I'm afraid that this will be a bit of a rant today. Largely because Year 10 are driving me mad. Their attitude is just so appallingly lacklustre and I'm struggling to get them to realise that this is it now - this is not some silly little KS3 assessment any more. This IS their GCSE and without an English GCSE, they're basically screwed in today's job market/world. I've spoken to them about this a few times now and it just seems to go in one ear and out the other.
I think there are a few questions that immediately spring to mind here:
1. How can I make them realise how important this is? 2. How can I make our lessons both structured and focused as well as fun? 3. Why haven't some of them freaked out after being told that they'd totally cocked up their first controlled assessment this year?
They should all be Band 4 or above. A lot of them were, some of them were the top of Band 3 which, in terms of averages, is still totally retrievable given that it's the first assessment. However, several of them were bottom of Band 3 and even Band 2 which, for that class, is appalling.
Had they all been crap, I'd be sitting here reviewing my teaching methods and questioning where I went wrong. But in a class where the top mark was Band 5 and the bottom was Band 2, it leaves me a bit stuck with what actually went wrong.
My plan has to be focused on differentiation. Tomorrow, I'm going to redo my seating plan to seat the various ability ranges together so that I can focus on setting them work which will really improve their skills. I would encourage a Level 4 KS3 student to do Level 7 work so why should it be any different here? If the setting is such that the class is a mixed bag then differentiation is the only way forward. I need to plan some homework which is tailored to different skills too.
It's just finding the time and energy at the moment though..! Still, I'll have a go and see whether it makes a difference.