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Denmark Road High School

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Timetable update for September 2022

Progressive. Relevant. Responsive. Our curriculum of the future.

We are delighted to announce that in response to student, parent and staff voice, and based on latest wellbeing and educational research, we have reimagined our timetable and curriculum offer from September 2022. 

Key changes include:

  • The school day will be from 8.30 and end at 15.35, starting with a 10-minute registration and check in with Tutors.
  • There will be two separate lunchtimes, one for KS3 and one for KS4/KS5, to enable students and staff to still share lunch together but in a less crowded and rushed environment.
  • Lunchtimes will still be long enough to provide opportunities for clubs, societies and activities (extra-curricular) run by Sixth Form leaders as well as staff
  • Enhanced Discover+ sessions have been created to deliver a super-curriculum for students
  • The reshaping of 9th lessons at KS5 to match course and student needs
  • Teaching staff will have collaborative planning and professional development time each week during Friday Forum
  • To facilitate the above, students will be able to leave school early on a Friday, or stay with us for independent and supervised study. Year 12 work experience may also be arranged during this time.
  • For the majority of staff, there will be no more after school meetings, thus promoting staff wellbeing

 

Please read below where we explain the case for change and what will happen from September 2022. 

Should you have any questions, please contact our Deputy Headteacher, Jane Steele steelej@denmarkroad.org

 

The case for change - why are we doing this?

The following were highlighted by our community, national and government guidance and teaching unions (school surveys, government White Paper, ASCL Blueprint) as key areas to address:

  • Lunchtimes are busy here, our people preferred the split lunches of lockdown which meant that students could eat together seated in the Restaurant
  • We miss seeing students in tutor groups at the start of the day. It gives Tutors an opportunity to check in with students - see how they are, make sure everyone is ready for the day and, of course, to do the register so we know students have arrived safely and on time
  • We want to ensure there are still opportunities to run clubs and activities within lunchtimes and to establish a leadership role for Sixth Form students with extra-curricular activities for peers and younger students
  • We want a creative and exciting curriculum that goes beyond the national curriculum. A curriculum where we explore and learn new things for fun rather than it being on a syllabus or specification. Creative learning also gives us chance to build relationships between staff and students and provides depth and breadth of knowledge and skills that sets our students apart from others.
  • Homework and independent study can take too much time after the school day - particularly when students already have a long journey to and from school or want to take part in other activities after school. This learning also needs to be meaningful and not homework for the sake of it. So, as well as reviewing homework and independent study to ensure it matches our schemes of learning, we want to create some opportunities for study sessions during the school day.
  • Wellbeing matters. Our staff need time to recharge after the school day. Meetings after the school day can have a negative impact on health
  • Staff need time together to collaborate on making sure our curriculum is progressive, relevant and responsive. We need time to do this throughout the year (not just on INSET days)
  • We also need time to train our staff so they are always at the cutting edge of the profession and have time to conduct research to move the school forwards
  • Develop a specialist team to deliver L4L lessons for the whole school. These lessons often cover sensitive and important topics, having a specialist team will improve our delivery
  • Maintain the current model of 50 curriculum lessons over two weeks for 2022/23 – we don’t want to narrow our curriculum offer, experiencing a wide range of subjects is important
  • 9th lessons at KS5 will also be staffed by subject teams from September 2022 so that specifications may be delivered more comfortably and to ensure assessments are timely and support students' progress.

 

An ambitious list, but I am pleased to report we have managed to address all of the above.

 

The school day – what will it be like?

From September 2022 the school day will look like this:

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This will be the timetable all year - there will be no change of timings for the internal and external exam sessions.

Students will know when to move to their next session as the bell will ring. Everyone should be moving on the bell (rather than packing up or just finishing lunch). Teachers in lessons and on duty will help students to be ready for this, but we think everyone will soon get used to it and start to regulate this themselves.

 

Registration and Check In: 8.30 - 8.40

This happens every day. It’s a time for students to register, for the Tutor to make sure everyone has any key information for the day and also an important time to check in so we know how everyone  and if there is anything different for anyone that we need to be aware of. This could be a really good thing, such as having taken part in a winning netball match the previous evening, or a baby sister taking her first steps. It may also be that a student has a concern to share or may need teachers to know something so we can support them and their learning differently that day.

 

Lessons, Tutorial, DISCOVER+ and Independent Study

These are all 55 minutes long. 

You will notice that lesson 2 and 5 are listed as one hour in length. We’ve included 5 minutes of travel time from lesson 1 to 2 and lesson 4 to 5 to make sure that students definitely have a 55 minute lesson.

 

Break time: 10.35-10.55

Time to have a snack, chat with friends, fill up a water bottle and go to the toilet.

 

Lunchtime

Students will have 55 minutes to eat lunch, chat to friends, fill up a water bottle and go to the toilet. We also hope students will choose to attend at least one or two clubs and activities a week.

 

Tutor Time

The Tutor is the first point of contact for students, parents and carers in school. They are the people who will know each student the best. For students, these are the people who will know them, hear them, include them and celebrate them. They will be the people to turn to when you’re not feeling okay and need to reach out.

The issue we had was that tutor time was rather full. Tutors didn’t feel they could get to know you as well as they would wish.

From September, we’ve taken a lot of content out of tutor time so that Tutors can focus on getting to know their tutees and provide support through coaching and mentoring. The elements of tutor time that were L4L will now be taught in discrete lessons by a specialist team, improving the quality of delivery and confidence in speaking to our team about matters that matter. Other elements will move in to the Discover+ and INVEST days.

 

Independent and Supervised Study

Student surveys and our home learning survey with Year 10 this year highlighted that students, parents and carers would appreciate it if we ran to schedule with home learning. Teachers have been asked to plan home learning into our sequences of learning so that it is always relevant and always of the correct length. If it takes longer than the allocated time to complete then students must stop and write that on their work. This is useful feedback for the teacher so they can plan more effectively moving forwards.

From September, students will have some time on your timetable to complete the home learning and independent study you have been set. It is not likely to be all the time you need to complete your home learning, but we hope it will free up some of your evenings in the week to relax or take part in your own interests with less rushing around.

 

Split Lunchtimes

During the lockdown, year groups enjoyed it when we had split lunchtimes as it meant easier access to the Restaurant and the ability to sit with friends and enjoy a meal and a chat together. However we didn’t like not being able to run clubs and activities in the 30 minute lunch slots or the disruption it caused to lessons 3, 4 and 5.

We’ve created what we think provides the best of both worlds. We will have half the school on lunch in one session and half in the other - thus making access to the Restaurant easier. Students will be able to eat in here, outdoors or, if it is very cold or raining, in the Main Hall (nowhere else please).

 

Clubs and Activities (extra-curriculum)

Our recent whole school survey conducted by the Trust Board asked you to identify what clubs and activities you would like to see provided. We are looking forward to developing these with you. Sixth Form and older students will be trained as leaders for these groups alongside staff, giving them the opportunity to gain leadership experience and for younger students to get to know the older students and of course access a greater number of experiences.

 

DISCOVER+

This is how we will deliver the super-curriculum. It is linked to subjects but will go beyond what you would study on the syllabus. It’s a time to get creative, to explore, to engage with subjects at a deeper level. To enjoy learning because it’s interesting and fun (not because you have to know it for an exam). It will include things such as:

 

Friday Forum – what happens during this time?

Our staff need time to plan together and to take part in research and training so that they always provide the most progressive, relevant and responsive lessons and experiences for you. They also work very hard during the day so after school meetings can have a negative impact, in addition many of our staff are parents or carers and need to get somewhere else to collect their children / care for a loved one.

Friday Forum has been created as a time for collaborative staff planning, training and meeting time. There will therefore be no lessons at this time.

Where will you be during Friday Forum?

Students can discuss what is best with their parents and carers and either stay on site doing home learning and independent study (supervised by support staff and we plan for some peer mentors trained to support students in subject areas to be available too) OR arrange to go home every Friday at 2.35pm. 

We know some students will need to wait for buses so supervised study will be the option for them.

 

Year 12 Work Experience 

We think it is important for Year 12 students to be able to take part in work experience every week. This is not only good for university and apprenticeship applications, it gives students an opportunity to experience different work environments and develop their skills. So, the Year 12 timetable has been designed so that all students are able to engage in this from 12.45pm every Friday.