Year 10 Support Evening
Education is a partnership between teachers, parents and students. Parents expect not only to be fully informed about the progress their son is making at school, but also to be involved in his education. Parents of boys at The King’s School are very supportive and there is a genuine sense of collective responsibility in securing the highest of expectations for our students.
Your son is likely to have the same Form Tutor for Year 10 and 11. It is the Form Tutor who will meet them each day for registration. The Form Tutor will address any immediate concerns and is the first point of contact in the school and we ask that you address all notes to them. The Head of Year 10 will have overall responsibility for overseeing each boy’s welfare, conduct and progress. They will deal with any pastoral concerns and will arrange to speak to or meet parents as the need arises. The Deputy Head Master is responsible for overall leadership of Years 7-11.
If you wish to come to school to discuss your son’s work, conduct or issues of a personal nature, you are very welcome. An appointment can be made either in writing or by telephoning the school. Please note it is often not possible for teachers, other than Heads of Year, to speak to parents on such occasions due to their teaching commitments. In addition, as Heads of Year also have a heavy teaching commitment, they may not always be available at short notice.
Monitoring Each Boy’s Progress
Keeping track of each boy’s progress in relation to his target grades is essential. The King’s School creates target levels and grades based on students’ prior achievement. This information, together with the professional judgement of teachers, enables us to monitor each boy’s progress towards the achievement of their target grades. Boys at The King’s School are set targets that are achievable by them and they have every advantage and opportunity to meet them.
In the Autumn Term all parents are issued with a statement that details the grades at GCSE that each boy is capable of achieving. All students are provided with this information to write inside their planners. These targets are estimates based upon national analysis of student achievement using prior attainment data at both Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3.
We ask parents to discuss the target grades with their son and to work with us in seeking to maximise each boy’s outcomes. Over the last few years we have seen a significant increase in the proportion of passes that are at the highest grades because of this collective approach.
These are several ways in which we monitor and report on your son’s progress:
- A full written report is issued for each boy in each academic year. The annual report is written by subject teachers, the Form Tutor and the Head of Year.
- CAT (Common Assessment Tasks) are issued in terms 2 and 4. They test each boy’s current level of attainment in relation to his target grade and the outcomes of these assessments are reported home.
Parents will be contacted by the Head of Year to celebrate success or when concerns arise. Tutors and the Head of Year monitor progress carefully and intervene where necessary to help boys achieve their potential. This support can take the form of extra study sessions; regular mentoring; weekly monitoring of every lesson when we feel there is a need to do so; and meetings with parents.
Parents’ Evenings take place each year and this is an opportunity for parents to meet individual subject staff. We do expect all parents to attend as this helps to ensure that each boy is supported by both school and home. Boys should attend along with their parents. Please be aware that it may not be possible to see all the subject teachers during a parents’ evening, and that you may have to leave a note of further concerns to be followed up by either the Head of Year or the Deputy Head Master.
Whenever parents have a serious concern and need an “up-date” on their son’s progress we are happy to provide this.
For students who are considered to be performing significantly “below target”, intervention meetings are arranged with the Head of Year and Deputy Head Master. Where it is considered necessary, parents may also be asked to attend these meetings so that there is a unified approach to supporting those individuals concerned.
Home: A Place To Study
Having a space which your son can work undisturbed is important, whether it be the bedroom or part of another room. Effective, independent learning habits contribute to success. Establishing a routine for study that fits in with home life is also important and this is especially important when it comes to examination revision. Silence rather than a mass of electronic distractions is the only environment in which deep thought and learning can occur, and most boys will need parental support and guidance to achieve this.
It is a total fallacy to suggest that background noise is an aid to concentration. Listening to music, engaging in email, text, social media communication or trying to watch television whilst at the same time as engaging in serious study is not conducive to positive study.
It At Home
IT provides exciting learning opportunities and we are continuously investing in our IT at school. The pace of technological change is tremendous and increasingly boys are making use of many types of IT equipment at home to support them with their studies.
From time to time issues arise because students are making inappropriate use of IT resources and the internet outside of school. The development of social networking sites have, for a significant minority, become a major distraction from school work. We advise students on how to manage their time effectively and we advise parents to monitor the time students spend on such resources. At their best, networking sites provide a means of constructive social interaction between friends. At worst, they become an unhealthy distraction or serious addiction. Within school, students learn how to use the internet safely and appropriately, and access to social networking sites is restricted.
In order to ensure that the computer is put to effective use during home study time, therefore, we recommend the following strategies for those boys whose concentration wanders:
- When your son is using the computer, disengage his access to the Internet during study periods. This will ensure that your son is not pointlessly clicking about in cyber space.
- The Internet is, however, an excellent research tool when used properly and should certainly play a part in home study. Given the advice above, therefore, when it is useful for your son to use the Internet for research purposes, allow him the first ten to fifteen minutes of study time (no more) to find and print off the appropriate material and then disengage the facility for the remaining time.
Independent study or homework is considered to be an integral part of the school curriculum. It provides an essential framework for encouraging independent learning. Homework:
- encourages students to develop the skills and motivation needed to study effectively on their own
- consolidates and reinforces understanding developed at school
- extends school learning, for example, through research and additional reading
- sustains the involvement of parents and carers in the growth of their son’s learning
- manages particular demands, such as coursework.
Your son’s Independent Study should include re-reading and consideration of facts or skills learnt during the day, as well as extended assignments that will encourage him to make choices and develop time management skills. At Key Stage 3 Independent Study was carefully structured and monitored, but as he matures he will be expected to take greater responsibility for his own learning.
Students at GCSE never have “no homework”. Reviewing and refining notes doing extra research and background reading are a continuous process. There is an enormous amount of work that students have to do and much of that work must be undertaken at the pupil’s own initiative. No pupil studying for GCSE should ever claim that there is no aspect of study he can usefully undertake. Students and parents must be very clear about this.
So how much time should your son spend studying in order to maximise his chances of success at GCSE? We recommend the following weekly programme of study to all the boys in Years 10 and 11.
- Students should be engaged in eight to ten hours of study per week, evenly distributed across the working week and the weekend.
- Two hours of study should be undertaken on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, preferably between the hours of 6.00pm and 8.00pm. This will give your son a period of respite from work after a long day at School and he will still have perhaps a couple of hours left of the evening for other leisure pursuits after he has finished studying. If, for some reason, it is not possible to stick to these exact timings because of other important commitments, sports training for example, the period allocated for study can of course be moved to a more convenient space. However, it should not simply disappear.
- Friday evening can be used either as ‘time off’ after a tiring week or used to catch up on any study time missed on Monday to Thursday.
- Two hours of study remain to be done over the weekend. It is strongly advised that this is undertaken in one hour blocks on Saturday and Sunday morning, leaving a good deal of time in the afternoon and evening for much needed rest and leisure activities.
This home study timetable or a very close version of it should create an effective and healthy balance between work and leisure for your son. It is important that if your son encounters difficulties you speak to his Form Tutor or Head of Year immediately, so that these issues can be resolved quickly and without causing anxiety.
The Student Planner
All boys are issued with a Planner that contains information about their daily timetable and reminders about key aspects of school rules. Boys are expected to enter homework set in their Planner and this is checked, monitored and signed in school by the Form Tutor. We ask that parents also check and monitor homework and sign to show that this has been done at the end of each week. You should also feel free to use it as a quick means of communication with the Form Tutor or subject teachers if you have any questions regarding study matters and so on.
The School’s expectation is that your son must write something in his Planner for each timetabled homework subject with a view to studying some useful aspect of that subject during his home study time. Some of what he writes will have been specifically prescribed by his subject teacher for a particular homework slot but, if this is not the case, he must record a useful and relevant activity that he will undertake at home as part of his overall programme of study. So, for instance, he may record the fact that he has been working on a particular aspect of an essay or project. Alternatively, he may record outline details of any relevant reading, or that he has been refining his class notes, or that he has been reviewing or revising material covered previously, or that he has been undertaking research in preparation for a future project and so on. Above all else, he should never write ‘None Set’.
Extra Advice For Helpful Parents
Attendance and Punctuality
Regular attendance is a high priority. This aids achievement and encourages boys to adopt the correct attitude towards school and ultimately, their place of work. Parents have the legal duty to make sure children attend school. Please note that the school alone decides if an absence is authorised or unauthorised. If a boy is unfit for school, parents should contact the school on the first day of absence.
Make sure that your son is properly kitted out for School and is ready for all his lessons. He needs to know what lessons he has every day and he must have all the necessary equipment to function effectively within those lessons. If your son has not managed to organise himself effectively by Year 10, do not give up. Implement organisational routines at home that will enable your son to be more efficient and effective.
Encouraging Effort and Achievement
One of the most important ingredients in motivating students to succeed is parental encouragement. For boys to pass the 11+ and come to King’s is a beginning, not the end; if they do not make the most of their opportunity, then they are guilty of wasting it. It follows, therefore, that you should take an active interest in your son’s work: ask him about what he’s doing; discuss coursework with him; let him talk through his revision techniques and schedules with you, and so on. Equally, you should offer him praise when he is obviously making a real effort and has been rewarded in school with excellent grades.
Things do not always go right and your son may need to confront his difficulties honestly so that he can set things right again. Constructive criticism at this time is as valuable as praise might be at others. However you frame your response to your son’s circumstances, make it clear that your ultimate objective is to provide support and, whenever possible, help him to find practical solutions and strategies to overcome problems.
Academic achievement is our core purpose. We also believe that it is important to enrich our students with wide-ranging opportunities for sport, music, charity events, performance, visits, competitions and leadership. At The King’s School we are very proud of the breadth of extra-curricular experience available. Your son should be encouraged to take part in a number of these activities each term, and to build his ability to take responsibility for himself and for others in school.
Concerns and issues
Finally, if your son is experiencing particular problems, of either a personal or an academic kind, do not hesitate to contact the school to discuss your concerns. We are here to help and will do whatever we can to promote the best interests of your son at every level of his experience.