Key Stage 3 Curriculum (GCSE)

Key Stage 3 Curriculum

Years 7 – 9 

Teachers

Secondary Team

Welcome Note

Our aim at Safa Community School (SCS) is to provide each and every one of our students with a broad and balanced KS3 curriculum that is tailored to the individual’s needs containing a range of possibilities and opportunities for their education. The Key Stage 3 courses and the way they are taught at SCS are designed to best prepare your child for their future. We hope therefore that you and your child will find our Key Stage 3 courses meet your needs and ambitions for the future.

On behalf of all the staff at SCS, I would like to wish your son/daughter every success as they embark on this new and exciting phase of their education.

Emma Hargreaves
Head of Key Stage 3

Partners & Accreditations

Study Skills & Techniques

Planning (spacing)

Your children will learn more if their practice with the material they are encountering at school is spaced out over time. Repetition is important, but repetition is most effective when the presentation of information is spaced out over time. Therefore, it is important for students to revisit older information in addition to going over the most recently learned information. Another way to think about this is that spacing out studying is more efficient. When your children cram, they may be wasting their time doing something that is not going to help their learning in the long run. We all know that time is limited, and the amount children need to learn is great. Short periods of practice at home can help children learn a great deal.

At the beginning of the school year or each term, help your child plan out a study schedule, and help them stick to it throughout the year. Explain to them why they need to space their studying. What your child should do during the scheduled time will depend on what they are doing in school and their age. For example, younger children can spend time reading or doing activities from school, while older children might self-direct review of material presented during school to reinforce their learning. If children get used to a routine of revisiting schoolwork for at least a little bit each day at home, it will likely be easier for them when they have teacher- assigned homework or they need to study for upcoming tests.

Repetition is important, but repetition is most effective when the presentation of information is spaced out over time. Therefore, it is important for your child to revisit older information in addition to going over the most recently learned information. When your child is doing their homework, ask them how the things they are learning now relate to what they learned earlier in the school year (or even previous years!) Doing this also encourages interleaving, which is also helpful to learning. Interleaving ideas (going back and forth between them) encourages students to see the similarities and differences between ideas.

Spaced practice is one of the reasons why homework can be so important to encourage long-term learning in our kids. Ideally, homework should be giving your children an opportunity to practice what they have learned at school. As such, the goal should not necessarily be to “get everything right,” but to make an effort to attempt the task at hand. Then, children should make sure to obtain feedback (either from you, or from their teacher) and try to understand where they went wrong. If you do give feedback on your child’s homework attempts, try to make it about the content of the homework rather than how much of it they did correctly. That is: focus on how to turn mistakes into learning experiences rather than punishments.

Developing Understanding

You can help develop your children’s understanding of the world by bringing the following elements into your conversations and the activities you do together. These activities do not need to always be academic in nature – you can also help your child learn more effectively while playing or just spending time with them.

Encourage your child to elaborate by asking them how what they learned in school applies to their everyday experiences. Find opportunities to ask “how” and “why” questions about the way things around you work. It’s ok if you don’t know the answer yourself – you can explore this with your child. But, do make sure to look up the correct answer so you can both learn it! If your child is working on a problem-solving task, such as in math or science, ask them to describe what they are doing on each step – quite literally, what is going through their minds as they try to solve the problem. This can help you see where they are going wrong, but more importantly, it will help them understand the process better.

Point out concrete examples in your environment that might relate to what your child is studying at school. For younger children, you should be able to obtain a weekly curriculum, where you can find the themes and topics your child is learning about at school; these could be a good basis for the concrete examples you point out. For older children, don’t worry if you don’t have access to their class materials – they’re old enough to tell you what they are learning, which will help them because they’ll be engaging in retrieval practice while telling you! See below for more about that.

Help your child represent the concepts they are learning both visually and verbally, using simple sketches and explanations. With younger children, this might be something you are already doing naturally when you read to your child and they are looking at the pictures in the book while you read. Your child might spontaneously point things out in the pictures as the words you are reading describe them, or you can stop reading and make a deliberate effort to explain how the picture relates to the words. With older children, you can still take a look at pictures or visuals that represent the concepts they are learning at school. If you come across a picture that is relevant to what they are studying, save it, and have a conversation about it with your child. Demonstrate to your children that artistic proficiency is not necessary for depicting ideas visually; show them how just a quick, rough sketch can illustrate a concept. For a bit of fun, you can take turns drawing and describing concepts with your child, making it into a game!

Practicing retrieval at home can be as simple as asking children at some point after school what they learned that day. It is ok if you don’t know much about the material they are describing – just let them do most of the talking! If you can encourage your child to describe and explain the information from their memory, then you are helping them practice retrieval and reinforcement of what they’ve learned.

You can also encourage spaced retrieval practice. When your child is doing their homework, ask them how what they are learning now relates to what they learned earlier in the school year (or, even previous years!), and encourage them to think back to the previous information in order to come up with the answer. By doing this, you are helping your child practice spaced retrieval, combining two of the most powerful learning strategies. Doing this also encourages interleaving – switching between different concepts – which can help students learn to distinguish between different ideas. For example, if a young child is practicing subtraction, it helps if they understand how that process is different from addition. Or, if a high schooler is studying differentiation, it’s useful if they know how that is similar but different to integration.

If you’re having trouble encouraging your child to practice spaced retrieval through the homework they are already getting, you can encourage them to write out what they know on a blank sheet of paper, help them make flashcards, or help them make their own questions for retrieval practice. Just make sure that your child is actively bringing the information they have learned to memory. The activity may need to be adjusted if it is too easy or too difficult for your child. In addition, you could even ask your child’s teacher for resources that your child can use for additional retrieval practice.

Even the best learning strategies become less effective when children are not getting enough sleep. Sleep is very important for consolidating, or reinforcing, what has been learned. Sleep will make your child’s spaced practice more beneficial. Importantly, spacing practice out across the week (rather than cramming practice right before tests) can help alleviate the need for students to stay up very late studying before tests. So, spacing out practice helps your children get sleep, and sleeping more makes the spaced practice even more effective! Research shows that when students get a good night’s sleep, they will remember more of the material they studied, and they will be able to relearn anything they forgot more quickly and more easily.

Assessment & Flightpaths

Online Platforms

All of our Virtual Learning platforms allow students in school and at home to fully experience a blended learning experience. They are all designed to aid and enhance the teaching and learning experience at SCS. If you have any further questions about the Virtual Learning platforms at SCS please don’t hesitate to contact me on the following details.

Google classroom is our main online Teaching and Learning platform. Individual teachers set up individual classes and they are able to issue classwork and homework as assignments. Students will be given a class code to join each of their individual classes.

The Google Guardian was set up for each year group. You will receive an email asking you to accept the invitation.

Century Technology uses artificial intelligence to identify and plug gaps in knowledge. It takes the students through a series of personalised steps or ‘nuggets’ and allows them to work at their own pace. The data provided to staff by Century Tech also allows the teacher to target specific areas for individual students to allow a personalised learning experience.

Students will be provided with a login so they can access the site. Currently Mathematics, English and Science are the only subjects offered but Century Tech are constantly developing so more subjects will eventually be added.

Students will be assigned tasks called ‘Nuggets’ from there teachers.

GCSE POD is an online platform that allows for an exam mapped curriculum through flipped learning experiences in the classroom and at home. It allows teachers to set video pods for a wide range of subjects and allows students to independently study topics at their own pace. 

Students will have been issued with login details from their teachers. If there are any activities that are being asked for by the teacher they will always be assigned through Google Classroom so that students have all of their assignments in one central place.

GCSE POD Website

Accessible via Google with no login required, the BBC bitesize website breaks learning down into bitesize chunks.

On this website you are looking for England- KS3

Subject Specific Websites & Platforms

Curriculum Maps

PE at Safa Community School

Our board and progressive curriculum ensures that students are able to experience challenge and competition whilst developing transferable skills and sport specific fitness. The curriculum expectations ensure that all students, regardless of their starting point, are able to make progress and be continuously challenged within all units of work. Students participate in two lessons of PE each week

  • Invasion Games
  • Striking & Fielding
  • Parkourv
  • Health related fitness
  • Rocket sports
  • Water polo
  • Swimming
  • Athletics
  • Volleyball
 
  • ECA Sports programme
  • D of E
  • Sports Days
  • DASSA League fixtures/tournaments
  • BSME Games
  • Swimming galas
  • Inter house competitions

Throughout the year students across all key stages are given opportunities to develop their skills as a leader within their curriculum lessons. The PE department offer a sports leadership pathway for students who enjoy this aspect of PE. Sports leaders will be involved in planning, leading and managing inter house competitions, sports days, swimming galas as well as annual events such as Dubai 30×30 and health and fitness week.

Exam Technique

At GCSE, exam timings are based on one minute per mark so it is important at KS3 that students get used to answering questions under timed conditions. In addition to timing, it is important students understand the meaning of a question. Each question has a command word which indicates the specific information the student must include in an answer to be successful.

  • Identify/state/name – Recall or select one or more pieces of information.
  • Define – State the meaning of a term
  • Calculate – Produce a numerical answer, showing relevant working
  • Label – Add a label/labels to a given resource, graphic or image
  • Draw/plot – Create a graphical representation of geographical information
  • Compare Find the similarities and differences of two elements given in a question. Each response must relate to both elements and must include a statement of their similarity/difference
  • Describe – Give an account of the main characteristics of something or the steps in a process. Statements in the response should be developed but do not need to include a justification or reason
  • Explain – Provide a reasoned explanation of how or why something occurs. An explanation requires a justification/exemplification of a point. Some questions will require the use of annotated diagrams to support the explanation
  • Suggest – Apply understanding to provide a reasoned explanation of how or why something may occur. A suggested explanation requires a justification/exemplification of a point
  • Examine – Break something down into individual components/processes and say how each one individually contributes to the question’s theme/topic and how the components/processes work together and interrelated
  • Assess – Use evidence to determine the relative significance of something. Give consideration to all factors and identify which are the most important
  • Analyse – Investigate an issue by breaking it down into individual components and making logical, evidence-based connections about the causes and effects or interrelationships between the components
  • Evaluate – Measure the value or success of something and ultimately provide a substantiated judgment/conclusion. Review information and then bring it together to form a conclusion, drawing on evidence such as strengths, weaknesses, alternatives and relevant data
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