The GCSE Countdown

Dear parent/carer

Last week was another exceptionally busy week with the Art, Photography, and French oral examinations. Once again these examinations were approached in exactly the right way by the students – who were determined and professional throughout. I must also mention the Prom which was last week, our students looked fantastic and were a credit to the school – it was a very special evening.

This week there is a bit of a lull before the main exams start next week, with the highlight of the week being the Smart Day for Year 11 on Friday and their final assembly during period 5. Subject areas are now busy revising in class and ensuring that students are focussing on the right areas of the curriculum and learning the key knowledge required. Teachers at the school have many years of experience between them and are the experts, they know what is needed, and it is vital that students listen carefully, are prepared for lessons, and work with them over the next few weeks to maximise their chance of success.

With the exams starting in earnest next week all students should now have received their individual examination timetables and I have posted a link to the school website at the bottom of this blog to the exam information page in case there is any further information that you require.

https://www.purbeck.dorset.sch.uk/information/exams/

Can I take this opportunity to wish your son/daughter all the very best for the examinations and to thank you once again for your support during this whole process.

Adam Darley
Headteacher

 


2 weeks to go

School Week  (28/04 – 03/05)

Dear parent/carer

The countdown continues – 10 school days to go until the first formal exam!

Once again it has been a busy week for Year 11, however, there is a little light relief at the end of the week with the Prom to look forward, and then their Smart Day the following Friday. These two occasions are times to reflect on the friendships that have made and to look back at their time at The Purbeck School – they have been a year group that have seen many changes, and of course it is also a time for Year 11’s to be excited for the future.

Art and Photography exams are running all this week, and there are French oral exams on Wednesday and Thursday. I ran an assembly for Year 11 students today with a focus on examination expectations, and some exam revision techniques. Those slides are attached, again with some links to videos that discuss revision techniques.

Thank you again for your support at this crucial time of year.

I will write again next week.

Adam Darley
Headteacher

 


3 school weeks to go

Dear parent/carer

The countdown continues – 13 school days to the first exam!

This week has seen more examinations taking place with the Spanish speaking exams. The Easter holidays are now upon us and in-between the eating of chocolate and the warmer weather it is another important time to ensure that the required hours of revision are being put in.

We have been stressing with the pupils the importance of making revision count – which includes ensuring that revision is done without distractions – which includes the dreaded mobile phone! and that revision is structured around a timetable so that all subject areas are covered – not just the ones that they are already comfortable with. With the two bank holidays in place next term we only have 13 school days left before the examinations start in earnest.

I have attached a link to a revision video that discusses the most effective revision techniques

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukLnPbIffxE

The most effective part of the video is part 2 where is discusses techniques that are effective to use (this is about 6.10 mins into the video).

Thank you for all your support this term.

Have a great week and Happy Easter – I will write again after the holidays.

Adam Darley
Headteacher


5 school weeks to go

School Week (18/3 to 22/3)

Dear parent/carer

The countdown continues – 25 school days to the first exam!

We have had another excellent week at school and I will be writing to you next week with details of some of the key dates for Year 11 students regarding our Smart Day/end of Year 11 assembly/the Prom and process/dates for the end of the school year. For some this will of course mark the end of their journey with us here at The Purbeck School, but we are also delighted that so many of our Year 11’s have applied to come back to the sixth form – if you haven’t applied and still wish to please ask your son/daughter to go to the 6th form office and ask for the relevant forms.

This week we have had the Music performance exams – nearly all have now been completed – this represents 15% of the overall examination mark. Mr Davis (Head of Music) has been incredibly impressed with the levels of performance that our students have achieved. I sat in on one performance and was blown away by the talent that was on show. This week it is the turn of Drama, the students will be performing this Thursday. Mrs Shannessy (Head of Drama) has been working incredibly hard with the students to ensure that they are ready for their big performance and I am sure that they will do her and themselves proud.

  • Revision strategy of the week – I have put a link this week to an article in a newspaper from 2013 – but it is still very relevant about revision strategies

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/2016/03/14/revision-techniques-the-secret-to-exam-revision-success/

Have a great week and I will write again next week,

Adam Darley
Headteacher


6 school weeks to go

Dear parent/carer

The countdown continues – 30 school days to the first exam!

With just 6 school weeks until the examinations are due to start it is probably a good chance to sit down with your son/daughter and take stock as to where they are with each of their subject areas. Which areas of study are they finding tricky; which are they secure on; what do they need to focus on; and what are the next steps. This is especially true with any coursework deadlines that might be looming.

The English oral exams have now finished and we have been delighted in the way that the students have approached these – with the standard being very high and have provided students with an excellent chance to supplement their revision for the English Literature exam. There is one exam this week – the Music performance exam on Friday – and we of course wish the students the very best of luck for this.

  • Exam tip of the week – I have put a link at the end of this sentence to The Purbeck School website; all the exam information is here including the dates for the final exams which you may want to print out and have a copy of – or save somewhere for reference.

https://www.purbeck.dorset.sch.uk/information/exams/

  • Revision strategy of the week – I have put a link this week to a 3.30 minute video on You Tube which advises you on 9 exam techniques to use – which I watched and thought might be useful!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p60rN9JEapg

Remember that Year 11’s should now be revising every evening for their exams – we would recommend at least 1 hour an evening.

Have a great week and I will write again next week,

Adam Darley
Headteacher


8 school weeks to go

Dear parent/carer

The countdown continues – 40 days to the first exam!

It was great to see many of you at the parents’ evening last week. Hopefully, it gave you a good understanding of next steps – I think the main message from all staff and from myself is a simple one – ‘revision is the key’ – there is no getting away from it!

The practical Food Tech exams took place last week and it was fantastic to see the dedication, creativity and focus that the students approached these exams with. The English oral exams continue this week, many students have already had their oral exam and again the early indications are that students have approached these in the professional manner that we would want them to.

One of the most important ways in which a student can improve their grade is to ensure that there coursework is the very best that it can be. In some subjects it can still make up a high percentage of their overall grade. It would be worth checking with your son/daughter about where they are with their coursework in each of the subject areas and to use the half term break to catch up in areas that they may be behind in.

  • Exam tip of the week – over the half term break try and encourage your son/daughter to sit and attempt a range of past examination questions linked to revision they may just have completed. It would be an idea to do some of these questions under examination conditions.
  • Revision strategy of the week – If you go to the website below the BBC has summarised some revision strategies that it claims are high or low in effect. It is from 2013 but still relevant.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-22565912

Remember that Year 11’s should now be revising every evening for their exams – we would recommend at least 1 hour an evening.

Have a great week and I will write again next week,

Adam Darley
Headteacher


School Week 2 ( 18th Feb – 22nd Feb)

Dear parent/carer

The countdown continues – 45 school days to the first exam!

Year 11 students are now busy finishing off coursework or coming to the end of their GCSE courses Revision will start in some lessons as we come back after half term and there are now revision sessions running across the school. When we are back after half term the Food Technologists have their Food practical exam (Tues 26th-28th Feb) and of course we have parents’ evening on the Thursday 28th Feb. Please try and sign up to see members of staff – particularly in any of the subjects where your son/daughter may be having any difficulties.

  • Exam tip of the week – make sure that you have all of the revision guides that you need to revise from thoroughly – if you have not got revision guides for a subject then either buy one at a book store or online (make sure it is linked to the right syllabus) or ask a teacher in school and they will have the guide that you need – probably for a cheaper price!
  • Revision strategy of the week – If you go to the website below it has six excellent revision strategies that you could suggest for your son or daughter

http://www.learningscientists.org/posters

Remember that Year 11’s should now be revising every evening for their exams – we would recommend at least 1 hour an evening.

Have a fantastic half term week and I will write again once we are back from half term.

Adam Darley
Headteacher


School Week 1 ( 11th Feb – 15th Feb)

Dear parent/carer

We now are on the countdown to the Year 11 summer exams. This year GCSE exams start on 13th May and finish on 17th June. This means that as of this Monday we have 50 school days left before that first exam – or 10 school weeks!!

As a result I thought it would be an idea to write to you each week in the form of an email (which will also be placed in the ‘Information’ tab and then ‘GCSE Year 11 countdown’ section of the website) with the latest information on what Year 11 have coming up, helpful exam information and some revision strategies that you might find useful to explore with your son/daughter.

  • Mock results – Year 11 students received their mock results on the 18th January – these should give a clear indication of the current position that your son or daughter is in – the mocks can often act as a wake up call!

Please discuss with your son/daughter – how they did? – could they have done more? – did they revise? and if the results haven’t gone the way that they should have done what will change in the future to ensure that the same results don’t happen again.

  • Exam tip of the week – have you looked on the exam board websites – they have lots of past papers for students to try out – ask your son/daughter to find out the exam boards that they are studying for each subject so that you can help them access past papers.
  • Revision strategy of the week – does your son/daughter have a revision timetable – research suggests that having a structured and systematic timetable enables students to stay focussed, organised and on track with their revision. Remember that the timetable has to be realistic and can involve more than one subject on an evening – chunking revision is also a good strategy.

Remember that Year 11’s should now be revising every evening for their exams – we would recommend at least 1 hour an evening set aside for revision.

Have a great week and I will write again next week,

Adam Darley
The Purbeck School