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Pupils could sit GCSEs from age of 13 at Outstanding Burnt Mill

Burnt Mill Academy / Fri 11th Jul 2014 at 05:49am

A NEW structure will see lessons at Burnt Mill Academy, in First Avenue, extended from the current 60 minutes each to 100 minutes to give students the opportunity to complete GCSE courses in one year.

The move will ensure students not only get to focus on their core subjects, but that they can enrich their education with qualifications in prestigious subjects including Latin and classical studies.

From September, Year 9 and 10 students will work to the new-look timetable, choosing two GCSE subjects to study throughout the year. By the end of Year 9, they will secure GCSE grades and then choose a further two to study in Year 10.

Paul Williams, assistant headteacher, said the changes are being made to ensure Burnt Mill students can take the options they love without having to drop more core subjects such as geography and history.

He said: “Nationally, there is a big emphasis on students getting qualifications in subjects which will give them a good start in life. This way, we can encourage them to take those subjects they want to give them a real breadth and variety without having to make a decision to drop a core subject such as modern foreign languages to study dance. We feel these subjects can be as useful in securing future careers for our young adults, building their confidence and personalities. This puts our students in a strong position if they have those qualifications in the bag when they leave at 16.

“The new curriculum structure creates more time. It will enable students to complete their option GCSEs in just one year. By the time the traditional exam season arrives for them in Year 11, they will already have six qualifications under their belts.

“We have researched this type of structure at other schools. The evidence shows it is a real success to sit exams each year.”
Students, with advice from their teachers and families, may decide to take what they consider to be the more difficult subjects in Year 9 to get them out of the way or leave them until they are older and feel more prepared. The school feels the new structure enables them to come up with a plan which works for the individual child.

Mr Williams said: “This is the right time to make these changes as our teaching and learning are outstanding. We can adapt to the challenges it may bring now that quality is in place.”

Headteacher Helena Mills added: “This change enables us to offer subjects not generally offered at other state schools, such as ancient history. This curriculum will ensure Burnt Mill students leave with the most prestigious subjects at GCSE. It also means our students will have enjoyed a broad and balanced curriculum enabling them to compete for places at all the top universities nationally and internationally.

“A lot of hard work has gone into planning this curriculum and we know our students will thrive as a result of it.”
Year 7 and 8 will continue with the existing lesson structure because younger students benefit from the shorter sessions.

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