - HR Manager SCHOOL UNIFORM The regulations are set out below. We ask all our parents to support us in maintaining high standards of dress and presentation. Students who come to school without the correct uniform will be supplied with appropriate shoes or clothing for the day. You will be informed by letter that this has happened Inappropriate jewellery or handbags may be confiscated. Students in Year 7-9 who wear make-up or nail varnish to school will be asked to remove it. School Uniform Plain navy blue school skirt – kilt style Blue school blouse/summer blouse School tie School Pullover School blazer (blazer must be worn in Key Stage 3) Plain navy blue or black coat Black leather shoes of a suitable style for school (heels should be low and broad) Navy blue opaque tights (40 denier) or socks in plain navy blue School scarf Plain navy/black hats/gloves/scarf Items should be marked with your name School Bags All students should have a dark coloured bag suitable for carrying books and equipment in all weathers. Physical Education Kit Football boots Leotard Navy/Emerald long socks P.E Polo shirt Shin-pads Trainers White socks A gum-shield is highly recommended *P.E Skort *Sweatshirt *Navy Tracksuit trouser *Cycling shorts *Football-style shorts *Optional – Girls may choose to wear a Skort, Tracksuit trousers or Shorts for many of their lessons, but must have a least one as part of their compulsory list. All P.E equipment must be named with a name tape on the inside. In addition (as a safeguard against borrowing of P.E uniform): The skirt, shirt and leotard must also have the name embroidered on the outside. The shirt and leotard to be named between neck and sleeve on front. The skirt to be named along the bottom hem. All trainers must be named on the outside, preferably with a name tape on the top of the tongue if this projects sufficiently, or along the side of the shoe. WHAT TO DO IF.........? General Information If you require information about holiday dates or any other general information: Contact our reception staff who will be able to answer your questions directly or pass you on to the right person. Concern about your daughter If you have any concerns about your daughter’s progress or wellbeing in school: The form tutor is usually the first person to contact. This may be through a note in the student planner or by letter (and the tutor will respond within five working days). Please do not contact by email in the first instance. Notifying us about an absence Appointments which cannot be arranged for outside school hours – a letter is required. Please contact the school by 8.30am on the first day of absence and any other subsequent days off. Please text the attendance line on 07624 816 018 or alternatively please telephone 0844 239 3299. A note to the Attendance Officer to explain the absence is required on the day your daughter returns to school. If your daughter is unwell in school, a member of staff may send her to the medical room. If she is too ill to return to class, you will be contacted to collect her. If your daughter arrives at school late (and has missed registration) she should sign in at reception. Similarly, if she has to leave school early she should sign out at reception. She must have a letter or a note in her planner showing the reason for this or she will not be allowed to leave. CODE OF CONDUCT Students who feel secure, valued and have a high self esteem are more likely to make appropriate choices about their own behaviour and to succeed socially and academically. To this end the conduct of all staff and students within the school community should reflect our shared values and ensure that all students are Treated as individuals, respected and cared for in a way that develops a positive self image (irrespective of race, colour, religion or physical ability) Aware that choices need to be made about behaviour Encourage to take responsibility for their behaviour and conduct Encouraged to set their own targets, monitor and evaluate progress Valued as members of the school community (irrespective of race, colour, religion or physical ability) Encouraged to contribute to the ethos of the whole school SCHOOL RULES Some rules are necessary for a large community to function efficiently and safely. Clarity and consistency in applying rules and procedures are essential. UNIFORM The correct school uniform, both indoor and outdoor, must be worn until the end of Year 11. All items of uniform, equipment and personal property brought to school must be clearly marked with the owner’s name. PROPERTY No money or valuables should be left in coat pockets or bags in cloakrooms or classrooms. Girls should keep valuables with them. Large sums should be taken to the Office for safe keeping. During P.E lessons, valuable should be placed in a container provided by the P.E Department. The school accepts no responsibility for the security of such items. Mobile phones must be switched off in school and locked in your daughters’ locker. Students’ mobile phones will be confiscated if they are seen or heard during the school day. Felt tip pens, correcting fluid and chewing gum are not allowed in school. JEWELLERY The following items are allowed: Watches Ear rings studs small, plain, silver or gold. NO OTHER JEWELLERY IS ALLOWED. For safety reasons no jewellery can be worn in P.E lessons. The school cannot be responsible for any jewellery lost at school. Make-up is not allowed in years 7-11. Extreme hairstyles and hair colours are also unacceptable. ATTENDANCE AND PUNCTUALITY POLICY We recognise the importance of regular attendance and punctuality as a contributing factor to the success of each pupil, both during her school career and beyond. It is our policy to monitor absence and to contact parents if we feel that an individual pupil’s absence is unwarranted or unauthorised. This policy complies with the School Attendance Regulations. PRACTICE (KS3/KS4) Registration The register is taken twice daily by the Form Tutor electronically at the beginning of the morning and afternoon sessions. The office staff deal with latecomers (any pupil who is not in the form room by 8.35). Explanations of Absence All absence must be explained by a written note from parents or medical/dental appointment cards or text or email (through KidsKeepSafe) (except in the case of a pupil being sent home ill from school and returning the following day in which case the Form Tutor is notified by the office). Parents are requested to notify us of illness on the first day of absence by 9am. Any pupil arriving part way through a session must bring a written explanation from parents. Notes are posted in the Attendance Officer’s box in reception. Monitoring of Absence Pupil Achievement Leaders monitor registers for patterns of irregular attendance and contact parents where necessary. Unauthorised Absence In the rare cases of persistent unauthorised absence and low attendance the PALS work with the Educational Social Welfare /Social Services to resolve the problem. Absence Statistics Attendance/absence figures are recorded in reports together with a written comment on lateness where appropriate. Punctuality The front entrance is reserved for visitors, staff and sixth form use only. The school opens at 7.45am and students must use the pupil entrance from Rose Hill Road or Hall Road. Students are not allowed in the form rooms until 8.30am. Students arriving at school between 8.35am and 8.45am report to their form tutor. They will be marked late in the register. Students arriving at school after 8.45am must sign in at the office. They will be marked late in the register and may need a note explaining the reason for late arrival. Parents will be contacted if poor punctuality becomes an issue. ILLNESS AND ACCIDENTS If a student feels unwell or has an accident she must tell a teacher straight away. Normally she will be sent to the Main School Office where a trained First Aider will take care of her. If she is too ill to remain at school or if hospital treatment is necessary then her parents will be contacted by the School Office to make suitable arrangements. Students should not contact their parents themselves. Under no circumstances should a student leave the school or go home without permission. SIGNING OUT It is best to make appointments outside school hours. If a student must leave school during the day for any reason then a note from parents in advance of the date is required. Students must sign out at the school reception. If they return to school later on the same day then they must sign in again. SANCTIONS Lack of homework There is a distinction between students who find the work difficult and those who simply haven’t done it. Students are encouraged to take responsibility for their own work and progress by asking for extra help or time as necessary. Not to do would be seen as failure to complete homework for no good reason. All Teachers liaise very closely with the Pupil Achievement Leader where there are concerns about a child’s behaviour or academic progress. In the first instance the member of staff will deal with the issue applying appropriate sanctions e.g., lunchtime detention, repeated work, verbal reprimand. If extra help is required, it is provided by the subject teacher in the first instance as appropriate at lunchtimes. Ongoing difficulties with work or difficulties across a range of subjects are referred to the form tutor and PAL. After school detentions are extremely rare and parents will be informed if this is deemed necessary. In the detention the students may be given tasks to do based on improving study skills or tasks that address the behavioural issue. Poor Behaviour This covers a range of behaviour from low level problems such as lateness, talking in class and incorrect uniform or equipment to disruptive behaviour and rudeness. One single detention system could not deal with such a range in a consistent and fair way. Therefore, sanctions are applied by a stepped approach preceded by a warning e.g. if a student is late she may be kept behind for 5 minutes to make up the time; if a student continues talking while the teacher is explaining the work she might be kept in at break time. The steps might include being moved to another seat in class, kept behind a few minutes, loss of break time, lunchtime detention or after school detention. Referral Poor behaviour in lessons is dealt with initially by he subject teacher and then the Head of Department for that subject. The form tutor should be informed of repeated or severe offences. If this behaviour is occurring in more than one subject area, the form tutor will liaise with the Pupil Achievement Leader; parents will be involved in discussions about the student’s behaviour; the student may be placed on report; outside agencies could be used to give further support. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF ACHIEVEMENT MERITS These are awarded for academic achievement including effort and improvement in. Merits are recorded in the student planner by merit stickers for each subject, displayed on the pages provided. The merits contribute to certificates; bronze, silver, gold and platinum which are rewarded with gold star badges and book tokens too. Colours for sport, music and dance HOUSE POINTS House points are awarded for all events contested between houses; sporting events, Performing Arts and debating competitions, charity weeks (pro rata by amount raised). In July, one house will become the overall winner for the year. KING EDWARD VI HANDSWORTH SCHOOL THE CURRICULUM IN KEY STAGE THREE CONTENTS INTRODUCTION……………………………………………………………………………… 2 SCHOOL CURRICULUM AIMS……………………………………………………………… 2 THE NATIONAL CURRICULUM AT KEY STAGE 3………………………………………. 2 THE RECORD OF ACHIEVEMENT. 3 PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT………………………………………………………………... 3 HOMEWORK POLICY & PRACTICE………………………………………………………... 4 ASSESSMENT FOR LEARNING……………………………………………………………... 5 LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT 6 LEARNING TO LEARN 7 WHAT PARENTS CAN DO TO SUPPORT THEIR CHILD……………………………... 8 THE CORE SUBJECTS ENGLISH & ENGLISH LITERATURE………………………………………….….. 11 MATHEMATICS……………………………………………………………………... 13 SCIENCE……………………………………………………………………………... 15 INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY…………………… 17 NON-CORE SUBJECTS ART & DESIGN……………………………………………………………………… 19 DANCE……………………………………………………………………………….. 21 DRAMA………………………………………………………………………………. 22 FRENCH……………………………………………………………………………… 24 GEOGRAPHY……………………………………………………………………….. 26 GERMAN…………………………………………………………………………….. 28 HISTORY…………………………………………………………………………….. 30 MUSIC………………………………………………………………………………... 32 PHYSICAL EDUCATION…………………………………………………………… 34 RELIGIOUS STUDIES…………………………………………………………….… 35 TECHNOLOGY…………………………………………………………………….… 37 THE CURRICULUM IN KEY STAGE 3 INTRODUCTION At King Edward VI Handsworth School, we aim to provide a curriculum which not only meets the requirements of the National Curriculum, but which is broad, balanced, and, above all, interesting and stimulating. We hope that you enjoy reading this booklet and that it will help you participate in this learning adventure with your daughter and her teachers. Elspeth V Insch, OBE G H Bullock Headmistress Assistant Headteacher SCHOOL CURRICULUM AIMS To provide broad choice and opportunity within and beyond the National Curriculum such that each pupil may develop her individual interests and talents to the full. To secure high quality teaching appropriate to the differing needs and aspirations of all pupils and to foster an enthusiasm for learning through a varied programme of curricular and extra-curricular activity. To sustain whole school high academic standards. To ensure that each pupil achieves her academic potential and that all achievements, both curricular and extra-curricular, are valued and celebrated. To promote the happiness and security of each pupil within a caring environment where she is encouraged to become a confident and morally responsible citizen, aware of her spiritual and cultural heritage and able to make informed choices about her future. To promote a positive image and meaningful communications within and outside the school community. To encourage profitable links with the wider community of Birmingham and beyond in order to extend the curriculum and enhance teaching and learning. THE NATIONAL CURRICULUM AT KEY STAGE 3 The statutory subjects that all pupils must study are Art and Design, Citizenship, Design and Technology, English, Geography, History, Information and Communication Technology, Mathematics, Modern Foreign Languages, Music, Physical Education and Science. The teaching of Careers Education, Sex Education and Religious Education is also statutory. The curriculum also includes non-statutory programmes of study for: Religious Education, based on the Framework for Religious Education Personal wellbeing, which includes the requirements for sex and relationship and drugs education Economic wellbeing and financial capability, which includes the requirements for Careers Education Dance Drama A second Modern Foreign Language in Year 8 At the end of the Key Stage, pupils are assessed by their subject teachers, on the basis of their attainment over the three years, on their level of attainment in the National Curriculum non-core foundation subjects. THE RECORD OF ACHIEVEMENT Through our Record of Achievement programme, we aim to help all girls to become confident young women who will be successful in their working and personal lives and who will make a positive contribution to the welfare of others. We value all achievements made by pupils, whether academic or non-academic, in or out of school. In Year 7, each girl receives a ROA folder which is kept in school. This is a working document and girls are encouraged, during form periods, to file in here anything which shows them in a positive light. This may be through pieces of work of which they are proud, through photographs, references, programme notes and certificates, for example. This process continues through Key Stages 3, 4 and 5. At the end of each year, girls take home these folders which also contain their school reports. At the end of each term, ROA reviews are held with form tutors. These reviews enable staff to develop a fuller understanding of each girl’s abilities and aspirations so that appropriate advice can be given and targets agreed. As a regular part of assembly the school celebrates publicly achievements from inside and outside school. We encourage parents to take an active role in the ROA process. Each pupil also has a school ROA diary in which merit marks may be collected and where parents, pupils and staff may comment on achievement if they so wish. Targets agreed with Form Tutors will be written in the diary for parents to initial as well. We hope that successes and support can be shared by all parties. PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT This encompasses the areas of Personal, Social and Health Education – Looking at our development and how we relate to others. Citizenship – Looking at our responsibilities within society. Work-Related Learning/Enterprise/Careers – Looking at our skills and talents and how we might use them in the future. Some aspects of these are covered in subjects such as Biology, Religious Education, Geography and History. In addition, pupils have a fortnightly timed tabled lesson with their form tutors. In these sessions, topics such as friendship, personal safety, study skills, careers and health issues are dealt with in a sensitive and balanced way. A variety of teaching methods are used and pupils are encouraged to think carefully through issues and learn to discuss them with their peers. Pupils are requested to note what has been covered in their homework diaries. Year 7 pupils have an extra fortnightly lesson to develop skills they will need for their future studies, called Learning to Learn. HOMEWORK POLICY & PRACTICE Homework will be set in order to: Encourage all girls to develop independent work habits which will reinforce and supplement the learning taking place in lessons and prepare them for public examinations and future study in higher or further education institutions. Enable teachers to monitor individual progress and understanding. raise standards A homework timetable is issued at the beginning of the year to each girl and signed by parents. The recommended time for homework per night per year group is: Y7/8 1 hour per night Y9 1 hour 30 minutes per night Each girl in Key Stage 3 has a homework diary which parents are requested to monitor and sign weekly. Although each subject (except Music & PE) is allocated specific time within the fortnightly cycle, homework will only be set when appropriate. However, it is expected that 80-90% minimum of homework slots will be used. Homework may be: The practice and reinforcement of techniques. Research and preparation. Finishing work begun in class. Learning. Reading. Teachers will set work which can be realistically completed by the average pupil in the time designated. They may ask for the work to be handed in the following day or allow a few days for the completion of longer pieces of work which may include research. Written homework may be in rough or neat books and may be marked: By the teacher. By the girl herself. By a member of the peer group. ASSESSMENT FOR LEARNING Current educational research shows that if pupils' work has a mark or grade on it, or a mark/grade and a comment, then the pupils focus only on the mark/grade and their work does not improve. However, if there is only a detailed comment, giving suggestions for how the work can be improved, then improvement does indeed occur. The research also shows that improvement in pupils’ work can be brought about by involving students more in assessing their own and fellow pupils’ work. In pilot schools, which have embraced ‘Assessment for Learning’, pupils’ results have shown to be significantly better than would have been expected at GCSE. We have decided that we will implement the ' Assessment For Learning' strategies from September 2004 as we would like our students to take more responsibility for their own learning, for it is only if they wish to see improvement that real progress in understanding can be acquired. What does it mean in practice? Work produced in class and for homework - This is work that we set through the year to broaden the knowledge base or check understanding. Work of this type, which is marked by the teacher, will not be graded. Instead, there will be detailed suggestions for improvement, which may be written or oral. Routine tasks, even when done in best books, will often be checked in class by the pupil herself or a peer to a given mark scheme. Teachers will, of course, keep an eye on whether homework has been done and its standard, and there will be systems in place to monitor this. Tests, some projects and end of year examinations - these will continue to be teacher marked and graded. What part can parents play in this? You should actually have a good idea how she is doing if you check her homework daily and look back at the work previously assessed. Is she acting upon suggestions for improvement? During the year your daughter will have tests (the number of which will vary from subject to subject) and you should routinely ask her how she has done and see if she has performed to a high standard and shown improvement on her own previous best performance. We will send home to you a brief report in the autumn term, which mainly concentrates on your daughter’s attitude to her work, as this is crucial to her success. Later in the year you will be sent a second report about your daughter's work. There will be also be a parents evening during the year during which you will meet your daughter's teachers. We are happy for you to share your thoughts on your daughter’s work with us using her School Diary and, where there are serious concerns, please do not hesitate to contact your daughter’s Pupil Achievement Leader (PAL). LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT During the course of their studies at King Edward VI Handsworth School for Girls, students will need to develop a good command of the increasingly academic style of English that is required for writing essays and accessing subject texts. This will help them achieve the highest possible examination grades and acquire the language knowledge needed for success in Higher Education and in later life. Where appropriate, Handsworth girls will be offered additional English language tutorials to boost their linguistic skills and promote effective progress in their curriculum subjects. English language tutorials may include the analysis of a variety of reading texts and related vocabulary extension work, or the development of the skills needed to produce coherent writing. However, the focus will be on individual needs and the content of the sessions will be based on discussion with each student and liaison with subject teachers. Tutorials will take place either on a one-to-one basis or in small groups at various times during the school day. If you have any questions, or would like to discuss language support for your daughter, please do not hesitate to contact us. LEARNING TO LEARN All Year 7 pupils study a Learning to learn programme during their Skills Development lesson. This occurs once a fortnight and is taught by their form tutor, where possible. Aims The aims of the Learning to learn programme is to teach your daughter the necessary learning and study skills to help her become an effective learner. Content The programme is as follows: How the brain works, understanding myself as a learner, research skills, note- making, constructing an argument, presentation skills, effective group work and group roles, asking the right questions, memory techniques, revision strategies and problem solving. Learning Passport Your daughter will have a learning passport which is a toolkit and a resource containing information, activities and questions about the skills she is learning. She should bring this to school everyday and use it regularly. Homework Your daughter may occasionally be required to complete a reflective piece of work. How parents can help - Talk to your daughter about the new skills she is learning and discuss how she can use them in subjects across the curriculum. - Encourage her to use her learning diary to record her thoughts and reflections about the skills she has learned. - Look at her learning passport and encourage her to use it regularly. Year 8 and 9 Follow up activities will be planned for Years 8 and 9 which will build upon the programme they have studied in Year 7. WHAT PARENTS CAN DO TO SUPPORT THEIR CHILD The information in this section is taken from the DCFS publication “An introduction to Key Stage 3 for Year 7 parents and carers”. We hope you will find these suggestions about how you can be involved in your daughter’s learning at secondary school both useful and inspiring. Simple things like showing an interest and being encouraging make a big difference to how young people feel about school. It gives them the confidence to try out new skills and ideas and learn from mistakes without feeling discouraged. Please also refer to the “How parents can help” sections under each individual subject in this booklet. These give more detailed suggestions of how you can help your daughter in each of the subjects that they study. HOW TO GIVE YOUR CHILD A HEAD START…. Show a daily interest in what your child has been doing and has learned at school: talk about what they have done each day; learn the names of the teachers; know your child‟s timetable – put it up on the fridge door, for example. look through their books every now and then and discuss their progress in each subject. Know when homework is due and talk to your child about what they have been asked to do. Help - but don‟t do it for them. You might search for information in books or on the internet, for example. If your child has forgotten what to do, encourage them to ring or email a friend in the same class who might help. Help them get organised so that they take the right equipment into school each day: pencil case, scientific calculator, good fountain pen (for good handwriting), eraser, ruler, etc. Buy a dictionary that is clear to read and use. Encourage them to use their school diary/planner and keep a timetable of their deadlines. Praise them when they meet their deadlines. Keep in regular communication with the school; use your child‟s diary/planner to follow up on any conversation you have had in a parents meeting. In particular, remember to communicate and celebrate any breakthroughs and achievements. Good attendance is vital for progress, as is a good breakfast and lunchbox which helps good concentration and better learning. Make sure there‟s a place to do homework and study, e.g. a desk in the bedroom, a quiet tabletop. Know what topics they‟re studying each term and take them out and about on visits related to the topic. Watch out for TV programmes, videos and books related to their studies, e.g. history and natural world programmes. Talk through how you work things out Next time your child asks for help with something, talk them through step by step. This could be assembling flat pack furniture, looking up reference material for homework or cooking. Talk about how you plan to do it, why you are doing it in a particular way, how you will know whether you‟ve done it successfully or not and what mistakes you make and why. “I don’t understand what I have to do!” How to help if your child is not clear about what they have to do: If you know the subject – take a look yourself Offer help with searching for information in books or on the internet Encourage your child to ring a friend in the same class who might help If none of these work then either you or your child should let the teacher know about the difficulty Look back Keep some of your child‟s old school work. Look back at it with your child to celebrate what they have learned and how they have improved over the last few years. Homework At secondary school your child will need to learn an important skill: organising their time so that they hand homework in on the right day. Your aim should be to enable them to become independent and well- organised. Doing the organising for them won‟t help them progress. Encourage them to use their school diary/planner and keep a timetable of their deadlines. Praise them when they meet their deadlines. Stay calm and supportive if things go wrong. It is better for your child‟s learning if they take responsibility for their own mistakes and accept the consequences that follow at school. Check the timetable, check the diary Your child‟s year will have a routine for homework (for example, maths on Monday, etc.). Make sure you have the timetable, make a large copy and put it in a visible place, perhaps a notice board in the kitchen. This way you can talk to your child each day about their homework. Most schools use a homework diary or planner in which your child writes down what they have to do/remember to bring to school each day. This is an important and useful way of communicating with the school and them with you. Do check it regularly as you will probably be asked to sign it to say that your child has kept up with homework. You can also use the diary to tell the teacher if there have been any difficulties, e.g. with getting hold of a book for homework. Try teaching me Learning, and especially revision, is best if active. If your child just reads information they are unlikely to retain it all. They need to work, memorise and practise on their own and it can help if you offer to be the pupil – if they can teach you, they really know and can understand it! Explaining something to someone else is one of the best ways of consolidating learning. Talking it over We all learn through talking about what we think and what we are learning. The conversations you have with your child should be fun but can also be a chance to show you take them seriously, listen to their opinions, ask them to explain why they think a certain thing and push their thinking by asking them to consider an opposite view “What if …” Keeping it all together Some subjects in secondary school use a lot of A4 handouts. Your child will use a ring binder to keep these all together. You can help them decided on a sensible order for these and check they have the right paper, folders and equipment. Useful Websites for parents and carers of Key Stage 3 pupils DfES websites The Parents’ Centre http://www.parentcentre.gov.uk Includes a section titled “Learning at home and outside school” which offers help and advice about revision techniques and homework, information on study support and advice about controlling your child’s Internet access. A guide to secondary curriculum for parents can be ordered from the website. Homework http://www.standards.dfes.gov.uk/homework Parental support of homework – benefits of parental support and planning tips for teachers on how to effectively involve parents with the homework programme. Popular Questions http://www.dfes.gov.uk/popularquestions Has a parent’s section, with the top 10 questions for parents answered. Parents Online http://www.parentsonline.gov.uk Ideas for holiday activities and advice to parents. LEA Website http://www.bgfl.org/bgfl/index.cfm Other useful websites OFSTED http://www.ofsted.gov.uk The Office for Standards in Education holds the most recent inspection reports on all maintained schools and local education authorities in England. Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) http://www/qca.org.uk Website of the authority that determines the national curriculum, the national tests and all examinations. BBC Schools http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/ Pages for parents as well as KS3 Bite size, useful revision and practice for the national Year 9 tests. Advisory Centre for Education http://www.ace-ed.org.uk/ An independent national advice centre for parents. Learn.co.uk http://www.learn.co.uk A large resource to help with homework and revision. SCIENCE Aims To use experimentation and modeling to develop and evaluate explanations, whilst encouraging critical and creative thought. To develop the pupils’ scientific literacy, allowing them to take decisions based on scientific understanding and questioning the reliability and validity of evidence presented to them. To encourage pupils to apply their scientific understanding throughout the school especially in other STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) subjects. Subject Content Year 7 and 8 pupils follow the UPD8 WIKID science course developed with the Association for Science Education. The course is written to specifically link the science content to its application in order to engage the girl’s attention and natural curiosity. There are 6 topics per year; each section within a topic is based around 7 stages: Engage; students raise the essential question Elicit; we find out what pupils already know and reveal any preconceptions Explore; pupils do activities to develop their ideas and concepts Explain; the teacher has input to formalize the concept, pupils practice using the concept Elaborate; the pupils understanding is deepened and applied to similar contexts Extend; the concept is applied to unfamiliar concepts Evaluate; this happens throughout the other 6 stages and encompasses formative assessment to guide further learning The year 7 topics studied are: The year 8 topics are: Forensics Design a home Cook! Species at war Extinction Studio magic Electricity Pyrotechnics A&E Catastrophe Alien Live & kicking In year 7 pupils are taught 3 times a week as a form by one teacher, this reduces the number of different teachers the pupil has. In year 8 the pupils are again taught in forms but usually by 2 teachers to allow some subject specialist teaching to occur. Year 9 science groups are smaller than in years 7 and 8, each pair of forms is split into 3 teaching groups and taught by 3 subject specialist teachers. In year 9 the girls cover a range of topics designed to enhanced their skills in preparation for starting their GCSE course at the start of the Spring term. All girls cover content common to both of the possible GCSE Science option routes. Use of ICT All 3 areas of the science department are very well equipped, all rooms have projectors and some have interactive whiteboards. The use of ICT to gather raw data is used throughout the three science subjects. The department uses the school VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) to encourage innovative learning and allow girls to access information if they were absent. Assessments Your daughters work will be continually assessed to allow her to develop her learning; formal assessments consist of end-of-topic tests and end of year tests. Good work is rewarded by merit marks. Homework We consider homework to be very important. It consists of written exercises, research or background reading and following up class work. Year 7 have 40 minutes made up of 2 x 20 minute homework. Year 8 have 60 minutes made up of 2 x 30 minute homework. Year 9 have 90 minutes made up of 3 x 30 minute homework. Late or missing homework is considered unacceptable. How parents can help The best way in which you can help with homework is by checking your daughter‟s Record of Achievement diary on a regular basis so that any problems can be dealt with rapidly. Homework should not be a burden, nor should it be done too casually. If problems arise, please contact your daughter‟s form teacher at school in the first instance. There are other ways in which you can help. Generally take an active interest in Science, encouraging your daughter to do the same. Read their exercise books occasionally so you know what topic areas are being covered and discuss these with your daughter. Point out relevant newspaper articles and encourage her to read topical science magazines such as Focus. Science programmes seem to be very popular, for example Richard Hammonds Blast Lab as well as old favourites like Horizon There are also some very useful general websites; the VLE has a page of suitable links that your daughter will be able to access. We run a British Association for Young Scientists club (BAYS) in the lunch hour. Bronze, silver and gold CREST awards can be gained through this. Ask you daughter if she is a member. Allotment Club with its new raised beds provides opportunities for aspiring young botanists and gardeners. The West Midlands also has a wealth of museums that the whole family might well enjoy visiting. FRENCH Aims To enable pupils to become increasingly familiar with the sounds, written form and grammar of a modern foreign language. To enable pupils to use their knowledge with growing confidence and competence to understand what they hear and read, and to express themselves in speech and writing. To enable pupils to develop language skills and language-learning skills, including applying their knowledge of grammar and structures, so that they become increasingly independent learners and users of French. To enable pupils to use French as the principal means of communication in the classroom, and beyond it, where opportunities exist. To increase pupils‟ cultural awareness by learning about French-speaking countries and their peoples and by working with materials from other sources. To give a sound basis for further study at Key Stage 4 and beyond. Subject Content A girl learns one modern foreign language in Year 7, either French or German, depending on which form she is in. She begins her second modern foreign language in Year 8. Year 7 First Foreign Language / Year 8 Second Foreign Language If French is your daughter‟s first language, in Year 7, using the textbook Tricolore Total 1, she will cover, among others, the topics of home, family, school, sports, hobbies, town and food. The Present Tense of –er verbs and of some irregular verbs, reflexive verbs, the simple future and agreement of adjectives, will be introduced. If French is your daughter‟s second language, she will cover the above material in Year 8. Year 8 First Foreign Language / Year 9 Second Foreign Language The textbook used will be Tricolore Total 2. Grammar covered will include the present tense of ir and re verbs, the future tense and the past tense. Topics studied will include transport, town, food, daily routine, a visit, the body and illness. Year 9 First Foreign Language The textbook used will be Métro 3. Topics covered will include life in town and country, occupations, social events, clothes. Grammar taught will include the immediate Future, the Imperfect Tense and indirect object pronouns. Use of ICT Some class time is spent in the multi-media Language Centre and pupils have access to the Centre at times outside lessons. Pupils are encouraged to word-process some of their work. When facilities permit, the Internet will be used as a learning resource. One classroom has an interactive whiteboard and the other has a projector so we can use software packages, such as Boardworks, Métro and Linguascope. Homework Homework is set according to the provisions of the homework timetable. Years 7, 8 & 9 have four homeworks per fortnight (one after each lesson). Homework tasks may include: learning, e.g. vocabulary, spellings, rules and exceptions; written work based on an example, to demonstrate understanding of a particular structure; revising, e.g. work from a previous unit to be applied in a new unit; preparing for the next lesson, e.g. part of a dialogue, a brief presentation; continuing a piece of classwork, e.g. a reading text or a piece of extended writing; making use of ICT. There is a considerable emphasis on learning work. How parents can help You can help with homework by checking that homework is entered in the ROA diary and ensuring that homework is done; by checking that written work is done carefully and neatly; by testing your daughter on vocabulary learning; by looking at the teacher‟s comments and giving encouragement. In Key Stage 3, a mark for vocabulary tests below 75% would be regarded as cause for concern, and a mark below 50% indicates a problem. In (blue) exercise books, your daughter should be responding to her teacher‟s comments by doing corrections and setting targets as outlined on the guidance sheet at the front of the exercise book. As oral work is an important part of lessons, please encourage your daughter to participate actively. Access to a simple French/English dictionary would be an advantage. Pupils who receive regular support and encouragement from their parents, according to the advice above, tend to have a more positive and successful learning experience. Performing Arts DANCE Aims To introduce pupils to the theatre, in particular the „musicals‟. To introduce pupils to the different styles i.e. jazz, modern, etc. To look at the costumes, stage and set up of the theatre. To improve choreographic skills. To improve performance skills. To build up confidence in dance. Subject Content Pupils are given the opportunity to study different stage musicals for a twelve lesson course. In each year group we try to do two different „styled‟ musicals. Year 7 Grease; Oliver; Mary Poppins; Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Year 8 Lion King; Bugsy Malone; Cats; Swan Lake; Thoroughly Modern Millie; Saturday Night Fever. Year 9 Cabaret; Chicago; Ghost Dance; West Side Story; Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. During the lessons, the pupils are encouraged to choreograph their own group dance, they analyse their own and others‟ work and they watch and analyse the DVD/video of the show. When we can, we take groups to watch professional musicals at the theatre. We also encourage pupils to visit the theatre with family and friends. ICT ICT in dance is currently incorporated in lessons by the use of audio equipment, video is used to film their assessment piece and used as play back to analyse performance. Pupils are encouraged to explore the internet to find pictures and historical information. Assessment One end-of-topic practical assessment is choreographed and videoed. Homework Homework is given when pupils are required to find information on a certain aspect of the theatre. How parents can help In dance, parents can best help by being interested and encouraging your daughter to talk about the work she is currently engaged in. Interest can also be stimulated by leisure visits to theatres locally and in other cities during holidays. ART & DESIGN Aims To give pupils a rich diversity of art, craft and design activities by introducing them to the working methods of a wide range of materials and ideas from Western and Eastern traditions. To give them practical instruction in various ways of drawing and designing; in planning and researching; in modifying and adjusting their work; in assessing their work against that of other artists and craftspeople. To teach pupils how to access their creativity; how to enlarge individual thinking capacity; how to perceive the world and record it in a variety of ways. To encourage pupils to become good communicators; to have a propensity for investigation and increased confidence in independent judgement; to have the ability to handle materials competently. Subject Content The core activities in all projects will be twofold. - Firstly to develop „perception‟. This is to say an understanding of the Arts in general through analysis and evaluation of Art, Design and Craft work. Developing this understanding and knowledge ultimately helps inform their practical studies and encourages a broader understanding of the world around them - Secondly to develop technical skills in recording and designing for painting, sculpture, other 3D work, printing, and where possible new technologies. Investigation and social / art historical research will play a supporting role to these activities. Years 7 & 8 follow a two year course. By the end of this period each pupil will have had practice in using their sketch-books as a tool for recording ideas; using colour in several ways; drawing and painting from observation; activating their imaginations; printing and modelling. Pupils will have handled many different types of materials. They will have researched other artists‟ work to help them improve their own work and to help them understand their own work in relationship to the work of other artists, designers, crafts people and art historians. In Year 9 there will be an increased emphasis on both traditional drawing and painting techniques as well as taster sessions exploring new materials processes and where possible new technologies. Use of ICT ICT work will be included regularly in projects in some of the following ways: 1. Scanning/Photography of drawings and other images and the manipulation of these images using different art specific software packages. 2. Research on Internet websites for critical studies information. 3. Word processing for writing up self-assessments, presentations and critical art studies. 4. Where it not always possible to predict what and when new technologies may occur, the Art & Design department is open and willing to encompass new technologies where ever possible to encourage and expand the ever growing development of Art & Design. Assessments In each year, there will be a minimum of three projects, each lasting approximately ten weeks, or two long projects and two shorter projects. These will be set to a „theme‟, so that associated ideas and technical skills can be grouped together to form a compact and discrete area of learning. These „thematic modules,‟ will cover all the skills necessary to achieve a high level by the end of Key Stage 3. There will be two forms of assessment: Formal summative assessment based on a final piece and preparatory work in a sketchbook at the end of each project. Continuous assessment throughout that will monitor the pupil‟s progress. The final assessment will be an aggregate of all the interim grades for the various parts of a topic. The writing comments will also incorporate such factors as effort, working to a deadline, research ability and literacy skills, in addition to the subject specific skills. At the end of each project pupils will produce a self- assessment sheet, and the teacher will fill out an assessment sheet grading the whole project and targets, pointing out areas for further improvement. Towards the end of KS3 in Year 9 pupils will be graded to a National Curriculum level. Pupils, on average, will be expected to reach levels 6/7 in this subject at school. In keeping with school policy reports will be sent to parents at three points in the year and parents will be able to discuss their daughter‟s aptitude in Art with the subject teacher at an annual Parents‟ Evening. Homework There are 2 ways in which pupils will have homework from Art & Design: At each stage of a project, we will regularly set homework‟s, sometimes weekly, sometimes fortnightly. These will be assessed independently of class work. Homework‟s are generally an extension of the project work, sometimes practical and at others times research and written work. Usually a pupil will have one week in which to complete each homework task. They must hand work in on time. OR A homework project where by pupils are given 3 to 4 main tasks to complete in a given time frame, normally between 4 to 8 weeks depending on tasks and dates. The idea of this being that pupils learn to manage their own time and are flexible to complete tasks around other subject homework. Pupils will not be set additional weekly homework if they are to complete a homework project. A homework project would tie into their class work with the intention that work done in lesson would help support the completion of homework and visa versa. How parents can help You can help your daughter by assisting her in organising herself in simple ways, such as encouraging her to pack her bag the evening before the lesson to make sure she brings the right equipment to her lessons, parents could check bags. You can also encourage your daughter to do her homework on the night it is set – to avoid problems such as broken down computers, not have right materials at hand, and not have right colours at hand. There is an Art shop that is run in school separate to the art department which offers pupils the opportunity to buy art materials at a discount price. This provides a convenient service to pupils with items often cheaper than available in specialist art shops. We hope that you will encourage your daughter by taking her to visit local and national Art galleries where observing Art work first hand can be a valuable contribution to your daughters understanding of Art. In addition, encouragement to practise her own skills at home is useful: like any new skill, it is only by practice and understanding that pupils gain an interest in a new topic and improve their skills. You should be positive about your daughter‟s learning capacity, and we suggest that an item such as an illustrated Encyclopaedia of the Arts would be useful to have at home. You could remind her to explore the school and the local libraries, not just for books, but also for videos, DVDs CD-ROMs, and to use the Internet. ENGLISH & ENGLISH LITERATURE ‘Everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it.’ Sylvia Plath Aims To enable pupils to develop to the full their abilities in speaking and listening, reading and writing, so that they are able to engage appropriately with language in a wide range of contexts for a variety of different purposes and audiences. To develop pupils’ capacity to use language as a sensitive means of articulating and communicating experience. To encourage pupils to appreciate, respond to and enjoy Literature. To help pupils develop their powers of imagination. To enable pupils to make their implicit knowledge about language explicit so that they are empowered to use it with more control and deliberation. To encourage responsibility for independent learning and critical thinking Subject Content Following the introduction of a revised National Curriculum for English in September 2008, the English Department has completely revised and reinvigorated its programmes of study for Years 7 and 8. The new programmes of study maintains our strong academic traditions (for example, maintaining the teaching of Shakespeare in each year of KS3), whilst allowing students to develop an understanding of the place of English in the new technological age in which we increasingly live. The Years 7 and 8 programme is below. Year 7 Year 8 1. Biography and autobiography 1. Persuasive writing 2. Introduction to poetry 2. Poetry: Ballads and Dramatic Monologues 3. Novel: The Boy In The 3. Writing to Advise (Linked with Striped Pyjamas Shakespeare Unit) 4. Texts from different cultures: 4. Novel from a different culture: Myths and legends Day of Tears. 5. Introduction to Shakespeare 5. Shakespeare Play: Much Ado About Nothing 6. Language Unit: sentences, the apostrophes and writing speech 6. Language Unit: parts of speech 7. Speaking & listening 7. Speaking & listening (individual, (individual, linked with linked with persuasive writing unit) biography unit) 8. Speaking and Listening 8. Speaking and Listening (Group, (Group, linked with linked with Shakespeare Unit) Shakespeare Unit) Formal assessment: Y7 Formal assessment: Y8 Examination. Examination Infer and deduce short Infer and deduce short answers answers + short guided + longer guided writing task. writing task. Speaking and Listening (EN1): A wide range of methods is used to promote fluent and appropriate speaking, so that pupils adapt their talk for a range of purposes and audiences. They have opportunities to speak individually, in pairs, small groups or whole class situations. The Debating Society meets each week and KS3 pupils are encouraged to attend and participate. Dramatic activities encourages in lessons include improvisation and working in role, devising, scripting and performing in plays, as well as discussing their own and others’ performances. Reading (EN2): An understanding and appreciation of texts is developed in Key Stage 3. Pupils are taught to read for meaning, explicit and implicit, to understand the author’s craft and use of techniques, structure, form and style, by reading from our literary heritage, including verse, drama, and prose written before and after 1914. We go further than the guidelines in the National Curriculum: during Key Stage 3, at least two full Shakespeare plays will be studied. The skills of reading, understanding and discussion of non-fiction texts, such as autobiographies, biographies and diaries, as well as print and ICT-based information, media and moving image texts from newspapers, magazines and television are also developed. Writing (EN3): Pupils are taught to write for different purposes, such as to imagine, explore and entertain, to inform, explain and describe, as well as to persuade, argue and advise. Pupils are also taught to write appropriately for different audiences. Planning and drafting is encouraged and draft books are provided for this purpose, the final copy being written into best books. Accurate spelling, punctuation and paragraphing are taught and pupils are encouraged to use the dictionaries which are in each English teaching room. Language structure, including parts of speech, and the principles of sentence grammar are taught and work commenced in the Literacy Hour in Key Stage 2 is continued throughout Key Stage 3. Neat, legible handwriting and attractive presentation are encouraged. Whenever possible, pupils see films of texts studied in the classroom on DVD, and visits to the theatre, where appropriate and possible, are arranged, especially in Year 9 for the Shakespeare play. The price of such visits depends on the cost of tickets and coach travel, but is approximately £10-15. Financial help is available to families with low incomes, as we want to give all our students equality of opportunity. Use of ICT The ICT requirements of the English National Curriculum are largely handled by the ICT department, but pupils rapidly become competent and confident users of ICT and produce a formal letter, use a newspaper package and use the Internet to find information. The emphasis at Key Stage 3 is very much on using ICT for the purposes of researching accurately, presenting interactively and analysing thoroughly. Students will have some lessons in ICT classrooms, depending on their availability, and all English classrooms have electronic projectors. We are rolling out the provision of interactive whiteboards into English classrooms, which bring an added level of interactivity to lessons. Assessment Assessment is made in the form of advice, comments and targets, according to whole school assessment for learning guidelines. Throughout Key Stage 3, National Curriculum levels are awarded, which are often broken down into a (working at the top of the band level), b (working in the middle of the band level) and c (working at the bottom of the band level). Pupils will always be told what assessment criteria are being used, either for EN1, EN2 or EN3 skills, or sometimes a combination of these. For each end of unit assessment, students are given an assessment sheet with the assessment criteria broken down into specific bite-size targets. Teachers always set students specific learning targets resulting from each assessment, which are aimed to help them improve the quality of their work in English. These are recorded by the students on a target sheet, and when the targets are met, students ask their teacher to ‘sign them off’ in order to indicate this. Sometimes, it is also appropriate to assess the quality of presentation and accuracy. Homework Homework is set regularly and could consist of reading, preparation work, rough drafting or work in best to be handed in for marking. It may also include research that can be done on the internet. Errors are pointed out and corrections should be completed by pupils before books are next handed in for marking. Strengths and weaknesses are usually pointed out and targets for improvement given. Homework times over the two week timetable vary according to year in Key Stage 3, with Years 7 and 8 having 80 minutes and Year 9 having 90 minutes. How parents can help You can help in many ways. The most useful is to encourage your daughter to read as much and as widely as possible. All the educational research indicates a very strong link between wider literacy and high academic achievement. Therefore, it is vital for you to encourage your daughter to read for pleasure, and to show an interest in the world around her by reading about it. Please introduce your daughter to bookshops and libraries and encourage her to read at regular times each week. The school library is well stocked, and the Librarian is welcoming and helpful, often providing interesting challenges to stimulate further reading; encourage your daughter to pay regular visits. We run a programme called ‘Accelerated Reader’ to support and encourage wider reading in Years 7 and 8. This includes online quizzes which students complete, once they have finished reading a particular book. This is linked to the House system through prizes and rewards. If your daughter is having problems with English, encouraging her to read aloud slowly and carefully will also help her written English improve. Being able to read and discuss books with your children also helps their progress, both in reading and discussion work for Speaking and Listening. Asking your daughter to read the newspaper and allowing her to explain her response to particular stories will also help her with literacy. We do have the support of a literacy support teacher and an English as an Additional Language teacher, and students with more severe difficulties receive small group or one-to-one tuition with these experienced professionals. Also, encourage your daughter to come on outings to theatres and workshops that are available, as they are immensely useful, especially when a drama text is studied in school and pupils can see the play enacted on the stage. Taking your children to the theatre regularly is both helpful for their education and most entertaining for all the family. Achieving academic success needs to come out of a real home-school partnership, and as a department we really do welcome parental support and encouragement. DRAMA Aims To develop the ability to work with others. To develop mime skills and speech skills. To understand how important body language, gesture and eye contact are when performing. To use improvisation and role-play as well as experience scripted work. To understand how to use dramatic techniques to communicate the ideas and mood of the original story. To learn how to give and take constructive criticism on dramatic techniques. To practise verbal reporting skills: clarity, expression, appropriate tone. To develop script writing skills. To develop an audience awareness. Subject Content During Key Stage 3, pupils learn a variety of skills from improvisation, storytelling and scripted work. They look at some genres and experiment with the use of body and voice in performance as a communication tool and will be introduced to some theatrical genres. Groups will study some work from of the following areas: Year 7: Role Play – looking at creating and playing a role convincingly and writing these into a simple script Improvisation – looking at simple techniques to deepen drama Commedia dell’Arte – looking at the style, conventions and characters of this 16th Century Italian art form. Melodrama – looking at early Victorian theatre acting and plot lines Year 8: Masks and Physical Theatre – modern mask work in performance focusing on the use of the body for communication Year 9: Blood Brothers – studying characters and themes from the Willy Russell play During the lessons, pupils will learn skills and techniques from a series of shorter tasks which will increasingly encourage them to take more responsibility for characterisation and direction as they progress. They analyse their own work and that of others in both live and recorded situations. There is a chance to visit the theatre to see live performances and a Key Stage 3 production in July as well as a whole-school play in March is planned for the academic year 2008 -09. Use of ICT ICT in Drama is mainly used to word-process scripts, although Arts College money has been used to purchase digital camcorders for the purpose of filming students work and taking digital photographs. Students are also requested to use the Internet and computers to research topics for lessons, for example Melodrama or Pantomime. The department has also recently purchased 5 PC’s so ICT in lessons is often used. Assessments These occur regularly during lesson time in the form of practical performances. There are formal assessments at the end of each topic and for reporting purposes, as well as informal continual assessment in each lesson. Written assessment is also used in terms of written scripts, evaluations of performance and so on. Homework Drama homework is not timetabled as such. Being an essentially practical subject, there is sometimes more of a need for homework after an assessment such as an evaluation, or writing scripts in preparation for an assessment. Often there will be practical tasks such as learning lines or creating costumes or properties for a performance. Therefore the frequency of homework is more on an ‘as it is required’ basis, although often there is about 30 minutes’ worth per lesson on average. How parents can help Parents can help by being interested and enthusiastic by encouraging your daughter to appreciate performance work. This could be from the point of view of observing a television or film performance, or visits to the theatre itself. An appreciation for the full theatrical experience is of obvious benefit as the girls can see how the whole mix of lighting, sound, setting, costume, properties and performance gel together. An interest in drama could be fuelled by membership of theatre groups, of which there are many in the area from Stagecoach to Stage 2 to Aldridge Youth Theatre. In terms of directly assisting with the subject, parents can assist by helping your daughter to learn lines or to search for appropriate costume and props. They could also assist by watching any solo performance work as a rehearsal for performance in lesson, as performing to any audience is good experience and encourages good practice. RELIGIOUS STUDIES Aims To help pupils progress in learning about religions: knowledge and understanding of beliefs, practices and forms of religious expression. To help pupils progress in learning from religion: responding, evaluating and applying knowledge and understanding to pupils’ own experiences, sense of meaning and purpose, and values and commitments. To help pupils develop as independent learners and creative thinkers Subject Content Year 7: Thinking about God, Religious Leaders, Religion in My Community, Celebrating and Remembering, Environment, Everyone’s committed. Year 8: Myths and Sacred Texts, Justice, Pilgrimage, Being a Buddhist, Human Relationships, Prayer. Year 9: Human Rights, Conflict and Consensus, Resurrection, Good and Evil (GCSE), Religion and Science (GCSE). We hope that pupils approach Religious Studies with enthusiasm and an enquiring mind. They are encouraged to develop the skills of analysis, evaluation, empathy, reflection, independent study, creative thinking and problem-solving. During their studies of different faiths, they will develop their own spiritual awareness and learn the importance of respect and tolerance for those who adhere to different faiths or none. Use of ICT Use is made of the Internet for research, word processing and desk top. The whiteboards in each classroom are also used interactively to engage pupils. We are developing our Moodle resources to allow out of school access to materials and tasks. Assessment Pupils have three assessments per year and an end of year examination. The assessments are marked using the QCA 8 level scale for Learning About and Learning from Religion. Pupils complete regular peer and self assessments of their work. Homework Homework is used to reinforce learning, for reflection and creativity and to prepare for new topics. We include a variety of tasks, e.g. ICT, independent research, written work, quiet reflection, creative pieces, and self-assessment and evaluation questions. Years 7 and 8 are set 40 minutes per fortnight and Year 9 is set 60 minutes per fortnight, usually as one homework. How parents can help You can help your daughter by: - Encouraging a positive enquiry into religion - Discussing homework topics - Looking at her exercise book regularly - Being a sounding board for new philosophical concepts and ethical issues - Listening to your daughter’s ideas - Encouraging her to recognise and empathise with viewpoints different from her own - Sharing your ideas and experiences with her - Encouraging her to keep abreast of issues in the news - Promoting equality, respect and tolerance of the beliefs and ideas of others - Discussing global issues with her - Visiting a place of worship with her - Sharing your ideas about what makes a good citizen and how we can live a good life in the 21 st Century HISTORY Aims To learn about the past in Britain and the wider world. To consider how the past influences the present. To find out about people in the past; how they organised themselves; what ideas influenced them. To develop a chronological framework. To understand the values of a society and think about their personal choices, attitudes and values. To use evidence, weigh it up and reach conclusions. To search for and consider evidence and argue a point of view. Subject content During Key Stage 3, pupils learn about significant individuals and events in the history of Britain, from the middle Ages to the 21st Century, and aspects of European and world history. Year 7: Medieval Realms with a depth focus on the Norman Conquest The Renaissance Islamic Civilisations Year 8: The Tudors and Stuarts with a focus on the Reformation and the Civil War The Black Peoples of the Americas Year 9: Britain 1750-1900 with a focus on empire, industrial changes and their impact The 20th Century with a focus on ‘experiences of war’ During this time, pupils are encouraged to makes connections between events and changes in different periods and areas studied, and to trace the following themes across the three years: Power and Democracy The relationship between England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales Movement and Settlement Lives, beliefs and ideas Trade, colonisation, industrialisation and Empire Conflict and cooperation In terms of skills, they are taught to evaluate and use sources of information; to use their knowledge to analyse and explain the past; to recognise that there are different interpretations of events and developments. In recent years the department has also offered a number of curriculum-related trips abroad, for example to Belgium and Northern France in support of Year 9 First World War study. Day trips have included Ludlow Castle, the back-to-back houses in Birmingham, Soho House and the Maritime Museum in Liverpool. Use of ICT ICT in History has long been incorporated on an informal basis with frequent use of word-processing for individual pieces of work, and of the Internet for research. Use is also made of the school intranet and VLE for the sharing of resources. We now have inter-active whiteboard technology available in our main teaching room, which means that ICT can be used more creatively to enhance teaching and learning in a variety of ways during lessons. Assessments Assessment is in the form of regularly marked class and homework, using clearly explained criteria; and three formal assessments, including the end of year examination. Homework There is one 20 minute homework each week. This time is used for reading/research, completion of classwork, or individual written responses to a question discussed in class. Homework is seen as an important adjunct to lesson time in preparing pupils to work independently. How parents can help In History, you can best help by being interested and encouraging your daughter to talk about the work in which she is currently engaged. Interest can also be stimulated by leisure visits to historical sites, while on holiday, or locally at the weekend. Such visits do not have to be directly related to the topic or period under discussion, nor need they be expensive if advantage is taken of family concessions, English Heritage or National Trust membership, or free access to museums. The reading of historical literature, again of any period, could also be encouraged – the advice of librarians could be made use of here. In addition, parents could usefully direct attention to the many historically related television programmes which are regularly on offer. We do not particularly recommend the special purchase and indiscriminate use of commercial CD-ROMs, especially those of the encyclopedia kind, as these tend to be American-dominated in content and to discourage the questioning of material. PHYSICAL EDUCATION Aims To provide a broad programme of physical activities in which girls are taught to be physically active, develop coordination, control and body management. To involve pupils in acquiring problem-solving, communication and team-building skills. To encourage pupils to understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle through participation in and the enjoyment of a variety of activities and environments. Subject Content Pupils will learn the basic skills associated with a range of activities, and learn to apply them, developing tactical awareness and compositional skills, in a variety of different areas throughout the Key Stage. Pupils are taught an increasingly process-driven curriculum and develop the ability to transfer physical skills from one activity to another. They are encouraged to become independent learners who will have the necessary skills to maintain a lifelong involvement in physical activity. A wide and varied extra-curricular programme is provided for the girls, encompassing all activities taught within curriculum time and more. Many of these clubs are run by teaching staff, and we are also extremely well supported by community coaches through our involvement in the King Edward’s Aston School Sports Partnership. Use of ICT ICT is used for Internet research and movement analysis. Assessment An annual written examination will be set as part of the summer examinations, and practical assessments are held at regular intervals. National Curriculum level assessment takes place at the end of Year 9. Homework No regular homework is set in this subject, although pupils will be asked to occasionally produce items of written work to support their practical sessions. How parents can help There are regular opportunities for girls to participate in after-school events and fixtures. We welcome your help in supporting your daughter in these activities, by talking to her about the opportunities she has and also by providing transport for her back home from King Edwards Handsworth after the event. GERMAN Aims To introduce pupils to the basic patterns and grammar of the language to lay the foundations for studying German to GCSE level and beyond. To teach pupils how to cope with practical everyday situations that they may find themselves in when spending a holiday in a German-speaking country or when staying with a family. To introduce pupils to the customs and cultures of German-speaking countries which will increase their cultural awareness and lead to an appreciation of other ways of life and traditions. To make pupils increasingly confident in understanding the written and spoken language and increasingly able to express themselves independently when speaking and writing German. To give all pupils the opportunity to have a penfriend in our partner school in Germany and to take part in an exchange visit with a pupil from that school. Subject Content Pupils learn one modern foreign language in Year 7, either French or German, depending on which form they are in. They begin their second modern foreign language in Year 8. If German is their first foreign language, in Year 7 pupils will use the coursebook Echo 1, which covers giving and asking for personal details and classroom instructions, school, family, leisure, home and in town. In Year 8, pupils will go on to Echo 2, which covers personal details, weather, saying what you did yesterday, holidays and travel, health and fitness, meals and shopping, planning a journey, staying with a family, directions, going out with friends and making arrangements. In Year 9, using Echo 3, pupils will cover a German exchange visit, giving opinions and making comparisons, information about Austria, the media, money, part-time jobs and problems. If German is their second language, they will use, in Year 8, the coursebook Echo Express 1, covering where you come from, numbers, age, school equipment, family and pets, the home, school, describing a town and giving directions, leisure and hobbies, the weather and festivals in German-speaking countries. In Year 9, pupils will continue with the same coursebook series, covering meals, buying food and eating healthily, shopping, giving opinions about clothes, daily routine, TV and music, talking about what you have done and where you have been, staying with a German family, describing your home town, describing people, talking about hobbies, transport and describing a day trip. The school has a partner school in Kaufbeuren, Bavaria, and an exchange visit takes place on a two-yearly rota. This exchange is open to all pupils in Year 9 and above. There is a holiday open to Year 8 pupils on alternate years. Use of ICT Pupils will spend lesson time in the multi-media Languages Centre on a fortnightly basis. In addition, pupils are encouraged to produce some written and display work using a word processor. It is hoped that we shall be able to use e-mail facilities to communicate with pupils in our German partner school and access the Internet. Each classroom is equipped with Boardworks software. Assessments There are regular end-of-unit assessment tests in Year 7, 8 and 9. Homework Homework is set according to the homework timetable. It will consist of vocabulary learning mainly and some written exercises in best books. Just before a unit test, revision will also be set. How parents can help You can help by checking in homework diaries that the set homework has been done; by testing that vocabulary has been learned and that written work has been done; by looking through best books to see what marks are being achieved and encouraging good performance, and by enabling, as far as possible, visits to German-speaking countries, and especially participation in the exchange programme. TECHNOLOGY Aims To help pupils understand the complexities of the man-made world and enable them to feel comfortable and confident in it. To help pupils to enjoy being creative. To encourage pupils to build upon their experiences and skills through structured and open design. To provide activities which are both challenging and achievable. To encourage pupils to be responsible for their own learning, to use their time effectively and to take pride in their work. Subject Content Pupils are taught in groups of 22 which in each year rotate through three material areas: food, resistant materials and textiles. In Year 7, the first term consists of a basic induction course, rotating through each material area, developing a range of basic skills. The remainder of the year is devoted to design and/or make activities – staple foods (food), decorative mirror frame (resistant materials) and a stitch and flip patchwork cushion cover (textiles). In Year 8, a further design and make activity is completed and the remainder of the first two terms are devoted to focused activities in each area: Licence to Cook (a national scheme) , drawing and presentation skills, and machine skills, appliqué and fibre investigation. During the third term, novelty product design and manufacture in one material area is undertaken. This is based around a theme of their choice. In Year 9, pupils rotate through all material areas throughout the year. Pupils are placed in their Key Stage 4 options for the final weeks of the summer term. Use of ICT ICT is used throughout to enable pupils to design and make more effectively, e.g. for spreadsheets/research, digital imaging, word processing, pattern drafting, nutrient analysis, industrial simulation, etc. Assessment Assessment is continuous (formative) during the activity and summative at the end of each major activity. These marks are used as a basis for end-of-year grades for reporting to parents alongside the results of an end of year examination paper which is taken by all pupils. Homework Homework is set at all stages on a regular basis according to the current activity. Everyday work is commented on in a constructive manner as part of the assessment for learning initiative in school. Pupils in years 7, 8 & 9 have 30 minutes per week homework. How parents can help You can help by ensuring that your daughter is well organised for the lesson, especially for practical lessons so that she can take advantage of every opportunity for practical activities – a letter goes out to all Year 7 at the start of the year detailing the equipment/materials pupils will require for each material area; by letting staff know if there are any problems in providing materials; and by informing us of any useful contacts, e.g. for industrial visits, visiting speakers, donation of materials (fabric, for example).