Released On 17th Sep 2021

Headteacher Letter Friday 17 September

17 September 2021

Dear Parent

What an enjoyable week it has been at Stanchester! The students have been impeccably focused, polite, and kind. This week we have seen: our senior students supporting younger students at the tills in the refectory, Year 10 students supporting within department teams, Year 9 students running our student reception, Year 7 supporting one another with learning songs for our choir, and some incredible acts of kindness reported from members of our local community. Wow, wow, wow!

As many of you will know, our focus at Stanchester Academy is to develop ‘Ambitious students who are knowledgeable and literate’; to do this we need to know what knowledge our students have retained and where any gaps might be. This term we will be focusing on assessment and home learning to accelerate their progress and help close the gaps which have inevitably occurred over the last 18 months. With a focus on KS3, we have decided to introduce the following:

GL Assessments

GL Assessment are the leading provider of formative assessments to UK schools. The data gained by doing these assessments helps the academy:

  • Highlight the strengths and gaps in reading and the core subjects
  • Reveal barriers to learning
  • Identify and support children with additional educational needs
  • Provide evidence of progress
  • Deliver evidence of whole school improvement
  • Directly inform teaching strategies

At Stanchester Academy we use a range of these assessments across multiple year groups. Each assessment takes place as an online test and the information can be looked at both individually and as a whole cohort.

NGRT (New group reader tests) Year 7

These are used to help identify and monitor the progress of a student’s reading skills against national averages. These are completed twice yearly to check that students’ reading skills are improving at an appropriate rate.

CAT4 (Cognitive ability tests)

These tests are an assessment of developed abilities in areas known to make a difference to learning and achievement – namely verbal, non-verbal, quantitative and spatial reasoning – and provides you with an accurate analysis of potential student achievement.

PTE/PTM/PTS (Progress Test Series in English/Math’s/Science)

These help to accurately measure how the school and students are performing in English, Maths and Science against the national average. The tests assess knowledge, understanding and application of the core curriculum subjects. They help us to understand current levels of attainment and identify any gaps in learning, at both an individual and group level, so we can appropriately intervene and support.

In both Year 8 and Year 9, we currently continue to use the NGRT to build an ongoing picture of the reading skills of the cohorts. Where required, selected students will complete a third test in the middle of the academic year to identify any additional support they may need.

For more information on assessment at Stanchester Academy, please contact Jason.young@stanchester.co.uk

Alongside the use of assessment, we know that home learning plays an essential part in our vision to develop students’ knowledge. The value of home learning in supporting academic progress is well evidenced; the Education Endowment Foundation has found that with the regular commitment to home learning, students can make up to 8 months of additional progress. In addition, through the completion of home learning tasks, students learn how to revise effectively, and develop the habits of commitment, hard work and critical reflection.

Home learning
We have recently updated our home learning policy. Below is a summary of the key points:

The homework we set will be centred around learning from students’ Knowledge Organisers through a process called self-quizzing. We have produced this short video which demonstrates the process: https://youtu.be/Sp7-VQTN_Ok

Students should complete their self-quizzing in their practice books, which we have provided. One page (Years 7-9) or two pages (Years 10-11) of self-quizzing are expected per subject. All students have been issued these and shown how to use them effectively.

In subjects where home learning is set weekly (Ebacc subjects for Years 7-9 and all subjects in Years 10-11), additional or alternative tasks such as Hegarty Maths or practice exam questions may also be set.

Home learning will be explained in class and students will note it in planners. Additionally, teachers will set work on Microsoft Teams.

We have set up home learning support every morning from 8.00am in the Learning Centre to offer students help with self-quizzing and access computers and resources.

Home learning is an essential part of our carefully planned curriculum and is necessary for developing subject-knowledge mastery. We want excellent outcomes for every single Stanchester student so that they can be successful at university or in their chosen career path. If homework is not completed by the due date, or not completed to a satisfactory standard:

The teacher will log the home learning as not complete in their mark book and give the student an extension.

If a student does not hand the work in after an extension, they will attend an after-school detention in which they will complete the missing work. This will support them to not fall behind.

Home learning detentions run from 3pm-4pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If a student needs to attend a detention, the class teacher will make a phone-call home giving at least one day’s notice.

You can find the full version of our home learning policy on our school website. For any questions directly linked to home learning please contact Rachel.wellfair@stanchester.co.uk

To conclude, we have now finished our onsite testing programme and students are required to take lateral flow tests at home until the end of the month. Guidance suggests that students should take a test twice weekly and report the results directly to the NHS Test and Trace website. We have made these testing kits available for students to take home, please encourage your young people to self-test.

If you have any questions about assessment, home learning, or testing please get in touch,

Yours sincerely

Miss E Forward

Headteacher