kc_alicante_45Becoming a successful GCSE student

Years 10 and 11 mark a very intense period of study under the British system as pupils begin to prepare for, and then take, examinations known as (I)GCSEs – (International) General Certificates of Secondary Education.  Pupils will be expected to be more independent in their study habits and to start to enter into a regular revision programme whereby they are reviewing and revisiting topics they have covered in preparation for the examinations they will take at the end of Year 11.  We would expect pupils in Years 10 and 11 to be studying for approximately 1½ hours per evening in order to make good progress – this study time will not always be directed by class teachers via homework tasks and it is important for pupils to undertake private study and review any gaps in their understanding.

Attendance is another key factor to success at IGCSE.   The law requires that pupils attend school on a full-time basis unless they are too ill to do so.  if your child is sick and needs to stay at home they should contact friends or teachers using their school-provided email address in order to remain on top of any work they are missing.  Attendance rates of 95% are expected of all Year 10 and 11 pupils; please note that attendance of 90% represents one day off every two weeks or  approximately 240 lost learning hours over the two-year course, – the impact of non-attendance on final attainment is obvious.

Form Group Changes

It is our policy to change a child’s form group at key points of their schooling with us.  In Secondary, pupils’ form groups will be changed in Years 7, 10 and 12.  Pupils are mixed to enable them to learn how to make new friendships, to develop strategies for coping with change and to ensure form groups have a fair and even spread of the year group in terms of numbers, gender and native English speakers.  We are unable to enter into discussions with parents or pupils about the group to which they have been assigned and appreciate your support in speaking to your child and helping them through what can sometimes be a difficult time for them.  In our experience all pupils quickly adapt to their new groups and go on to made a wider and more diverse set of friendships within a couple of weeks of the new school year.

Year 10 & 11 Curriculum

Pupils in Years 10 & 11 study a core curriculum and are also able to choose four optional subjects.  Compulsory subjects include:

Compulsory IGCSE Subjects Compulsory Complementary Studies Optional IGCSE Subjects
English Language
English Literature
Mathematics
Spanish
Biology and/or
Chemistry and/or
Physics
C.C. Sociales
Valencian
Physical Education
Personal, Social & Health Education
Enrichment Studies
Art & Design
Business Studies
Computing
Drama
French
Geography
German
History
Music

Lessons are normally delievered in double periods (1h30).

External Examinations

Compulsory and optional IGCSE subjects will culminate in examinations at the end of Year 11.  Please note that these examinations are externally set, marked and moderated by one of three examination boards. (I)GCSE is a highly regarded qualification which is accredited by OfQual and currently examined, in our school, by CIE, Pearson and AQA.   Further details of which boards examine which subjects can be found in the Curriculum Outlines accessible via the link above.

Examination timetables are set by the boards each year and cannot be altered.  Speaking and practical examinations can take place as early as February of Year 11 whilst written examinations normally take place from the end of April until the end of June.  It is imperative that parents do not book any holidays for pupils in Year 11 after Christmas as any examinations that are missed cannot be taken at another time and normally result in an X (NO RESULT) grade in the final exam.

Assessment, Recording, Reporting and Tracking

Pupils in Years 10-11 are currently assessed against the existing GCSE criteria using a scale of A*-G (A* being the highest available grade).  Work that does not meet at least “G” level will be awarded a “U” grade or “Ungraded”.  You will receive three written reports each year and will also be invited in to meet with your child’s form tutor and subject teachers.  For further information please download our Parent Guide to Assessment as well as our Assessment Calendar for Parents.

There is also a link to the Parent Workshop on Assessment that was run in early Term 1 2016.