TTC is an 11-18 mixed comprehensive on a split site.
Aim: To establish enrichment provision in which students are proactive; to inspire and challenge the most able. To encourage a positive work ethic to make students more ambitious and competitive when considering university applications.
Background: Results in the college, at GCSE particularly, had been slightly disappointing in comparison to other local schools. Although results in History had been consistently above or on the national average, it was felt that the potential of some of the most able was not being fulfilled.
The opportunities for academic enrichment needed to be increased. Some of the most able students left after GCSE to join Sixth Forms at other schools.
A series of free online courses (MooCs) were run for Sixth Form and Year 11 students. These students then ran similar courses for Year 9 students which proved very positive for all concerned; by the third course 55 students were participating across the three Key Stages.
Unfortunately the online programme was not sustainable, mostly due to the logistics of having a split site and the time commitment required. A peer mentoring programme was introduced with ten A-Level students providing one-to-one mentoring for the most able GCSE students. 16 students completed Foundation and Higher Project Qualifications (FPQ HPQ) with 60% achieving A* grades. Many of the topics chosen were history related and supervised by the History department.
A History Society was established with a consistent attendance of 20 Year 9 students. At various points in the year Sixth-Form students were involved in a supportive role. Ten students worked on their HPQs this year and that included an excellent range of subject matter, from the Spanish Conquests of Latin America, to Henry VIII and Cold War Soviet policies.
Uptake at GCSE and A Level, exam results, History Society involvement
The combined efforts over the three years with the HPQ enrichment led to an increase in uptake at both GCSE and A Level. The reasons for the increased uptake were complex: firstly, History or Geography became a Key Stage 4 requirement and the range of options at A Level decreased. However, it did contribute to a greater engagement with History at all key stages, particularly with the most able learners.
It is important to work smartly to embed enrichment that requires less teacher input. Using students to run enrichment was a risk well worth taking, albeit not always sustainable through the course of an academic year.
Ian Silverton, email@example.com