As always, it is all change within teaching and learning and at Redmoor, we never stand still! All our departments have not only been busy planning, preparing and delivering lessons for this year’s course, but are also busy looking to next year’s course changes planning and preparing in advance.
In the English department we have successfully delivered our first year of the new style AQA English Language and Literature GCSEs. Students have enjoyed studying the Power and Conflict Poetry Anthology, 19th Century Literature and Shakespeare. Pupils have practised their revision and exam skills throughout the year to ensure they are well prepared for the new untiered, linear exams at the end of Year 11. The KS4 Core Intervention Program, (CIP) also supports students after school who want to revise key skills and back up their learning in their own time.
The Maths department from Summer 2016 are offering the Entry Level Certificate. This provides support for those students who need a stepping stone towards GCSE. The present Year 9 and 10 are continuing their studies towards their exams in Summer 2017. The course relies on high level problem solving and reasoning, underpinned with deep knowledge of all topics covered in KS3&4.
The present year 8 will commence this course in August 2016.
In Modern Languages the changes to the new GCSE for 2016 mean that students will no longer complete regular controlled assessments throughout the course, as they will sit all exams at the end of Year 11. We believe this will allow us to create a more interesting course, which will focus on a more skills based approach to language learning. We will be studying a wider range of topics which we believe will better prepare the students for A level study and beyond. Our Schemes of Work for KS3 will also change slightly to reflect the new GCSE. However, our teaching methodology will remain unchanged ensuring we continue with the engaging and challenging activities that the students enjoy.
The current Year 10 taking Double Award Science have now successfully completed their first GCSE!
The Science department are now preparing for the introduction of the new GCSE. This also sees changes to the current course content, as students no longer have to complete an Individual Investigation Assignment as part of the course, instead it will require science practicals. These practicals will develop students’ subject knowledge as well as their working science skills. Along with this new introduction for both Double Award and Triple Award Science, the current GCSE courses will continue for Year 11.
In History GCSE there are major changes to the syllabus and the examination pattern. The new 1-9 GCSE will no longer require students to complete a controlled assessment and all units will be assessed at the end of Year 11 by three examinations. The 20th Century content in the syllabus has changed to now include a thousand years of history, although we can keep the experience of Germany after World War 1 and the rise of the Nazi Party as a topic. New topics include a study of Crime and Punishment through time and shorter era studies on British North America and Early Elizabethan England. We will also welcome a new teacher into the department in September.
The Geography department are continuing with the AQA syllabus with the new version giving more emphasis to Geography in the UK, as well as contemporary issues such as energy and water availability. The type of exam has changed so there is no longer a foundation/higher paper. This means that all students will sit the same paper and ability will be measured on outcome. Controlled assessments have been removed but field work remains. It is now statutory for all GCSE students to undertake two separate pieces of field work, one with a human emphasis, the other focusing on a physical aspect. On the trip, students will be completing different forms of data collection with follow-up back in the classroom. All students will then complete a third examined paper on field work techniques at the end of Year 11.
The PE department have been busy, not only with the current GCSE course this year, but have also been looking at the new specification due to start in September. The reduced percentage of practical assessment is the major change with a larger focus on theory content. We will be continuing to offer the Sports Leaders Award to Year 10 students and Mr Mitchell is continuing the Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award and will be looking to set up the Silver Award to Year 11s.
The Design Department will continue with AQA as their exam board. Art and Art and Photography, however, will be changing to run the new 1-9 GCSE. KS3 students will see a huge change in their curriculum, as we move to courses based on the concept of #ThinkDo. Students will no longer follow the design process in their lessons, but be challenged with problems that need solutions through intelligent, independent and creative design, that is reached through experimentation, research and constant testing. This is an exciting change for Product Design and Textiles which will enable all students to design and make products, as well as being able to understand the importance of the new #ThinkDo design cycle.
WJEC Catering will continue for year 11 where students will be studying healthy meals and will be tasked with cooking a range of staters, mains and desserts before creating their own two course meal at the end of the year.
Year 10 will be completing an NCFE award in Food and Technology, a change in exam board, enabling students to focus on their cooking skills, as well as their understanding of different dishes, their nutritional values and how to plan, cook and evaluate different meals independently.
It is all change for GCSE Philosophy and Ethics. We are completely changing exam boards, moving from OCR to AQA. It will still remain 100% examination, but new this year will be the requirement to teach another religion. Therefore the course will move from 50% Ethics and 50% Philosophy to 25% Christian beliefs and practices, 25% Islamic beliefs and practices and 50% Philosophy and Ethics.
Next year in GCSE Law, students will be moving on to Law in Action and participating in activities that illustrate the flow of Law from offence to sentence. So, for example, in Criminal Law, students will adopt the role of Police in amassing evidence for a murder before moving on to prosecution and sentencing. This immersive form of learning is designed to create a real understanding of the processes involved in the legal system. The major change with regards Law is that next year’s intake will be the last, as the government has decided to withdraw the subject altogether at GCSE. Anyone wanting to study the subject will need to do so at A level.
In Media Studies, we will be running the WJEC (Welsh Board) linear course again for the second year. Early in the autumn term, Year 11 students will be making their own horror movie trailers – a project worth nearly half of their overall GCSE grade. They will have access to brand new cameras and sound recording equipment to ensure the highest possible quality of filming. They will then edit and evaluate their films before embarking on the final controlled assessments and exam preparation. Year 10 students will begin with some general theory followed by the study of TV crime drama and gender representation in print media. We are looking forward to welcoming around forty new students to the media course.