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Subject Reviews for 2014

TEAM EVALUATIONS

 

Maths and Computing – R Wardhaugh (Team Leader)

The Junior Maths Challenge is a national competition held every year which enables really able mathematicians to compete against others by solving 25 problems. A points system is in place and students gain or lose points depending on which question it is, so strategy as well as Maths is tested.  I am pleased to say that after entering 120 Year 7 and 8 students, we received 29 bronze, 16 silver and 6 gold certificates.

The team supported a School Direct trainee last year, who successfully passed her training and has now started an NQT year at another school.  We wish her well for the future.

There have been some new activities in and outside of the classroom with the appointment of an Assistant Team Leader for ICT.  Firstly, there have been two house competitions using the Wii.  Mario Karts was well received, especially as there was a staff as well as a students’ final!  Then, towards the end of the year there was a dance-off competition.  In addition, new technology has been used in Computer Science lessons.  Using a Raspberry pi and a robotic arm has certainly made the lessons more interesting and helped to really engage students.

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There was a lot of support across the team this year as many were teaching a subject outside of their comfort zone.  Aside from making us communicate more thoroughly, it has given us an idea of what it is like to be teaching the other subject, with the opportunity to develop a wider set of skills.

The Maths ambassadors were an integral part of the intervention in KS3 this year.  Twice a week during tutorial they would take a small group of students out, to work on basic skills such as times tables and division.  Feedback from the students was positive as well as from the ambassadors.  This is hopefully something that we can recreate this year.

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English – R Stapleton (Team Leader)

The Spelling Bee again created a buzz and, as promised, was extended across Years 7, 8 and 9. Class competitions led to exciting final rounds in March and July. Year 8 victors were Jamie Robertson (8M), his second Spelling Bee win after coming first in the 2013 contest, in second place, Euan Holmes (8C), and in third place, Amelia Seymour (8A).  Charlotte Lemon (7S) and Conor McCafferty (7T) were joint winners with Oliver Davies (7A) achieving third, whilst In July, out of twenty finalists in Year 9, Caitlin Edens achieved third place, Sam Jones came a close second, and Will Cregan took the first place title. The competition is now an established part of the curriculum.

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Inventive ideas abounded as all students in Year 8 took part in a group reading challenge: dramatic readings, film trailers, extra chapters, reviews and interviews with authors – just some of the creative ideas presented to persuade others to read their chosen novel. Local author, Jaede Wylde, came to talk to Year 10 about the process of writing.

March saw the College celebrating World Book Day with staff and students dressing up as their favourite fictional characters and taking part in a catwalk show during the lunch break.

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Trips to the theatre and places of interest involved students from all years: 120 Year 8 students visited the Battle of Bosworth visitor centre, supporting the Richard 111 Year 8 scheme; a trip to The Globe Theatre, including workshops, for Year 9 and 10 studying Julius Caesar was well supported by students; those in Year 8 studying ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night’ went to see the National’s streamed production in Stamford; in February Year 9 and 10 students went to Stratford, taking part in an exploratory  workshop before seeing the RSC’s production of ‘Antony and Cleopatra’.

Much work has taken place during the summer to revise the programme of study for Years 7 to 9 following the introduction of the new National Curriculum. Exciting and challenging new schemes for 2014/20015 will include the study of both contemporary and classic authors from Blackman to Morpurgo; Chaucer and Shakespeare to Dickens.

In both Key stages, students continued to benefit from tailor-made intervention programmes, delivered in small groups to maximise progress.

Students across Year 11 are to be congratulated on their results in English and English Literature. The iGCSE results for the first cohort taking this exam have been a resounding success.

 

Science – N Mentzel (Team Leader)

Last year was a successful year for the Science team. Two teams of students in Year 10 attended the annual Extreme Physics competition hosted by the Stimulating Physics Network and Institute of Physics.  Accompanied by Mrs Drake and Mr Kerley, the teams brought home both the 2nd and 3rd place trophies as well as an award for Best Scientific Journal completed during the competition weekend.  We are looking forward to the competition next year and hope to take the top spot!

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Science Week returned again in July, this year with a ‘fast and furious’ theme. The week gave students the opportunity to visit the Jaguar Land Rover factory, Rockingham Race Track, Leicester Tigers Training Ground and the Leicester Space Centre.  Other events included a ‘Science of Pyrotechnics’ presentation where students discovered the science behind fireworks and explosions and a set of workshops covering renewable energies, robotics, science in sport and innovative design.  Students were also enthused by Mr Kerley’s spectacular science show where they learned about pressure and combustion reactions. Plans are already in the pipeline for Science Week 2015.

During the summer terms, the Science team redesigned the KS3 schemes of work and assessments for Year 7 students based around the changes to the curriculum. These schemes of work have a greater emphasis on the development of practical skills as well as scientific knowledge and aim to provide more challenge to all students. The team will be developing these schemes further during this academic year, as well as designing an equally engaging curriculum for Year 8 students, for teaching in 2015. Preparation is also being done this year on the changes taking place in KS4 Science ready for implementation in August 2015.

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Results in August improved on the previous year with a higher number of students achieving top grades in both triple science and additional science.  This year, the team will be building on this success further by offering targeted groups of students sharply focused intervention sessions for each unit, beginning early in term one. Teamed with the completion of most controlled assessment in the summer term and the final controlled assessments timetabled before the end of term one, there is a well-structured approach in preparing the students for their GCSE exams.

As the Science team strives towards moving from ‘good’ to ‘outstanding’, marking and assessment are becoming a real focus for the future terms. A policy is currently being trialled which aims to create a dialogue between staff and students, giving regular, informative feedback to students as well as showing progress over time whilst still maintaining a manageable workload for staff. This has also led to the trial of a new piece of software which will analyse students’ assessment data, allowing staff to provide more effective additional support for individuals within their class.

The foci of the team transformation plan make this an exciting time for the Science curriculum area. We look forward to making further improvements and having another successful year.

Humanities and Modern Foreign Languages – S McGrath (Team Leader)

Many and varied were the trips and activities organised by the Humanities and Modern Foreign Languages team

this academic year. There was something for every year group; some trips were cultural with visits to Spain, France and Germany.  Some were historical with excursions to Black Country Museum, Battlefields and Beth Shalom.  Students experienced action-based learning, with PGL in France, Kingswood and Field trips for Year 7.  These proved very popular and quickly filled up.  It is our intention to offer a wide range of trips again this year as we believe they extend a student’s educational experience in a positive way.

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For the first time we had School Direct students in the College and two joined us, one in History and one in MFL.  I am pleased to say they both passed their year, with Corrie Wiik gaining a distinction and an award as the top student of the year.  We have a further two students this year and we look forward to them being as successful.

Two members of the team moved on this year, having been with us for three years.  They have been replaced with Corrie Wiik and an experienced Geographer, Lucy Jones.  Victoria Millikin has been appointed internally to replace Kate Weightman as ATL/Head of MFL.

Our GCSE results this year were again outstanding in History and Philosophy & Ethics, with larger than ever numbers of students in Year 10 choosing these as an option.  Geography results improved over last year and produced a good outcome.  This continues to be a popular choice amongst our GCSE students, especially boys.  Business Studies results likewise improved and produced some good results.  However, 2015 will be our last student entry.

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We are committed to building on the interest in languages and, with a further lesson per week in Year 9, Sanako online, and revised schemes of work, we hope to see a larger number of students choosing languages with further improvements in achievement.

Art and Design Technology – H Reeve (Team Leader)

The combined Art results in 2014 delivered a College record of 35% A*- A and 94% A*-C.  This is a 6% increase on the 2013 results and an incredible 12% A*-A /18% A*-C above the national average with a cohort of 70 students. Within DT, Graphics results increased by 42% at 66% A*-C, now 5% above the national average.

This year, 151 Year 9 students achieved their Silver Arts Award. The level 2 qualification is equivalent to half a point score of GCSE at grade B and administered by the Arts Council of Great Britain.

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Our cross-curricular initiative involves Painting and Drawing, 3D Studies, Textiles, Music, Drama and tutorial. One of the aims is to increase creativity and independent working in preparation for GCSE courses. Another is to ensure Catmose students have a nationally recognised qualification in the Arts.

The broad theme of accessories enabled students to successfully produce work related to their own interests.  Work ranged from beautifully decorated headphones inspired by a culture, to a dramatic painting of a face in acrylic.  The diverse range of work was showcased in our first Year 9 exhibition.

Students’ choice of materials and techniques led to greater motivation, leading the moderator to comment, “Congratulations on another very successful year! The students’ individual art work was a joy to see and their own personal interests had really been pursued.’  In addition to the qualification, all Year 9 students worked with a variety of different Artists/Designers in: a drawing and mixed media workshop using the theme of ‘recycled’, a conversation piece in ceramics and a workshop on creating a textiles brooch inspired by insects.

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Judith Spiers, James Brydon and Lisa Woods continued to liaise with staff at Catmose Primary to deliver a range of projects tied into their curriculum, including a World War I pop-up book, puppets created using fabric, designing a dream house and constructing 3D Roman objects from card inspired by the visit to the Oakham Museum. This really does give our primary school pupils a rich and varied experience with materials and techniques.

Numerous competitions and events ran throughout the year across the two departments.  Within DT, the ‘Future Chef’ competition was highly successful, one student was awarded runner-up at the New Stamford College regional final. Catmose College hosted the ‘Rotary Young Chef’ competition and students excelled themselves by achieving first and third place. Graphics entered the National Pro skills ‘Print It Challenge’ with Year 10, Primary and Key Stage 3 students entering the School Games ‘Design a Torch’ competition and winning the area class for Rutland County.  Art ran the very successful annual Christmas card competition, alongside numerous House competitions including ‘Design a Map for the School’.

Across the year we ran inspiring trips including a joint residential Art and French trip to Paris and days out at The Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge, Phoenix cinema and Oakham Galleries. Nicola Ray ran a graffiti weekend workshop with students to produce large spray painted panels inspired by Rutland County in a commission for a local bike shop. After experiencing the WEE lecture, Year 9 made a diverse range of hand-crafted products to sell at our exhibition evenings. ‘Gifts for Ghana’ raised over £200 to support our forthcoming visit in October 2014.

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We firmly believe it is essential that students experience Arts and Crafts first-hand and we have expanded our trips this year to include a sculpture workshop at Burghley House, observational sketching and how to analyse a painting at The Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge, resource collecting at The V & A and Tate gallery, investigating designers at The Design museum and a Photography workshop in a London studio.  In 2014-2015 we aim to increase our student enjoyment and cultural awareness further through more weekend workshops, as well as visiting artists and designers.

 

Designated Special Provision – H Williams (Team Leader)

2013/2014 was a year of further development for the DSP, with the DSP tracker allowing for personalised intervention and personalised study support lessons to cater for each student’s needs, identified in their SEN statements and developing independence.

A highlight of the year was the annual DSP trip to visit Twycross Zoo which linked to the Small Animal Care vocational course that some students are studying.  Students displayed exceptional behaviour and fully took part in all activities.

The Year 10 GCSE English students also went to Nottingham Cinema where they watched a live recording of Macbeth from the Globe Theatre in order to support their English course.

During Science week, there was a workshop run by Mr Labsvirs designing and making cars that were propelled by compressed air and rockets that were fired into the air.  Bobby Roxburgh had the best design for the car and Thomas the highest flying rocket.

Students also visited Burghley House; linking into the History schemes of work and the Entry Level ICT qualification.  They participated in a trial of Henry VIII to decide if he was a villain or a hero, a tour of the Elizabethan house led by Henry VIII followed by a tour of the sculpture gardens.

The specialist teaching received by students during Years 7 and 8 has seen an increase of DSP in the number of students making a successful transition into mainstream in preparation for their GCSE courses.  All three Year 9 students will start in mainstream teaching groups in September.  By Christmas, both Year 8 students will have made a successful transition into mainstream too.

Study support sessions have been modified to allow students additional time to complete classwork and homework with specialist support.  These sessions are now an integral part of student curriculum ensuring additional aspects of students statements are being met.

KS4 students successfully completed the highest level of the TITAN scheme (Travel Independence Training Across the Nation) run by Tish Barnwell who is the Road Safety Officer at Rutland County Council.  The scheme gave students more confidence when walking and travelling on buses and trains.

At the end of the year we held an awards presentation event inviting parents to share in students’ success.  This was a positive experience and many parents commented on how beneficial it was to meet with other parents, as well as to see the progress of individual students being recognised.

The DSP benefitted from 14 iPad minis, enhancing the resources available and allowing them to be more accessible.  Dictionary, spelling tests, interactive presentations, books and story-telling are just a few examples of resources used.

All Year 10 DSP students completed a successful week on work experience with a large number of placements including Sainsbury’s, nursery schools, primary schools, site maintenance, leather products factory and kitchen work.  The level of independence displayed was very high.

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