GCSE Masterclass Programme
Every year, the staff at The King’s run a Masterclass Programme for students in year 11. The programme is designed to help students prepare for their GCSE examinations by helping to ensure that key skills and knowledge learned are embedded into long term memory. Whilst the programme is optional, there are significant benefits from your child attending. An extract from the 2020 results analysis below highlights the impact this programme could have on your child’s progress.
What are masterclasses?
Masterclasses are understood to be 'those activities or strategies that are different from, or additional to, those employed routinely with students' (Campbell 1966).
We are aware that students can study up to 10 GCSEs and at times, may require support from more than one subject area. To ensure there is fairness and parity, we have blocked subjects together on a half termly basis, which also means students are able to focus their attention on no more than two subjects at a time.
*Coursework subjects including art, D&T, H&S care and BTEC PE will run throughout the year on a Friday should students wish to attend.
Why are masterclasses important?
In 2020, 64% of the cohort generated a positive progress score meaning that they exceeded predicted expectations of performance in each of their best eight GCSE results. Unsurprisingly, the overwhelming majority of these students had committed themselves to attending the Period 6 Masterclass programme from the start of year 11. The tables below exemplify how this personal commitment to Masterclass studies has had a significant impact on a child’s performance across a suite of their best qualifications. For example, Pupil A exceeded her predicted expectations by an average of nearly 3 GCSE grades in each of her best eight GCSEs, whilst Pupil Q exceeded his predicted expectations by an average of just over one GCSE grade in each of his best eight GCSEs.
Our observations here at The King’s, reflect international research findings. A DFE research report (EPPSE, September 2014) found that the daily time spent on homework is a strong predictor of better academic attainment and progress. Indeed, those students who commit to independent study were almost 10 times more likely to achieve 5 good GCSE passes (grade 5 or better) compared to those students who did not.
Who can attend?
Anyone however, staff will use their professional judgement to identify those students in their classes who would most benefit from additional support. These students may change throughout the half term depending on their needs, however, those targeted may include those who*:
- may have not 'caught', the first time, learning from a lesson that week;
- have specific gaps in their knowledge which have been identified through retrieval activities.
Students will receive invites from their class teachers via WEDUC.
* Any other student who wishes to attend, should voice their interest with their class teacher.
To ensure our students get the most out of their Masterclass, it is important students adhere to the following expectations:
1. they are punctual to the session (any students who are late, will be turned away);
2. the same rules for mobile phones during the school day apply to the Masterclass sessions;
they must be turned off in stored in school bags;
3. all students are fully engaged and equipped to learn.
How will we approach this?
- Small, controlled groups (no more than 8);
- Groups will comprise of students who are all working at much the same level;
- Deliverer remains consistent and will usually be the student's class teacher;
- The content to be taught is limited and clearly defined;
- The programme of teaching has been carefully designed to teach difficult to learn concepts.
We use the same teaching principles in our masterclasses that we do in each of our lessons. This ensures learning remains familiar, consistent and above all, of high quality. Below you can see how each of our core instructional strategies (outlined in green), relate to current research.