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In Year 7 we consider it essential that students develop strong routines and habits around out-of-school learning from the offset. We also want them to develop their enthusiasm and natural curiosity for learning new things and, above all, engage fully in the curriculum. At the same time, we are aware of the anxieties students and parents alike can feel in managing the transition from primary to secondary school, and homework can form part of this pressure.
The approach to Independent Learning in Year 7
In Year 7, we think it is vital to build good independent learning habits from the outset. We are also determined to maintain enjoyment, enthusiasm, curiosity and pride in work.
Year 7 students are not formally set weekly homework tasks that are collected by the class teacher. We have not seen a net benefit to this approach in year 7 in the past, and have found that it detracts from our core purpose of securing effective transition from primary school. Instead, students are shown how to work independently, and given the resources and materials they need to do this. In addition, they are given multiple opportunities to apply their knowledge and skills across the curriculum in a number of engaging projects.
The two main elements of Independent Learning in Year 7 are:
A termly cross-curricular termly project.
Subject-specific Independent Learning Booklets (ILBs).
Termly projects (Cross-curricular)
Students in year 7 will be set a project each term, which consolidates and extends the knowledge and skills that they have acquired in their academic subjects, as well as allowing them to explore issues that are important to them personally. The first term’s project for year 7 is the Ignite project, which focuses on developing their ability in expressing themselves confidently fluently and accurately in spoken language.
The Ignite brief has already been shared with parents and can be found here.
More information will follow regarding Spring Term and Summer Term projects.
Independent Learning Booklets (ILBs)
Year 7 students also receive an Independent Learning Booklet (ILB) for each of their subject. This will be given to students to take home and work from, as well as an electronic copy being uploaded to Google Classroom. Students should be able to work through these booklets independently and track their own progress. Any queries regarding these booklets should be directed to the subject teacher or Head of Faculty. ILBS should contain the following:
Key content for the course, arranged by topics, half termly or termly;
Clear guidance on how to memorise, revise and practice effectively;
Relevant reading that students can complete around the subject;
Links to online resources with relevant passwords/ instructions (e.g. Seneca, Educake, Linguascope, Hegarty Maths);
Opportunities for students to practise, test themselves and self-assess.
All tasks set to be completed outside of school are uploaded to Google Classroom and Show My Homework. We are currently phasing out Show My Homework in favour of Google Classroom so this is the primary platform to use. Students have been invited to join their Google Classroom by each of their teachers and it has been explained how they can receive assignments and upload work. Please click here for a reminder on how to do this.
Parents can monitor their child’s tasks by being invited to join the Google Classroom by the class teacher. Here is a useful video that outlines Google Classroom for parents.
We also expect students in year 7 to be reading for pleasure, and silent reading takes up a portion of form time. Please support us in encouraging your child to read, ideally by reading with them if possible.
We would expect a year 7 student to be spending around 45 minutes a week on each subject outside of school. Here are some ways in which you can support your child with independent learning at home:
Discuss homework regularly with your child;
Provide encouragement and support for your child when they take responsibility for organising themselves and putting in effort;
Keep track of Google Classroom and the ILBs so you can support your child in becoming organised;
Draw up a schedule with them to follow for independent learning (this will be an invaluable skill when they come to do their GCSEs);
Establish a suitable place for them to study;
If in doubt, ask! Contact the class teacher or Head of Faculty for advice.
Current expectations regarding possible school closure or self-isolation
Please be aware that, in the event of a school closure, remote learning will be a hybrid of live teaching and remote learning via Google Classroom. It is therefore vital that you are able to navigate the platform as soon as possible.