Teaching and learning

It is essential that pupils work as hard as their teachers and for this to happen, teachers will ensure that their pupils know the answers to these two questions:

  • What am I doing well in this subject?
  • What do I need to do to improve my work in this subject? 

These are questions that you can ask your child at home.

For every subject there will be in-depth marking of a key piece of work (e.g. an assessment) every half term. In between these key pieces of work, pupils will get other feedback, which could take a variety of forms, such as verbal feedback in a lesson.

Some key pieces of work will be marked using the SIR format: Strength (highlighting something done well); Improvement (something to work on/ a task to carry out); Response (a chance for the pupil to engage with their feedback and build on their teachers’ advice by improving an element of their work).

In September every year:

  • Pupils will be issued with two green pens so that they can respond to their teachers’ feedback, for example by improving an attempted answer. This will be part of a pupil’s set equipment that they need to bring with them every day. If these run out or are mislaid, new ones will be available to purchase from the school shop.
  • Pupils will attend an assembly explaining the school system for feedback.
  • Parents will receive a letter explaining the school system for feedback in full. Please look out for this in the Autumn term.

Progress and Achievement

  • Parents will have the opportunity to meet with Form Tutors and subject teachers during the school year.
  • We will also be keeping you informed about your child's progress via termly reports, assessments, and academic mentoring meetings. Reports and assessments are accessed through Go4Schools

Curriculum

At Longdean School, we want each student to be able to achieve their potential.  In order to facilitate this, the students follow a curriculum which equips them with the knowledge, skills and qualities that they need to achieve their goals. 

When students join Longdean in Year 7, we already have feedback from their primary school, including their academic achievements and information regarding their friendship groups. Very soon after they start, students sit CATs (Cognitive Assessment Tests) and baseline tests in some subjects. 

Most of the students are taught in mixed-ability classes, following a broad curriculum of English, Mathematics, Science, Computing, French or Spanish, Geography, History, PE, Technology, RE, PSHE, Food, Art, Drama, Music and Learning Skills.  Ability sets are introduced in Mathematics quite early on and sets will also be introduced in French and Spanish during the year. 

During Year 7, all students have 18 hours of Resilience Programme Lessons.  This project originated in the United States and it aims to develop students’ self-knowledge and coping skills so that they develop into happy and successful young people.  All Longdean students in Years 7-11 have followed this programme – in fact, Longdean has been at the cutting edge in its development in the UK.  

More streaming based on ability is introduced as the students move into Year 8.  All students will complete Key Stage 3 at the end of Year 8 and start Key Stage 4 in Year 9.  Students will choose options in Year 8 for Years 9, 10 and 11, completing one of these each year.  Some of these options will be taught in mixed-year classes. More details about this are given to parents and students during year 8. 

Literacy and Reading

High standards of literacy at Longdean are a school priority. Every day we have Drop Everything and Read (DEAR), where all staff and students in the school read for twenty minutes at the same time. In KS3, we devote one hour a fortnight to a reading for pleasure lesson where we share a book that we aren’t studying, just enjoying. Included below are some book recommendations for students to enjoy. Try and pick a couple of books to read before you join us in September!

Reading List

Music Making at Longdean School

Practical music making is at the heart of what we do in Longdean – we sing, play different instruments and enjoy creating our own soundtracks with music technology, studying music from around the world, music from throughout history and music that we hear all around us.   Students can expect to sing and play in every lesson, including continuing playing instruments that they may already have begun learning in KS2.

We are looking forward to welcoming you to Music, (part of the Performing Arts faculty) where there are a number of exciting opportunities for you to be involved in. 

Ukuleles and Keyboards

These are the instruments we use routinely in our classes for practical music making. 

We are encouraging as many pupils to have their own ukulele as possible.   

They’re inexpensive (£15) compared to many and easy to carry so you can bring your own in to school and take it home to practice and show what you’ve learnt.  You may already be an expert and have one.  For those that don’t, this could be an exciting adventure.

We operate an Assisted Instrument Purchase Scheme which allows parents to buy a musical instrument at the ex.VAT price, including paying via instalments.  Additionally, there are support schemes in place.  

Pupil Premium and Free School Meal students are awarded a 50% subsidy towards these costs. 

In addition to learning to play the ukulele and keyboard, students will be offered the opportunity to learn other instruments in extra-curricular music lessons. Click here to learn more about the instruments and lesson formats available and potential funding for pupil premium students or those in receipt of free school meals. 

Boost Intervention 

Students who enter Longdean with KS2 English and Mathematics scores below 100 must attend compulsory Boost Intervention during the academic year. They are invited on a rotational basis for a 6-8 week period, dependent on need. The sessions run from 8.00am to 8.25am Monday to Thursday. 

Should your child require Boost Intervention, the Boost co-ordinator, Miss Rudling, or the Deputy Headteacher, Mrs Embrey, will be in touch during the year. 

As part of the catch-up programme, students are provided with a free breakfast from 7.30am on the mornings when they are receiving tutoring. 

Independent Study/Homework Policy

Longdean use  Show My Homework, an online tool to help you keep track of your child’s homework. Show My Homework will allow you to see details of the tasks your child has been set, and over time will be used to track submission status and grades. For more information on how to access and use the website or mobile app, click here.

Reward, Recognition and Behaviour Management

Our school strongly believes in recognising and rewarding achievements, whether they are academic achievements, sporting excellence or fund-raising successes. Students are awarded House Points on a daily basis, ranging from 1,2 or 3 house points in class, followed by a Student of the Lesson award worth 5 points.

Our staff are encouraged to send Positive Postcards to deserving students and these are worth 10 House Points each, as well as a personalised message of praise from a teacher. For individual incidents of brilliance, students can be awarded a Longdean Superstar Award, which is worth 20 House Points

The Heads of Year celebrate successes with certificates, prizes and announcements in assemblies, and students from all year groups are invited to attend Tea with the Head. In addition to this rewards for the entire form, for example, a non-uniform day, are part of our every day routine.

Our aim is that every student receives positive recognition throughout a school year.

Where students behaviour is not conducive to their learning or that of their peers, we employ a range of consequences that may lead to sanctions. Parents can track students achievements and any consequences using the Go4Schools app which provides parents with real time updates. 

Read more in our Positive Behaviour Policy.

Student Targets and Grades

When students join us at Longdean, they are assessed in a number of ways to measure their baseline levels in Year 7. Usually these are in the format of SATs (from primary), Cognitive Abilities Tests (CATs), the Access Reading Test (ART) and baseline assessments in key subject areas.

Students are then given a Year 8 level of attainment, based on all their baseline data from the start of Year 7, and progress made in the first term at Longdean. These can be seen on column 1 and 2 on the Assessment Model table. The highlighted path in yellow shows a student assessed at a baseline of ‘SECURE’ at the start of Year 7 and remaining on this target in Year 8. It indicates their expected pathway to GCSE. Their GCSE target at this point would be a 5- and they would have an expected ‘Zone of Achievement’ between a grade 4 and 5+ (Level 2 Pass and Level 2 Merit for vocational qualifications).

It is very important to note that, whilst the tracking grid is in a linear format and shows a gentle rise every year, this is not entirely reality in every subject. Each subject will cover certain topics at each point in the year and student’s grades will fluctuate depending on their expertise in that particular topic.

You are able to view the targets and grades for your child on Go4Schools (for more information about accessing the site please click here (link to G4S section of ‘Tools’ within the portal)). As we near the end of an academic year, the grade on Go4schools is likely to be a more accurate reflection of your child’s progress.

If, at any point in the year, you have concerns about your child’s grade, you can discuss this with their teacher as they will be able to explain fluctuations in grades more clearly.

We believe that targets should not define a student’s profile for their school life. However, they are a useful tool to ascertain whether a student is on track, below or above what we would expect them to achieve at any point in a given year. They will be reviewed at least once each year and adjusted accordingly to support student progress.