Progress Portfolio

Dear Parent

Key Stage 4 is an exciting as well as a challenging time for students. The GCSE journey through both Years 10 and 11 will present your child with the opportunity to secure the qualifications necessary to advance onto their chosen pathway beyond school; whether it be Sixth Form, college or a vocational training scheme. We will support your child throughout Key Stage 4, and if they embrace their learning and commit to academic endeavour I am sure they will be very successful.

In order to support parents, the following guide aims to provide a quick and comprehensive source of information about all aspects of KS4 life.  The guide will include information on:

If you have any further questions or enquiries please do not hesitate to get in touch. Contact details are available on the back page of this document.

Yours faithfully

James Harris
Assistant Principal – Head of Key Stage 4

Changes to GCSE

As you are probably aware the government has recently announced radical changes to the structure and assessment of GCSEs. We are moving away from the familiar system of A*-G grades to a new system of grading with numbers. In addition to the changes to the structure of the GCSEs, the government is also raising the expectation of the standard of GCSE that will be considered as ‘good pass’ from a C to a new grade 5.

These changes have large implications for target setting in schools. At Hall Cross we feel that it is vitally important for students to receive new target grades as soon as possible. Consequently, the school is well advanced in preparations for the new GCSE grading system and is ready to begin rolling out new targets.

What do the numbers mean?

Because the content in the new GCSEs is so different there is no simple and direct way to convert between the old GCSE A*-G grades and the new number grades. However, to ensure that the new system is fair to those students taking the new exams the government has fixed the percentages of students gaining particular grades against the old system. So for example the same proportion of students that gained an ‘A’ and above in the old GCSEs will now gain a grade 7 and above in the new GCSEs. However, this does not mean that a grade 7 is equal to an A grade as the content is so different. We have included an explanation sheet from OFQUAL below that provides further information concerning the proportions of students that receive each grade compared with the old system.

Future timeline:

For students getting results in August 2017

Subjects to be graded 1-9:
Maths, English Language, English Literature

For students getting results in August 2018

Subjects to be graded 1-9:
All of the above – plus – Art & Design, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Dance, Double Science, Drama, Food & Nutrition, Geography, History, French, Spanish, German, Music, Physical Education, Physics, Philosophy and Ethics

For students getting results in August 2019

All of the above – plus –
Business Studies, Design & Technology, Economics, Film Studies, ICT, Media Studies, Psychology, Sociology

Does this mean my child might receive some numbers and letters when they get their grades?

Yes – Due to the number of different GCSEs that are being updated, not all subjects will be moving to the new 1-9 system at the same time. It is quite possible that your child will have a mix of letter and number grades when they receive their targets this year. This is the same nationally and your child will not be disadvantaged in any way by this. We will outline how we will report your child’s tracking grades in sections further in this document.

Assessment Calendar at KS4

In KS4 there are a total of 9 official assessment points carried out by their subject teachers.

Year 10

Year 11

After each round of assessment subject teachers will track the progress of your child.

How do we inform you of your child’s progress?

Parents’ Evening

Subject teachers will arrange appointment times with individual students. If you have concerns about arranging appointments with subject teachers please do not hesitate in contacting Mr King (Year 10 Year Manager) and Mrs Gibbins (Year 11 Year Manager).

Formal Parent Evenings provide a fantastic opportunity to discuss your child’s progress and potential strategies to further support them. However, the Academy would welcome any additional opportunities to discuss student progress throughout the year and we encourage parents to access Sims Leaning Gateway to keep updated on your child’s performance.

Throughout the Academic year parents will be provided with 3 Progress Reports which will indicate your child’s subject area, their MLG (Most Likely Grade) and their target grades. In addition to their academic performance, the Academy will also report on their attendance and Learner Profile.

Year 10 Progress Reporting dates
1. 14/11/16
2. 23/1/17
3. 27/3/17
4. 22/5/17
5. 10/7/17

Year 11 Progress Reporting dates
1. 21/10/16
2. 16/12/16
3. 6/2/17
4. 27/3/17

Learner Profile Grades

At each assessment point students will be assessed on their attitude to learning as well as their progress grades. Attitude to learning is graded using the `Hall Cross Learner’ which is a set of expectations made up of seven qualities which we believe will enable our students to succeed within school and in their future career.

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Student’s attitude to learning is assessed across the board and the appropriate attitude to learning is used to correspond with their behaviour, performance and attitude within lessons using the following matrix:

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Period 6

These sessions will address any areas of concern within the subject to help students gain a better understanding of any aspects with which they may be struggling. If your child is required to attend period 6 sessions for a subject, you will receive a letter which will outline the days and times of the sessions. Period 6 Intervention Sessions take place between 3.05pm-4.05pm Monday-Friday and your child will be required to attend until improvement occurs. These are compulsory sessions and we hope you will join us in encouraging your child to attend these intervention sessions if necessary as they are an important part of giving students the help they need to succeed.

Rewards and Sanctions

At Hall Cross Academy we believe that encouragement and reward is an integral part of the learning process for our students, rewards have a motivational role in helping students to realise that hard work, good behaviour and determination is valued by the Academy and wider community. The Hall Cross rewards policy is a points system which uses the `Hall Cross Learner’ to praise students who display those values and also reward any extra-curricular activities in which they take part. Bronze, Silver and Gold badges are awarded to students who reach a point’s threshold and points can also be `spent’ in the online VLE ‘shop’ exchanging points for prizes. Additionally, departments recommend students for effort and achievement awards every term and at the end of the academic year a celebration evening is held to share the successes of our students.

Occasionally, students do make wrong decisions and may be deemed to be in breach of the Behaviour Policy when displaying behaviours that:

disrupt the learning of others,
endanger the health and safety of the school community
damage the reputation of the school

You may see reward (and sanctions) given in the SIMS Learning Gateway.

Option Changes (Year 10 only)

We realise that some students may wish to change their GCSE options for various reasons and we will try and accommodate any changes as best we can. Students are given the opportunity to change options within the first 3 weeks however, students will be encouraged to spend some time in their options to make an informed judgement before making any decisions. If students are still unhappy we are happy to have discussions and changes will be made with a supporting letter from parents. After October half term there will be no changes made to options.

Hall Cross Sixth Form Entry Requirements (2017 Entry)

Throughout Key Stage 4, your child will be encouraged to carefully consider their pathway into post-16 education; if your child decides to stay with us to study at Hall Cross Sixth Form they will need to satisfy the following minimum entry requirements (please note that these are subject to change):

Grade 5 in Maths & English
Additional 4 C grades in other subjects
Further requirements to be decided by individual subjects and departments
Good attendance record
Good Learner Profile

Key Dates

Jul 2017

Summer Holidays

22nd July 2017 until 1st September 2017

Sep 2017

Training Day

4th September 2017

Students Return to School (More Information)

5th September 2017

Sixth Form Induction Day (Year 12)

6th September 2017

Year 13 Students Return

11th September 2017

Oct 2017

Training Day

27th October 2017

October Half Term

28th October 2017 until 5th November 2017

Dec 2017

Christmas Holidays

21st December 2017 until 7th January 2018

Feb 2018

February Half Term

10th February 2018 until 18th February 2018

Mar 2018

Easter Holiday

24th March 2018 until 8th April 2018

May 2018

May Day

7th May 2018

May Half Term

26th May 2018 until 3rd June 2018

Jul 2018

Summer Holiday

21st July 2018 until 2nd September 2018

Contacts

There are several points of contact within the school; for general enquiries please call the Upper School enquiries line on 01302 320626 or please send an email to enquiries@hallcrossacademy.co.uk where you will be directed to a member of staff who may be able to help.

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Mr J Harris

Assistant Principal - Key Stage 4 Phase Leader (Learning and Progress)

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Mrs J Wimsey

Key Stage 4 Intervention Coordinator

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Miss R Birch

Careers Advisor

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Mr P Wymer

Key Stage 4 Phase Leader (Care and Guidance)

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Miss H Murphy

Key Stage 4 Attendance Officer

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Mr A King

Year 10 Manager

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Mrs N Gibbins

Year 11 Manager

A paper copy of the information on our website is available on request to the School.