What are the Key Stages?

School structure in Primary and Secondary school is divided into ‘Key Stages’. Key Stage 1: Year 1, 2, 3. Key Stage 2: Year 4, 5, 6. Key Stage 3: Year 7, 8, 9. Key Stage 4: Year 10, 11, 12, 13

What are SATS?

SATs are national tests that children take twice during their primary school life. Firstly, at the end of Key Stage 1 (KS1) in Year 2, and then secondly, at the end of Key Stage 2 (KS2) in Year 6. These standardised tests are actually known as End of Key Stage Tests and Assessments, but most people know them as SATs.

SATs are an indicator of the progress your child has made at school so far. They are not a measure of whether your child is passing or failing; they simply show what level your child is currently working to.

How do the new 9 - 1 grades work?

The new grading scheme is being brought in alongside a new GCSE curriculum in England.

9 is the highest grade, while 1 is the lowest, not including a U (ungraded).

Three number grades, 9, 8 and 7, correspond to the old-style top grades of A* and A – this is designed to give more differentiation at the top end.

The exams watchdog, Ofqual, says fewer grade 9s will be awarded than A*s and that anyone who gets a 9 will have “performed exceptionally”.

A 4 is broadly being compared to a C grade, although Ofqual warns against “direct comparisons and overly simplistic descriptions”.

It says that, broadly, the same proportion of teenagers will get a grade four and above as used to get a grade C or above.

What is meant by iGCSE?

Candidates can sit IGCSE examinations all over the world.  Offering over 70 subjects, IGCSEs are taken in over 120 countries. IGCSEs do not include coursework.  Similar to GCSEs, they are perceived by some as academically more rigorous, and for this reason have recently been adopted by over 300 independent schools in the UK.

IGCSEs are offered by CambridgeEdexcel  and AQA exam boards and you can find more information about them on the web pages linked here.

What is the difference between Foundation and Higher?

The new Foundation covers grades 1 to 5, which means that there’s a higher level grade achievable than with the previous Foundation tier (where grade C was the maximum).

On the new Higher tier, questions will be set from grade 4 to grade 9, which means that we no longer have the grade D questions that would have been asked on the previous Higher tier (although a grade 3 can be awarded to students that just miss out on the grade 4 boundary by a small number of marks).

What is the difference between combined and triple?

Triple Science is made up of 3 GCSEs. Higher ability students will be entered onto the Triple Science GCSE route. This is where students are awarded a separate GCSE in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Double Science is made up of 2 GCSEs – GCSE Science and Additional Science. The majority of students will take both these courses. Both courses are available at Foundation and Higher Tier. BTEC First Science is an alternative pathway leading to a Level 2 qualification equivalent to 2 GCSEs. The course offers active learning in a vocational context, aiming to build confidence, competence and motivation.

What are the different exam boards?

The majority of students will be taking exam in either AQA, EdExcel, OCR or Cambridge. It is a common question to ask which ones are easier or what is the difference but there isn’t much difference between each of them. There might be a couple of topic which differ in content, however, the exams are standardised.

How does my child get into A Level?

Every school will have certain requirements to get back into A Levels but the majority of students will get to decide what A Levels they want to choose in year 11. To be able to do most A Levels, students will need at least a 5 for a chance to be able to take it, however, some schools require higher results to be able to take them.

How should I know where my child should be with their learning?

It is important to know if your child behind, on top of or ahead of their learning and one of the best ways to do that is to establish effective communication with the schools and your child. You’ll generally be able to tell how your child is getting on after speaking to them and having a look at their work. So make sure you get an opportunity to look at their classwork and/or homework to see what sort of standard they are working at. Also make sure you make the effort to attend parent evenings and meetings.

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