This is the first time in my teaching career that the GCSE results were less than outstanding. Its quite an uncomfortable moment. Students and parents were all still congratulatory at their son or daughters results, many coming to show me their grades on results day. 60% A*-C, not the worst figure in the world, nor the various other pieces of data that I have since chomped my way through. How so?
This is the first year that I’ve been required to deliver RE GCSE on 50% curriculum time to the whole cohort. Myself and another teacher share 280 students in year 10 and 11 equally between us.
We have worked like crazy to provide improvement marking for every one of these students individually every half term at least, using pre-school sessions, lunchtimes and after school time to create specific revision or intervention sessions, used sixth formers to mentor students who needed further support and devised strategies to help them structure their exam answers. That’s not to mention the padlets, videos and revision books produced and distributed by the department.
The danger, at least as I have observed in myself, is to reflect upon this and moan. Moan about under resourcing, lack of time, and the disparity between the treatment of RE and every other GCSE subject taught in our school. But that is to waste precious time and energy. Furthermore it serves to undermine the hard work and success that these students did achieve, even if it doesn’t satisfy various data markers.
Instead I am reflecting on what we did that meant our results were not lower and what we can do to help more students make even more progress in this coming academic year. I am currently trying to identify all the small things we could change that together will add up to big gains for our students next year. It worked for the GB cycling team and I reckon it can work for us.
More on our small changes to follow.