Homework and Independent Learning
We believe that homework, when used correctly can help students to achieve their potential more fully than if we simply relied on study conducted during the timetabled curriculum. There is clear evidence that successful students make progress when they embrace homework and where they take the opportunity to enjoy, consolidate and extend their learning. Through homework, students become flexible independent learners able to cope with the demands of a future working life. “Key Principles Extensive meta-research” conducted by the Educational Endowment Foundation reveals several key principles in the setting of homework which allow for that work to have the most significant impact and these have been adopted within our approach. Departments have the flexibility within Key Stage 3 and choose to set either independent learning projects (ILPs) which are a series of structured tasks which are designed to encourage a degree of independence in the student or set regular short homework tasks which are clearly linked to the classroom learning. At Key Stage 4 and 5 departments set regular homework tasks which are clearly linked to the classroom learning which may include research for forthcoming lessons or tasks linked to assessments and final exams. Many of our departments set homework using online platforms such as Hegarty Maths and Educake.
All of our students are also encouraged to undertake independent study and retrieval practice and this is reinforced through study skills sessions as part of the School of Character programme, parents information evenings and assemblies.
(Please also see our homework and independent learning policy)
School of Character
The Polesworth School has used the School of Character programme for many years. The programme aims to develop the following areas:
The activities delivered during Tutorial time along with our Enhanced Learning Days aim to develop these areas and provide the requirements of PSHE, RSE and Citizenship including British Values. The programme is adapted at times to put a stronger focus on local issues. We strongly believe that these activities along with the extracurricular opportunities (over sixty clubs/teams took place each fortnight at the last audit) and educational visits that our staff offer, contribute significantly to the personal development of our students.
Assessing curriculum impact
Targets and assessment
All students in Years 7-11 are set a target grade based upon what a student with comparable scores or levels at Key Stage 2, is expected to achieve at the end of Year 11, (the attainment 8 estimate) which is then reviewed to ensure challenge. A similar system, based upon a progress measure, is used to generate A level targets. These targets are then broken down into progress targets we would expect a student to be achieving at the end of each year and at each of our data points throughout the year. This ensures that we can easily identify students who are not making expected progress and allows us to provide timely and supportive interventions at an early stage. Our tracking system also generates strengths and improvements in each subject to ensure that staff, students and parents know what knowledge or content a student needs to develop. We want every child to achieve their potential during their time at The Polesworth School and, to assist with this, we keep target grades under review to ensure that they remain challenging.
At The Polesworth School, we believe that regular feedback is essential in supporting pupils to make outstanding progress in their learning. However, the form in which feedback and assessment takes place must be specifically related to the individual subject to ensure its effectiveness. Students are assessed through a combination of peer, self and teacher assessments. Summative assessment takes place at least three times a year but can be more frequently to suit the needs of student achievement in the particular subject. In developing this approach, we have considered the findings and recommendations of “Eliminating unnecessary workload around marking” – DfE March 2016 and “A marked improvement? A review of the evidence on written marking” – EEF April 2016. To that end, each department has an individual policy which is based upon our whole school core principles of assessment and feedback and is consistently implemented by all members of staff in that department.
Parents and carers receive written information three times per year on their child’s attitude and behaviour for learning; their target grades for the end of the year; the current attainment grade in each subject; information about whether the student is on, above or below their “progress flight path”, skills or topics of strength and skills or topics that need to be a focus for development. Years 10 to 13 will also receive the grade that their teachers are forecasting them to achieve at the end of the course. Parents and carers are also invited to a range of subject evening, information evenings and parent forums throughout the year in addition to being encouraged to contact the school whenever they would like to.