I am not sure how you view your academic year, but for me, the first 2 terms are absolutely key (I split the 3 terms into 6 half terms – manageable chunks I suppose).
For year 11, the first 2 terms are the building blocks before an effeective and energy sapping sprint toward May. This year we have a few plans on how to make this ‘sprint’ better organised and have a clear strategy. One focus for myself is for white, British, working class boys – as they are the most underperforming group nationally.
For year 7, the first 2 terms are incredibly important. To settle in, make new friends, set expectations and build relationships with parents. We value relationships with our parents extremely highly and always try to involve the parents with our decisions about the direction of the school. If an ongoing issue arises, we always invite the parents into discuss this. I really like this as a secondary school- very personal.
For year 10, it’s the real start of the official GCSE (I teach the GCSE spec from year 7 onward in lessons anyway – you would be bonkers not too wouldn’t you?). Set the right foundations now, routines, expectations, important deadline dates and I always find that the KS4 years run relatively smoothly (famous last words probably).
Year 9 is important at our school. The students will choose options at the end of term 2. They have internal assessments in the beginning of term 2 as well. Some big decisions need to be made for these students so it is very important we provide the correct and most appropriate information for the students, and parents during this term.
I love teaching the year 8. For me, it’s really the beginning of the ‘real’ GCSE curriculum. These students have settled in to the school and there is always a danger that these students have a ‘missing year’- not in my subject. We start to crack up the expectations again and we often find that the vast majority of students respond. In fact, the first 7 weeks this year have seen the year 8 I teach really start to stretch themselves. Behaviour, independent learning and clear focus in lessons has improved allowing the progress within these lessons to increase too.
Overall, its been a good start to this academic year. After last years record breaking results as a school, we need to maintain a the momentum. With our great staff and students, I am sure we can have another successful year.
In addition, we have some very exciting changes afoot, especially in Teaching and Learning. And we all know, if we get this correct, then results will further improve as well as further developing a talented staff.