There is a deliberate design to the groupings in Year 7, and this becomes more formal in Years 8 and 9. Setting in Mathematics and Computing continues with Science joining this arrangement and introduced for English, French, Geography, History and RE. There is some flexibility here to allow some of the subjects to set independently of the full ‘curriculum block’. Setting allows groups to follow the right work at the right pace. The number of groups in each year also gives us the flexibility to match the curriculum’s demands with each pupil’s strengths and needs. Some pupils are given the chance to study Spanish as an additional language.

During Key Stage 3 pupils are encouraged to develop skills in a range of techniques. The emphasis is on creativity and exploration of materials. Pupils are encouraged to develop their own ideas in response to thematic projects and to explore and develop their own ideas within a structured and teacher-led unit of work. Some of the areas covered include drawing, painting, 3D, photography, ceramics, mixed media and printmaking. Sketchbooks are an important element throughout and presentation of work is a key focus. Pupils use their own sketchbook as a record of their progress but also as a means for experimentation. Throughout the course references are made to the work of other artists and designers in order to build pupils own understanding of critical and contextual studies.

A4 Sketchbooks – Graded / Levelled work – At the end of each block of work relating to Assessment Objectives that are in direct line to AQA GCSE specification, pupils will be given a mark against similar marking criteria to that of the GCSE. Marks and AtLs are recorded with teacher mark books. Marks will be shared with pupils via the assessment feedback tables in the front of sketchbooks. Each set of work will also be accompanied with a tick grid which will provide an indication to the pupil of their strengths and areas for improvement. However, we want pupils to focus on feedback rather than marks.

Written Formative Comments – Assessed work will be given both positive comments and one specific target to improve. Given the nature of the subject pupils may not always be able to implement this advice until the following project. Work which takes place over a few lessons will allow the opportunity for teacher/self/peer comments that can be acted on the following lesson.

Verbal Formative Comments – Pupils receive regular verbal feedback and guidance as work progresses in a lesson. The practical nature of the subject means that pupils are able to act on this guidance immediately to develop their skills and improve their work.

Opportunity for pupils to act upon feedback – In every lesson the objective is outlined and pupils work towards achieving this objective. Occasionally, pupils will refer to previous written formative feedback in sketchbooks and use those to set their own targets for improvement, particularly when revisiting a skill that was explored in a previous project. Progress towards each assessment objective takes a number of weeks and consists of a range of pieces of work, this gives pupils opportunities to display a range of skills for each objective, and allows pupils to demonstrate consistency in skill development between class and homework pieces. Pupils should be continuously improving and responding to the live feedback given in each lesson.

Final piece – Final pieces will be given a level and AtL alongside a teacher comment. During the time a pupil is working on their final piece there will be a skills record sheet attached. Pupils will reflect on their targets and progress over the time spent working on their final piece – this process may take several weeks.

Year 8 builds on the skills and techniques taught in year 7 and introduces a range of new applications. Pupils learn new features of each application and are encouraged to develop their independence, design skills and problem-solving capability in addition to widening their experience of programming skills and online safety techniques. New programming challenges are introduced in Small Basic and VB.Net. Pupils learn to manipulate 8 bit binary and learn about different types of computer hardware.

Graded/levelled work – Written as a comment in the margin of the learning journal of each pupil and summarised on the project summary sheet. Test results are emailed to pupils for them to include in their learning journals.

Written formative comments – Written as comments in the learning journal of the pupil.

Verbal formative comments – During the lesson whilst pupils are working on a task. On occasions there may be general feedback given after a plenary or following a homework.

Opportunity for pupils to act upon feedback – Pupils will be asked to take action at the start of lessons following the marking. This is appropriate for action on some feedback e.g. spelling errors. At the end of a project when a pupil writes an evaluation of a project they can set themselves feedforward targets. In subsequent projects when relevant they can act upon task specific feedback.

We design the D&T curriculum in KS 3 so that pupils will develop their confidence and expertise in a wide variety of projects which cover a range of competencies. For convenience these are grouped under some broad headings in KS 3 so that they are fully prepared to make their options choices for KS 4:

  • Food gives an understanding of nutrition and how to prepare food
  • Textiles is an important area for our pupils and here they gain an understanding of the world of textile design and construction techniques.
  • In Graphics being able to explain your design ideas to others is a key skill which is included in all of our subjects.

Assessed / Graded work

Textiles: (Year 8) Practical skills throughout module – recorded on grades pro forma in teacher’s file.

Beanie Buddy Project. Pencil case project.

All subjects – knowledge and understanding assessed via mid and end of year (multiplechoice tests).

Written formative comments

Design booklets /folders throughout module.

Verbal formative comments

Ongoing in all lessons – specific feedback on practical skills.

Opportunity for pupils to act upon feedback

Textiles: Development and repetition of skills and techniques. Record written responses in booklet, using different coloured pen.

At Key Stage 3, students receive 4 lessons of English per week, one of which is dedicated to literacy and here we pay attention to the basics: spelling, punctuation and grammar as well as encouraging an interest in reading of all kinds. Our schemes of work have been written and developed in line with National Curriculum criteria and include units exploring modern and pre 19th century poetry, a study of information texts in year 8 and a project exploring the presentation of war in Literature in year 9. In all three years there is a balance of activities to develop writing, reading, speaking and listening skills. Students’ progress in these skills is tracked through regular, half termly assessments.

Graded/levelled work – Three times a term, on completion of Literature, Language reading and writing assessments; in blue assessment books.

Written formative comments – Once every 2-3 weeks; on interim pieces and practice paragraphs and on final assessments at the ends of units.

Verbal formative comments – Weekly, as students complete practice exercises in class, linked to work in both green class book and blue assessment books.

Opportunity for pupils to act upon feedback – As per formative comments above; whenever a teacher marks a piece of work with a WWW, EBI comment in the pupil’s blue assessment book, the pupil will be given the opportunity to respond to this feedback and act on it, in a lesson following this marking.

Special circumstances/Notes – Blue assessment books are kept in school but will be sent home on at least one occasion during the school year so parents may see these. Green exercise books are used by pupils on a day to day basis, in class. These are note books and are light touch marked by the subject tutor; pupils might peer and self-assess work in these books as part of classroom activities.

Graded/levelled work

Work assessed (deep marked) every 3 weeks
Other assessed pieces could be ATL graded or given Homework Challenge grades (genius, top, good geographer)
Key Assessed Pieces
End of unit tests
Mid-Year Exams
End of Year Exams
Exercise books

Written formative comments

Graded using a mark scheme (provided before completion of the work) given with above.
Positive comment
Exercise books

Verbal formative comments – During lessons and catch up sessions

Opportunity for pupils to act upon feedback

Assessed work should be fed forward every 3 weeks.
Frequent opportunities for Peer and Self-Assessment especially following staff assessment to allow more opportunities for feedforward, putting the onus on the pupils.
Exercise books

At Key Stage 3 the History department teaches a range of local, British, European and International History ensuring that pupils have an understanding of the main trends and turning points in the last millennium. In Year 8, students study the period 1500-1750 looking at the Tudors and Stuarts, the Industrial Revolution, the British Empire and slavery.

Graded/levelled work

Practice pieces completed in assessment book and scored. Two complete sets of these per year. Cumulative total of each set converted to grade (tiered for different year groups).

Annual summative assessments test all skills in unseen exam format.

Written formative comments

After practice pieces (10 across the year).
Teacher provides WWW/EBI and student reflect on their next time.

Verbal formative comments – In lessons –pupil voice provides evidence.

Opportunity for pupils to act upon feedback

After practice pieces (10 across the year).
Teacher provides WWW/EBI and student reflect on their next time.
Annual summative assessments.
Complete on paper and worked through with teacher.

Special circumstances/Notes

All Key Stages use assessment books. Each pupil uses the same assessment book throughout Year 7-9. However, each year, pupils use a new exercise book.

We design the D&T curriculum in KS 3 so that pupils will develop their confidence and expertise in a wide variety of projects which cover a range of competencies. For convenience these are grouped under some broad headings in KS 3 so that they are fully prepared to make their options choices for KS 4:

  • In Design and Technology (Systems) pupils acquire practical circuit building skills and an understanding of the underlying principles of this ever changing area.
  • Design and Technology (Timber) involves the making of products from materials which require tools and equipment to shape such as woods, metals and plastics.
  • In Computer Aided Design and manufacturing we insist that our pupils know about the new technological revolution taking place in industry and the use of computers to control machines.
  • In Engineering many of our projects include an element of electrical, mechanical or fabrication Engineering.

Graded/levelled work

Year 8 (Wooden Box) has boxes on practice pages for isometric sketching which will be graded once completed.
Practical test pieces are recorded in books with a self-assessed mark followed by a teacher grade.

Teachers will record advice on the work. Once a formal mark is recorded on the mark sheet this will indicate that the pupil has responded to the advice, or has reached their personal level.

From module 3 onwards, work is marked out of 10 so a percentage can be worked out for each piece 90% = 9, 80% = 8, 70% = 7, 60% = 6, 50% = 5, 40% = 4 There is a grid in workbooks which should be completed for each piece of work.

Written formative comments

Within pupils workbook depends on whereabouts pupils are on the project. Teachers will record advice on the work, once a formal mark is recorded on the mark sheet this will indicate that the pupil has responded to the advice.

Verbal formative comments 

Given all the time as KS3 is a 50/50 mixture of theory and knowledge. Feedback in practical lessons including sketching and drawing is immediate, ‘VF’ written by teacher in the pupils’ workbook indicates where verbal feedback has been given. It is the responsibility of the pupil to record this advice.

Opportunity for pupils to act upon feedback

It is expected that pupils should respond to feedback as the design process is linear. With sketching and drawing, group appraisal, peer appraisal and the nature of making incremental improvements make this a natural process. In practical lessons feedback is instantaneous as correct and safe operation of tools and equipment is insisted upon at all times.

Special circumstances/Notes

Other work not seen will be practice test pieces or computer based work which may be assessed electronically and therefore not printed. Orthographic drawing or isometric sketching completed within lessons will be assessed at the end of lesson via peer appraisal and teacher appraisal as part of the plenary. This may be used as a starter activity to highlight areas of improvement for the forthcoming lesson.

At Key Stage 3 the Mathematics department follows the Mathematics Programme of Study from the National Curriculum. At Key Stage 4 we follow a linear GCSE using the AQA syllabus. Both key stages cover topics within number; algebra; ratio, proportion and rates of change; statistics; geometry and probability. In addition the Mathematics curriculum develops a student’s creativity by combining understanding and reasoning to construct new knowledge as well as using existing mathematical knowledge to create solutions to unfamiliar problems. Pupils will learn that Mathematics is fundamental in providing tools for understanding science, engineering, technology and economics and our students will learn some of the skills used to model, interpret or represent situations.

Graded/levelled work

Grades will not be given as part of the weekly formative cycle. They appear on reports or after the summer exam. Written formative comments Brief formative comments are written at each teacher’s discretion when marking homework. This occurs at a minimum of once every two weeks.

Verbal formative comments

These occur during lesson time when the teacher is circulating the room and they may refer to class work or homework. In addition starters are often used to address misconceptions that the teacher has identified in homework.

Opportunity for pupils to act upon feedback

Pupils will act upon feedback in a variety of ways including but not limited to:

A pupil may be able to complete a question once a teacher has helped them in class.
After a teacher has gone over a misconception a similar question is posed to the class either in class time or for homework.

In Years 8 and 9, French is studied for 3 hours a week (although the two top sets continue with 2 hours of French but also pick up 1 hour of Spanish).

We have a very successful “Asia Club” for students from Years 7 – 13, have been over many years closely involved in Cumbria Connecting Classrooms and enjoy links and exchanges with schools in Korea and Taiwan respectively. As a result of the international dimension at the school we hold Full International Status awarded by the British Council. In addition, our KS3 pupils have penfriends in French schools in Forbach and Quimper. We write letters and have Skype links with them.

Graded work

In exercise books – waystage and end of module outcomes. Pieces done in controlled conditions in purple levelled piece books. (Penfriend letters). End of module tests in purple levelled piece books.

Written formative comments

In exercise books and in purple levelled piece books. Verbal formative comments Teacher circulates and gives individual feedback/whole class feedforward given at key points.

Opportunity for pupils to act upon feedback

Pupils do feedforward in green pen in exercise books and purple books after each outcome/assessment. Corrections done x3 in green pen in both books. 

Special circumstances/Notes – Small purple book for rough work and vocabulary tests.

Pupils at KS3 receive one hour of music per week and are taught in mixed ability groups within an ‘x’ and ‘y’ half of the year group. Pupils study three/four different topics a year, each incorporating a variety of practical, composing and listening tasks.

Graded/levelled work

End of topics: ½ termly in year 7 and Autumn and Spring terms of year 8. Termly in summer term of year 8 and all year 9
Can be found in work booklets on the performance assessment and/or composition page for each topic.
Also, levels are recorded on yellow cards, found at the back of pupil’s work-booklets, after each assessment.

Written formative comments

At the end of each topic in work booklets on the performance assessment and/or composition page for each topic. Pupils are also given one short piece of written feedback on their feedback/feedforward page for each topic, a few weeks before the assessment. 

Verbal formative comments

Pupils are given verbal feedback on their work most lessons – at least once every two weeks. Teachers circulate pupils during practical work to check progress and give advice on improvements.

Opportunity for pupils to act upon feedback

In every practical lesson pupils set their own targets which they are expected to work on. They also have the opportunity to work on verbal or written feedback before every assessment. Progress towards an assessment is made over a series of lessons, usually no less than 4, therefore pupils are constantly acting upon feedback in most lessons.

Special circumstances/Notes

All work is completed in work booklets. Summative assessment results can also be found on the yellow cards, which are kept in the back of pupil’s work-booklets. These show grades and marks from previous assessments (year 7-9, demonstrating progress over time.

The pupils follow a broad and balanced curriculum with a mix of individual and team sports. They receive two hours of physical education per week at KS3 and one hour per week in Years 10 and 11. In years 7 to 11 all pupils follow a set program rotating every half term. The program includes all the major games (hockey, netball, rugby, basketball, tennis, rounders, cricket, badminton and football) as well as gymnastics, dance, trampolining, athletics and cross-country. In Years 7/8/9 each pupil will take a theory examination twice a year on a variety of topics, covered in practical lessons. This mark will be added to their practical performance to reach an overall grade.

Graded/levelled work – Pupils levelled end of each block of activity, usually every half-term in their booklet.

Written formative comments – Pupils record how to get to next level in their booklet.

Verbal formative comments  – Given during lesson time when practising skills or playing game.

Opportunity for pupils to act upon feedback – During next session in recap/they can continue to develop their ability through the block of work/practices

Special circumstances/Notes  – Information kept at Sports Hall. Recorded in booklets throughout KS3.

Autumn Term
Hinduism and Islam with a focus on the influence of religious leaders (including Muhammad and Gandhi)

Spring Term
Buddhism (this includes a trip to a Buddhist monastery as part of an investigation on worship and meditation)

Summer Term
Spirited Arts, Prayer space

Graded work – Three summative assessments in each year: two end-of-unit assessments and an end of year exam. These are written on lined paper and stored in an ‘assessment folders’.

Written formative comments – Targets for improvement (ebi) are given on each summative assessment. These targets mostly focus on skills rather than knowledge and tie into a generic mark scheme.

Verbal formative comments – In lessons. Teacher circulates and gives either individual feedback or addresses whole class if there is a specific issue.

Opportunity for pupils to act upon feedback  – On the next assessed piece of work which assesses the relevant skill.

In the science department the Key Stage 3 pupils receive three hours of science lessons per week and are generally taught by a single teacher, there is therefore no separate science teaching at this level but individual modules are clearly identifiable as being biology, chemistry or physics. The department teaches according to its own schemes of work which are designed to make the lessons as practical as possible, whilst still maintaining a firm focus on traditional science concepts.

Graded work – A4 document folders, kept in school. On average work will be graded twice per module.

Written formative comments – Found in the document folders.

Verbal formative comments – Given in lessons either as part of general class feedback or specific feedback to an individual.

Opportunity for pupils to act upon feedback – Formative feedback can be acted upon during summative assessments (both end of unit and termly). “Follow up” tasks after assessment. Core skills such as data interpretation will be revisited several times during a year.