We end the academic year having successfully supported our pupils through their GCSE, GCE and vocational examinations and I am delighted that the examination invigilators once again praised our pupils for their self-organisation and impeccable conduct throughout the examination period. I wish all of our pupils every success in their future and of course, we are looking forward to seeing them again on Results Days: 17 August 2017 for KS5 and 24 August 2017 for KS4 as well as a great many returning to study in our Denys Salt Sixth Form Centre.

National changes to education - There continues to be significant change in education and we continue to respond positively to these changes for the benefit of all our pupils; forgive me if I repeat things you already know and are familiar with but these changes include: the delegated responsibility of Regional Headteacher Boards and Regional School Commissioners to ensure the government’s manifesto on education is accelerated, which includes the Academy conversion process, this includes the increase in the number of Free Schools for Special Educational Needs, Alternative Provision and Sixth Forms; linear examinations for the vast majority of subjects at GCSE and GCE level; the continued use of Best 8 Performance Measures; the use of a 9 to 1 scale for examinations in English and Mathematics from summer 2017, which will be published alongside GCSE grades A* to G for all other subjects; the changes to Key Stage 2 assessments and the removal of Levels from Key Stage 3.

Academy Status – You may recall from previous letters and information that we were granted Academy status as a Converter Academy within three weeks of application in May 2016. We originally looked to progress a partnership with Northern Star Academies Trust but this has not proven to be successful and therefore we are in discussions with the Department for Education on what are our next steps.

Assessment, Target Setting and Monitoring Progress – In light of the guidance from the DfE on the removal of levels and the introduction of a new KS2 assessment system, we have gone through a lengthy period of consultation and discussion with members of staff, in particular, Faculty Leaders to develop a bespoke system of Assessment, Monitoring Progress and Reporting to parents/carers:

Assessment: Pupils will be assessed in different ways in their subjects; some assessments will be based on tests, others will be based on classwork which, for example, may be extended writing or project work. One key piece of work will receive detailed and quality written feedback at least once per half term. The feedback pupils get may be written advice or a further challenging task to help develop their understanding of a particular aspect of the work they have done. This type of marking and feedback will be identified using the whole school system of star – star – wish.

 

Target Setting: The focus of our school is to provide stretch and challenge for every pupil so they attain the highest grades they can and make as much progress as possible from their Key Stage 2 starting point. Every pupil will be given a target grade for each subject they study which will show the expected outcome for them at the “End of Year 11”; this is because the national system looks at what a pupil attained at Key Stage 2 and uses this to predict what a pupil should get at the end of Key Stage 4 (which is the end of Year 11). For English and Maths the target grade will be a number between 9 and 1 because this is the new national grading system for these two subjects; for all other subjects we will use grades A* to G until the revised 9 to 1 grades are brought in nationally. We have looked at the national guidance and the two systems for the End of Key Stage 2 which for some pupils was a Level e.g. 3a, 4c and so on and for others it is a score between 80 and 120. We use the national system to look at these Key Stage 2 outcomes and map them against expected outcomes at the End of Year 11. There is no national guidance on how KS2 outcomes link across the different Key Stages and the different systems; the table below shows how we have calculated KS2 links to KS4:

KS2 Av   80 88 92 94 96 98 100 103 106 109 112 115 116 117 118 119 120
Legacy Level W 1 2 3c 3b 3a 4c 4b 4a 5c 5b 5a 6c 6b 6a 7c 7b 7a
Legacy GCSE F E D C- C C+ B- B B+ A- A A+ S S S S S S

Correlation

To 9 to 1

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

S means GCSE Grade A*

Reporting: Each pupil will receive a report that will go home to parents each term. The report will show the outcome of assessments made in units of work or topics completed at the point of publishing the report; any gaps in the report will reflect the fact that those topics or units have not yet been covered. The reason for including all topics for the academic year shows pupils and parents what is to be covered in lessons.

Example – Year 7 Computer Science:

Computer Science End of Year 11 Target: C+

Your child is currently:

Working above target

AtL: 2
  Hardware & Software Data & Data Representation Algorithms Programming & Development Communications & Networks Information Technology
  Pre Post Pre Post Pre Post Pre Post Pre Post Pre Post
Grade 19% 38% 14% 29% 25% 19% 17% 43% 30% 41%    
Teacher:


In the example above, the “Working above target” comment is based on the level of progress a pupil has made from their starting point towards their target. The level of progress is calculated by using assessments in a summative way e.g. an average of all assessments; an average of two types of assessments; an average of different types of topics (academic and practical); what is used to generate this summative outcome will vary between Faculty and Subject. This summative outcome is then compared to what is expected of a pupil at a given point in time; what is “expected of a pupil” will be determined by each Faculty and Subject using criteria from national standards e.g. examination framework.

    

School Meals - We work closely with our catering partner, Innovate, to ensure school meals provide value for money and costs are kept as low as possible. There will be no price rise in September - a school meal will still cost £2.35.