wyedean School

Aspire together, Achieve together
Adfecere pariter, Perfecere pariter

Learning Area Newsletters / blogs

KS3 Newsletter May 2017

As we tentatively begin to dip our toes in to the summer term, I thought it may be useful to introduce myself in my new role and provide an overview of some key priorities and exciting developments this term.

I have recently increased my responsibilities and taken on responsibility for key stage 3, as well as key stage 5. I use Twitter a lot as a platform for sharing ideas, and one suggestion was to write a termly newsletter to parents. So, as a parent and teacher who appreciates communication, here goes …

Year 7 students are now established at Wyedean and we look forward to using their recent experiences to share with our new students who will be arriving at the end of June on taster days. Sessions are arranged for year 5 and 6 prospective students, and we hope that by employing year 7 ambassadors, we can make the transition process even smoother.

Wyedean has participated in shadowing the Carnegie children’s book awards for some years and this is an excellent enrichment activity to which all students are welcome. As a compliment to accelerated reader, please encourage students to attend meetings on Thursday lunchtimes with Angela in the library. Alternatively if you’re stuck for reading suggestions, these novels may provide a useful starting point for encouraging something different. Reviews can be posted online: see Angela for details. The list of this year’s nominations can be found at via the following link:

http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/carnegie-current-shortlist.php

Please note: ‘Beck’ by Mal Peet is categorised for older readers only and we are advising for KS4 rather than KS3.

Angela will also be running the ever popular trip to the Hay-on-Wye literary festival and has a great line-up of speakers planned. Look out for letters coming soon. Places, as always, will be on a first come, first served basis.

Another exciting development is the launch of our creative writing magazine in the local community. In the style of The Book Fairies, a charity which donates reading materials anonymously to promote literacy, we are going to distribute copies of our creative writing magazine across the community. Each half term, a teacher and key stage 3 class will take responsibility for content, production and distribution with the aim of sharing our writing with others. This term, my year 8 English class have worked feverishly on creative character writing inspired by Dickens; our launch weekend is Saturday 13th May when we intend to drop the magazines into a range of public places in the locality from coffee shops to doctors’ surgeries. Please follow us on Twitter @WyedeanEnglish #whyreadwyewrite and look out for copies of ‘The Wyedean Review’ in the local community. Please use the hashtag to let us know what you think!

The Public Speaking group goes from strength to strength and meets weekly with Mrs Bartlett and Miss Dawson. Having celebrated success with Rotary club competitions in the past, this is something we wish to extend so if you’re interested in debating topical issues, please come along to G6 on Wednesdays.

Latin, under the excellent leadership of Mrs Roberts, also goes from strength to strength. We have a programme of study for year 7 and 8 students who explore language and classical civilisation through literature. Planning provision for year 9 is a key target for September.

We have also been pleased to introduce a year 8 enrichment group which has met fortnightly and explored the issue of identify through past A-level texts. I would like to thank Miss Wotton, our trainee teacher from the University of the West of England for her input and again, look forward to rolling out further intervention and acceleration programmes across the key stage.

We look forward to meeting year 8 parents again on Thursday 8th June. And for all of our new starters, should you have missed parents’ evenings or reports, please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any queries or concerns.

It is also important to emphasise that this year we will be having end of year assessments for all year groups in key stage 3. This is particularly important as we move towards linear assessments at GCSE. These will not take place until after the May half term and further information will be shared by class teachers on what the students should expect and how best to prepare for these summative assessments.

To finish, I would like to share one of my happiest moments in role so far: this was to share in one of Mrs Smith’s year 7, set 3 student’s successes at analytical writing, an extract from which is printed below. To me, this epitomised our ethos in providing challenging materials and setting the highest of expectations to encourage all students to succeed.

I would be grateful if you would provide any feedback on this newsletter to: mcmanusl@wyedean.gloucs.sch.uk.

Mrs J Smith’s Year 7y3 class have been studying narrative writing. As part of this unit of work, we have read and analysed the nineteeth century short story ‘The Pit and The Pendulum’. Using Lemov’s close reading techniques, the class have produced an impressive standard of literary analysis: Nicole Dash’s work below is an excellent example of the type of work produced.

 How does Edger Allan Poe create suspense and tension

In this part of the story?

  This story explores the idea that Poe creates suspense and tension by explaining how the protagonist is feeling. He also creates tension through the phrase “ere it swept so closely over me as to fan me with its acrid breath”. The most important idea here is that the protagonist is feeling scared through the words “acrid breath”. He uses the words to infer that the blade is close to hitting him. Poe is explaining that the protagonist is in danger.

  

KS5 Newsletter May 2017

As we tentatively begin to dip our toes in to the summer term, I thought it may be useful to introduce myself in my new role and provide an overview of some key priorities and exciting developments this term.

I have recently increased my responsibilities and taken on responsibility for key stage 3, as well as key stage 5. I use Twitter a lot as a platform for sharing ideas, and one suggestion was to write a termly newsletter to parents. So, here goes …

Year 13 students have all recently submitted final drafts of coursework and completed a second series of mock exams. These full mocks will be used by classroom teachers to provide personalised feedback to allow students to secure the highest grades possible.  We are always looking to exceed target grades, so revision sessions have been planned carefully based on mock results. Mrs Smith will be running weekly session based on the poetry components and I will be running key sessions for the drama components. Specific details can be found via our very active Facebook group page.  We also use this page regularly and update Moodle and SMHW with key articles and resources to help students prepare as the final exams approach.

Year 12 have a second set of mock exams starting on the 19th June, which will allow us to ascertain progress made since January.  We are busy encouraging year 12s to read a range of texts in preparation for the coursework component. Here, students pair ‘Jane Eyre’ with a post 2000 novel (Man Booker prize short-listed) from those listed below:

‘Room’ by Emma Donoghue

‘We are all completely beside ourselves’ by Karen Joy Fowler

‘Pigeon English’ by Stephen Kelman

‘The Little Stranger’ by Sarah Waters

‘Life of Pi’ by Yann Martel

‘Wolf Hall’ by Hilary Mantel

‘Cloud Atlas’ by David Mitchell

‘Mr Pip’ by Lloyd Jones

‘Atonement’ by Ian McEwan

‘Never Let Me Go’ by Kazuo Ishiguro

‘Notes on a Scandal’ by Zoe Heller

‘The Sisters’ Brothers’ by Patrick DeWitt

We are considering adding ‘His Bloody Project’ by, so let us know what your thoughts! We expect students to have chosen their partner text and created a plan on return after the May half term.  More details to follow from class teachers.

Many thanks to Miss Dawson for organising the stimulating trip to see one of our set texts, ‘Enron’ in Bath recently. Also thanks to Mia Gordon representing Hereford College of Performing Arts and Worcester University for her delivery of sometimes challenging workshops on ‘The Tempest’ and ‘Enron’. As a senior A-level examiner, I know how helpful it is to explore dramatic texts in performance.  With that in mind, there is the possibility of a trip to The Barbican Theatre in London to see ‘the Tempest’ prior to study next term. Year 12 students should let me know if they are interested as soon as possible.

I would be grateful if you would provide any feedback on this newsletter to: mcmanusl@wyedean.gloucs.sch.uk