Encouraging Self Awareness
The Aspirational Flight Path
At the start of Y7 we work with our students on an individual basis to help them have an early idea of their possible career choice. We then help them research the qualifications needed to achieve that dream, the qualifications that they would need to achieve at G.C.S.E., A-Level and Further or Higher Education. The final piece of research is to identify the College or University that has, according to national statistics the best performance in that part of the flight path.
We work with the students throughout the year monitoring their flight path and helping them adjust it as dreams change and new opportunities arise.
Above, On or Below Grade
The abolition of National Curriculum Levels allowed the academy to develop a tracking scheme which fully supported the aspirational flight path. Whilst the academy is non-selective, prior to entry all pupils take a battery of tests that determine academic potential, leadership qualities and character strengths. Using the proposed 9 point scale for G.C.S.E. we use the baseline information to estimate the grades that should be obtained by each student at the end of Y11 and then add a further grade producing a final target grade of ‘baseline estimate plus one’ to encourage aspiration. Assuming a linear progression we then track this back year by year assuming a progression of one grade each academic year. Thus a pupil whose baseline estimate predicts an average of Grade 7 at the end of year 11 would have this increased to 8 and be expected to achieve the equivalent of a level 4 (grade C at G.C.S.E) by the end of Y7. Students are assessed in each subject 5 times a year and a report is produced against their progression targets which identifies whether the student is On, Above or Below their aspirational flightpath. Each of the five assessments taken by pupils during the year use previous G.C.S.E. questions matched to their progression targets. When we report to pupils or parents we do not talk of grade levels but simply what the student needs to do to improve or remain on their flightpath to the end of year grade point, thus avoiding the labelling of students. This information appears as traffic lights on their iPads. All Y11 targets are challenging and anchored to a minimum equivalent of 4 Levels of progress over two key stages in old measures.
Personal Mentoring Sessions
Each week time is set aside within a tutor lesson for individual student mentoring to take place. Each month a student will have a personal mentoring session with his / her tutor to look at personal progress and his / her aspirational flight path. Evidence is drawn from weekly attitude to learning reports, pastoral records attendance and punctuality records and end of Learning Cycle assessments. Students who are working below target or who have behaviour, attendance or punctuality issues will be seen by their tutor on a more regular basis.
Weekly Shout Out Assemblies
Each week a ‘shout out’ assembly is held. This is an opportunity for students to give a ‘praise’ shout out for one of their peers in recognition of showing excellence in one of the seven pillars.
Annual Reading Tests
We stress to our students that high literacy skills are fundamental to examination success. Each year we set individual reading improvement targets as well as whole academy reading age targets. We measure these improvements through an annual reading test for all students. Students who are ‘challenged readers’ gain one to one tuition and are tested on a more regular basis. Students identified as ‘literacy leaders’ are also challenged by leading a 10 week paired reading programme with at least 1 mentee.
World of Work Sessions Every 3 Weeks
As our students develop we want them to have a great understanding of the world of work and, to increase their awareness of the myriad of opportunities we bring in a ‘world of work’ speaker who talks about his / her flight path. In Y9 we start to personalise these talks to the aspirations of smaller groups of students.
Super Learning Days Every 7 Weeks
Each Learning Cycle we hold ‘super learning’ days to raise our students’ awareness of one of the issues facing society today. One super learning day is dedicated to a specific subject/faculty area and the second is focused on one of the seven pillars, covering such topics as diversity, e-safety, global warning, etc.
King’s Experience Pledges to Develop Cultural Awareness
The cultural pledge ensures annual visits to universities to enhance aspiration; museums to foster curiosity and plays to gain a greater understanding of other people’s views.
Improving Personal Vocabulary and Grammar
To increase our students’ vocabulary we email a ‘premiership word’ to them each morning. There are prizes for being first to email the definition of that word back to the sender as well as further prizes for using the word correctly in class during that day.
Each week a small PowerPoint is sent to all students explaining a different point of grammar with some examples. This is followed by a short exercise based on that grammatical point which has to be completed in that day’s tutor time.