Monthly Archives: April 2013


Q: What is a blue whale’s favourite James Bond film?

A: License to krill

Firstly some thank yous. Thank you to Jenny for offering to run a revision session during the May holidays, thank you to all the exhausted A Level or Btec teachers still annotating and chasing – think how brilliant we’ll feel next week – thank you to  Ruth, Jenny and Sarah for revision resources and a repeat thank you to Hillary for hosting Mr Powell. His feedback arrived at the end of the week and it is extremely complimentary which makes the news about Speaking and Listening being separated from GCSE English even more galling. Watch this to see the Obamazing master of the spoken word at work – yes I know he’s reading it! …The changes appear to be starting from next Summer -our present Year10 – the proposal is that Language controlled assessments will count for a mere 40% and the exam will be back to 60%. Here’s the consultation We will need to look at the GCSE map yet again during gained time.

I intend to keep this short as we have a CT meeting tomorrow and I should be looking at Year 11 data whilst helping Isobel to pack for camp. I think I’ll just carry on being self indulgent and share some of my discoveries of the week. If you’re a regular on twitter you’ve probably already spotted them. Firstly here are a couple following on from the Shakespeare theme and (Shakespeare’s Star Wars)

As you know I’m obsessed with revision at the moment and came across this helpfully practical blog  entitled Starters for English/English Language. Let me know if you try any of them. This was interesting too You’ll probably see some of these ideas on the site in the coming weeks.


A for Add something that’s missing

B for Build on something that’s vague

C for Correct something you think is wrong



Key Dates

29th April – CT Meeting

1st May – Meeting with DTu – CMa, CSl, SSa, DCl

1st May – deadline for GCSE and Functional Skills Speaking and Listening Records and Outline of Activities

3rd May – AS and A2 coursework and centre declaration sheets to KBr.

4th, 5th and 6th May -RELAX!





Where do crabs and lobsters catch their trains?

… King’s Crustacean

“Brevity is the ‘sole’ of wit”

Shakespeare Day next week! Please make sure that you take some time to celebrate – you could show them the new ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and ‘Much Ado’ trailers and ask them which one they’d rather see and why. You could even explore the everyday phrases that we have taken from his plays using the Horrible Histories William Shakespeare song.

We MUST do something amazing next year as it’s the 450th anniversary of his birth. Primary schools are signing up to a Shakespeare Week next year I’m a bit confused as it’s in March not April but… take a look. Perhaps we could work on a project investigating why Shakespeare is still studied “What’s the point in Shakespeare?”.

The Globe Theatre have a world Shakespeare Festival “Globe to Globe” which showcases international theatre.

A driving question could explore “Where, how and why is Shakespeare taught around the world?” There are lots of  examples of research, case studies, information and education resources on the RSC website

Have been trawling the net looking for revision strategies for Years 11, 12 and 13. Am going to post “The 15 Minute Book” on the Department website. This contains four simple techniques that each take 15 minutes (obviously) to complete. I’m still hoping that you’ll send me your versions of reviews or articles. I think Year 11 would enjoy finding out your opinions on a range of ideas. Thanks for your amazing marking – I do understand that it’s been particularly tough for those of us with looming AS/A2 coursework deadlines or with more than one group but I think it was definitely worth the effort. I really feel as though I know what my class needs to revise and it seems to have focused their targets. I intend focusing on Writing skills. If any of your students produced excellent responses in the mock, photo them and email them to me so that I can then upload them.

Why not show your AS and A2 students the Year 11 revision site – there are lots of general tips for them to follow on the home page? Next year we need to look at creating a KS5 version.

A reminder that Speaking and Listening marks for GCSE and Functional Skills need to be entered. You are required to submit 5 of your speaking and listening records and the outline of activities form.  The “Outline of Activities’ form can be found on pages 39 and 40 of the English Language Specification.

The marks need to have been entered by the 5th May on the WJEC secure website. It is now ‘live’.

The outline of activities and speaking and listening records need to be sent to the moderator by the 5th May and so I need them by the 1st May. If you are teaching 2 groups you still only need to send 5 speaking and listening records.

Functional Skills – there are only a few students that still need to achieve their Functional Skills Speaking and Listening. Please double check – their names are on the secure site. Make sure that you are confident of the grade boundaries between Level 1 and Level 2 before entering your marks. I am going to email the board to find out whether we need to send records and outline of activities to the moderator by the 25th May. Functional Skills paperwork can be found here

Many thanks.

Love Clairex

Key Dates

22nd April Year 12 and 13 ROPs

22nd April – Staff Meeting

23rd April – Happy Shakespeare Day

24th April Year 10 PUs complete – no comments

24th April Year 7 Subject Evening


The Average Child

by  Mike Buscemi

I don’t cause teachers trouble;
My grades have been okay.
I listen in my classes.
I’m in school every day.
My teachers think I’m average;
My parents think so too.
I wish I didn’t know that, though;
There’s lots I’d like to do.

I’d like to build a rocket;
I read a book on how.
Or start a stamp collection…
But no use trying now.

’Cause, since I found I’m average,
I’m smart enough you see
To know there’s nothing special
I should expect of me.

I’m part of that majority,
That hump part of the bell,
Who spends his life unnoticed
In an average kind of hell.


Q: What did the water say to the boat?

A: Nothing, it just waved.

I want one of these!

Kellie said that our Year 11s were great on Thursday and so please pass on our thanks – I have posted a thank you on the revision site. Once you have marked the mocks can you put the marks on the Year 11 tracker. I haven’t talked to John yet but I think we will have to overwrite the November Mocks rather than have new columns added.

My favourite revision idea that I have adopted is the pomodoro technique – I’m using this myself to try and manage my time more effectively. Basically there’s a free app timer that you can download which makes you split up tasks into 25 minute sections – each section is called a pomodoro. A bell rings and then you can even time your break! There’s more detail on the Year 11 revision site. We need to be doing less and the students doing more. I know that Dave and Ruth worked on a joint speaking and listening project perhaps we could pair up and have our students teach sections of the papers to other classes? Here’s an interesting site for GCSE and A Level.

Most of us are in the middle of teaching the poetry part of the Literature CA with Year 10 and it’s National Poetry Month in the US! There are loads of lovely resources on this site too I’ve recently come across performance poet Kate Tempest who won the Ted Hughes award for innovation in poetry – first person under 40 to do so she’s only 26!

She has worked with the RSC and here she is performing what Shakespeare means to her It would be amazing to produce a spoken word/poetry festival along the lines of the House singing competition taking place next week.

Time to start thinking about “International Week” which is probably to be renamed ‘Intensive” in line with PBL. The plan is that the week will be an opportunity to work on a project with KS3 students. We are going to start discussing ideas in LG on Tuesday and so if you already have thoughts on what you would like us to do let me know.

Time to check and check again – is the work in students’ exercise books better now than at the beginning of the book?

Love Clairex

Key Dates

15th April Skills meeting

17th April – House Singing Competition

19th April Happy Birthday Dave!

22nd April Year 12 and 13 ROPs

24th April Year 10 PUs complete –

24th April Year 7 Subject Evening


Teacher: What do you call a fish with no eyes?

Student: Fsh.

Back to school soon.  Had a fab time in Croyde – paddled in wellies. Have spent today obsessing over revision timetables. It started with a 2 hour session with Tom – first time I’ve had to think of how to juggle all subjects. This was an incredibly complicated task which made me wonder how our weaker students cope with managing their time and how challenging next year will be when all of their exams are at the end of Year 11. We ended up using  I then started work on my English revision map which you can find on our English site. Any additional ideas or if you think I’ve missed anything essential are very welcome.

We must now concentrate on English Language preparation in Year 11 lessons – any Literature work will need to take place after school or be set as extended work. Remember that we have the mock on Thursday 11th – we do not need to invigilate but we will need to supervise Year 11 during their early break, this would be when we would have been teaching them. (See Kellie’s email re arrangements). I know it’s asking a lot but we need a really fast turnaround with our marking. Aim to give the papers back the week beginning 15th April. Students need to traffic light their papers and be aware of their strengths and weaknesses in order to target their revision. Please, please, please direct them to our new Revision site.

Shockingly we only have 26 lessons left until the GCSE English exams. You could have some diploma students who are retaking their Functional Skills on 7th May. If you’re not sure Kellie has the list. Make sure that you remind them of the format of the papers. Let me know if you’re running after school revision sessions – we should coordinate these.

Speaking and listening marks will need to be entered on 5th May. You will also need to provide an outline of activities and 5 completed records – top, bottom and 3 others to represent the range of achievement within your group.

Have spent the holidays reading and falling in love with books yet again. Best two books I read were Maggie O’Farrell’s “Instructions for a Heatwave” and “Alys Always” by Harriet Lane which reminded me of “Notes on a Scandal”.  Love this idea staircase-sticker-book-spines.jpg and this  and what do you think about this? It’s quite interesting seeing how many you’ve read or how many you could have predicted would make the list!

Why don’t we try…playing “Guess Who” with book characters and authors?

Love Clairexxx

Key Dates

10th April P.16 Subject Evening

11th April English Language Mocks

15th April Skills meeting

19th April Happy Birthday Dave!

No CT meeting for ages!!!!