The two-week school timetable will increase from 48 hours of lessons to 49 hours
- One Wednesday in two will be a shortened by one hour rather than every week
- students in Year 7, 8 and 9 (Key Stage 3) will receive an additional hour of Modern Foreign Languages
- students in Year 10 and 11 will (Key Stage 4) will receive an additional hour of Science.
The Radclyffe School currently delivers a curriculum of 48 hours of taught lessons in a two-week timetable. Two hours per fortnight are for staff training which takes place on Wednesday afternoons. From September 2021 the intention is to increase the hours of taught lessons to 49 hours, and have one hour per fortnight of staff training. In the additional hour students will spend an extra hour studying a modern foreign language in years 7, 8 and 9, and an additional hour of Science in years 10 and 11.
The reason for this change is to allow more curriculum time for students. Since the school originally moved from a 50 period fortnight to a 48 period fortnight, the education system has changed. Firstly, there has been the introduction of the new 1-9 GCSEs. The new GCSEs are more demanding in terms of what the students are expected to know and be able to do. Secondly, there has been a more general move to focus on the importance of the curriculum and what students should know.
The increased demands of the curriculum is in all subjects. However, there are particularly issues for Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) and Science.
MFL at KS3
The number of hours students study MFL is currently three hours per fortnight at Key Stage 3 (year 7, 8 and 9). At Key Stage 4 (year 10 and 11) MFL is an optional subject – options subject have five hours per fortnight. MFL is a compulsory subject in the National Curriculum at KS3 but it is for schools to determine the amount of time students spend learning a foreign language. Other schools generally offer between 3 and 6 hours of MFL at KS3.
It is the view of the leadership of the school that three hours a fortnight of MFL at KS3 is not sufficient to build the necessary foundation knowledge that all students need. It is for this reason that the proposal is to increase teaching time to four hours at KS3.
Aside from this, as part of the English Baccalaureate (EBacc), it is the government’s ambition that that 75% of Year 10 pupils in state-funded mainstream schools should be starting to study a GCSE course in MFL by 2022 (taking their examinations in 2024), rising to 90% by 2025 (taking their examinations in 2027). We do not believe it is in the interests of our students that almost all study a language at KS4, however, we do believe that it is important that they have the option of studying a language a GCSE and to be successful at it. Increasing the number of hours MFL is taught at KS3 will – it is hoped – improve the students knowledge, skills and confidence in the subject, and therefore improve the uptake at KS4.
Science at KS4
As mentioned before, the introduction of the new GCSEs has significantly increased the demands of what students are expected cover at KS4. This is true of all subjects but particularly true of Science. Under this proposal, the number of hours students study Science will increase from 8 hours to 9 hours in Year 10 and 11.
Shorter School Day on Wednesday Week 2
On the first Wednesday of the two-week cycle (week 1), the school will operate a standard day. On the second Wednesday (week 2), the school will continue to operate a shortened day – see appendix for further details.
Appendix – Proposed Day structure for 2021-2022Consultation - 49 period timetable from September 2021 - appendix