Many teenagers would rather choose social networking sites, cinema, friends and even exercise above revision. Yet Year 11 students from Cockburn School in Beeston have engaged with a host of innovative approaches to prepare students for their recent GCSE English Literature exams.
It all started in the Autumn term with the Student and Parent Revision Achievement Evening where parents and carers were given a range of strategies to support their children with their English work. From asking the right questions about poetry (where they did not have to know the answers), to memory techniques to help students remember quotes from Romeo and Juliet, parents left with the confidence to play their part in the preparation.
Students were also given extra revision sessions during morning form time, one-to-one academic mentoring sessions and weekly after school sessions for the entire year group. Most nights of the week see over 200 Year 11 students staying back after school to do extra revision known as Session 7.
Cockburn School students are also able to log on to the school’s VLE (Virtual Learning Environment – known to most as Frog) where they can access a host of revision materials including video clips and links to websites.
English students also regularly participated in emailed revision to a special English department email facility in which any student that sent work to the revision email would be entered in a draw for a £50 high street voucher. The teachers committed to sending back feedback within 24 hours of receiving the emails. Over the Christmas holidays they received over 100 pieces of work via email, all of which were sent back with tips for improvement.
The weekend before the first exam the English department added a calorific reward to the whole year group who worked late on a Friday afternoon and were rewarded with a huge pizza delivery. Over 100 students returned the next morning for more revision sessions and breakfast. That’s right – over 100 students volunteering to come to school on a Saturday morning! They even came back the following Saturday morning for more preparation for the second exam paper.
Year 11 student Caitlin Holmes said “The preparation was extremely helpful. We are given an advantage over friends at other schools. Our teachers are very loyal to the school and to us”.
James Aspin in Year 11 added that “It has made me more confident. My work in English has improved massively. There is an excellent bond with the teachers and we feel confident to ask for help and support”.
While students wait until March for the results of this exam, they continue to prepare for the rest of their exams later in the Spring and Summer terms. School children are facing an increase in examinations over the coming years due to the Department for Education’s drive to reform the exam system and increase the level of challenge. In the future, students will be preparing for up to 30 hours of exams. As tough as this sounds, rest assured that the staff at Cockburn School will be continue to work tirelessly to proudly prepare and support their students so they can achieve the very best grades at one of the best schools in Leeds.