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Stretching the school day to help under-performing children

Stretching the school day to help under-performing children

Friday, 20 June 2014

Added support to boost attainment

A report by the Education Select Committee this week recommends extending the school day to help boost results for underperforming children, especially those from white working class backgrounds. It states that making time at the end of the school day to create a teacher-led environment where pupils can complete homework could bring benefits to this socio-economic group.

This report follows Michael Gove’s decision last year to grant academies the powers to alter the school day and holidays after he raised concerns that children’s performance drops during July and August. By September next year the freedom will be extended to all schools.

Recent research by the think tank Reform and the SSAT has found that some academies are using their freedoms to implement changes such as extending the school day and altering school holidays. The study found that 19% of academies have already made the school day longer, or are planning to do so. Around the same amount are also understood to be considering their options regarding this. Many of these schools said that starting earlier and finishing later means that they can make extra-curricular activities compulsory or extend lessons.

Furthermore, one in 20 academies have changed the structure or length of the school year, such as cutting the summer holiday to a maximum of four weeks. Some schools have gone as far as to require children to attend school at least one Saturday per month.

Extra hours of study and revision can be especially useful for students working towards those crucial GCSEs. However, longer days and revised school holidays are not practical for all schools, given the issues it can create for parents and teachers. For example, parents with multiple children at different school could find differing holidays impossible to manage. For schools that don’t want to lengthen days or move holidays, or that want to offer even more options to help pupils get ahead, online learning is a perfect option.

Our growing suite of online GCSE resources, including Statistics, IGCSE English, Child Development, Religious Studies and Leisure and Tourism, can be used at school and home to support study and revision during this crucial time.

  • vision2learn for schools online learning allows pupils to complete GCSE course content online and study at their own pace from school or at home. They can log on in their own time to complete tasks or revise learning that they’ve covered in class. This approach helps pupils to become self-directed learners.

  • It’s easy for teachers to set pupils a specific task to work on as homework. They can assign the task through vision2learn and students can also submit the work via the system – no other resources are needed, making it easy for pupils to stay organised and on track, even outside of school.

  • Many schools now use vision2learn for schools to help their students prepare for GCSEs. For example, they set a summer project around using vision2learn and allow students going into Year 10 to use the resources over the summer, giving them a real head start going into year 11.

  • Each resource includes study goals, Learning to Learn tips and PLTS icons to help motivate students and spur them on. Journal entries, quizzes, keyword spellings and sound files help learners build confidence and reinforce knowledge, while progress tracking features help learners and teachers pinpoint areas for improvement.

What schools say

Chichester High School for Girls is using the vision2learn for schools online learning platform as a way to further engage Year 11s in Religious Studies.

Amy Sayer, Head of Religious Studies and Sociology, said:

“The summer project was a great way to help my Year 11s hit the ground running in September. The vision2learn Religious Studies resources were an integral part of this successful activity, as it allowed the girls to log on and study from home or wherever they had an internet connection.

“Getting this opportunity to absorb some of the key upcoming themes and topics at their own pace has paid dividends in terms of their progress this year. We are planning to use the same approach again this summer with our current Year 10s.”

She added: “The fact that so many of them are regularly logging on from home shows just how popular it has been. It is far more engaging and interactive than other vocational courses we have used.”

Read the full case study

Find out more

Contact us to find out how vision2learn for schools could help you continue to support pupils even when school’s out.

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