Learning at Idsall
Idsall School subscribes to the LEA curriculum policy statement, a copy of which is available for reference at the school. We aim to provide opportunities for all pupils to access a wide ranging and challenging curriculum. Recognising that learning outcomes will vary according to the interests and abilities of each individual, we aim to support and encourage all students to achieve high standards of success in every area.
It is the policy of Idsall School to teach students in ability groups for each subject wherever practicable. We believe that this gives the best opportunity for each child to meet new challenges at an appropriate level, and helps teachers to plan lessons which focus on their individual learning needs. Progress is monitored very carefully and regular assessments are made and recorded to help us ensure that each pupil is appropriately placed. Form Tutors and Subject Leaders play an important role in this process. Changes are usually made at the end of the school year or at the conclusion of a particular topic so that the programme of study is not interrupted. There are a few occasions when a move is felt to be needed more urgently. In any event, you should be informed by letter of the reason for the change. If you have any concerns about your child's progress or allocation to a teaching group these should be addressed to the Form Tutor who will be able to advise you regarding the next steps to take.
Levels and raw scores from national tests taken at the end of Key Stage 2 allow us to place pupils in sets for English, Mathematics, Science and the Humanities subjects from the start of the Autumn Term. Some changes are needed at half term, but on the whole pupils settle quickly and easily into their groups and make very good progress. For most other subjects, year 7 students will be taught in mixed ability groups for the first term. During this time a range of assessments are made so that students can be placed in sets for the start of the Spring Term.
The average class size in Key Stage 3 is about 27 for most subjects. For Design and Technology subjects each class is limited to around 22.
Learning at Key Stage 3 - Years 7 to 9
In Year 7, all students study a Learning to Learn module which covers personal learning and thinking skills and encourages attributes such as resourcefulness, resilience, and teamwork. These skills support learning in other areas of the curriculum. English, Mathematics and Science are complemented by Physical Education, the Arts and Humanities, Modern Foreign Languages, design and technology and ICT.
Teaching methods used in class are adapted to suit the personal learning styles and individual needs of our students. We utilise cooperative learning techniques to encourage greater involvement by students in their learning. Regular assessments are made to track each student’s progress against his or her personal learning targets. Progress is discussed by students with their tutors and the results are reported termly to parents in a clear format, showing strengths and highlighting areas for improvement. Additionally when work is marked, teachers will identify how well a student has done and importantly, how that work can be improved. We thus constantly challenge students to reach their potential.
Learning at Key Stage 4 - Years 10 and 11
The curriculum structure is rather more complex at Key Stage 4, with a much wider range of subjects and courses.
During year 9, students opt for four subjects they wish to study at GCSE. During the options process students receive guidance and support to help them make informed choices. We issue a booklet which they bring home so that they can discuss their choice with their parents. Subject teachers often give short talks to pupils about their own subject area. Form Tutors and the Head of Year are also willing to help and advise. All students in years 10 and 11 take English, Mathematics, Science, ICT and Physical Education. This is in line with current National Curriculum requirements. In addition, all pupils follow a course in Personal and Social Education that includes core statutory work on religious education and citizenship. The remaining time is available for ‘options’ that include a mix of academic and vocational courses. The Options Booklet can be downloaded from the 'Year 9 Options' page under the Curriculum Menu.