Best Practice

Key stage 3: Avoiding the year 8 ‘dip’

Continuing his focus on key stage 3 education, Matt Bromley looks at how we can tackle the common problem of the year 8 ‘dip’, when students can suffer from a lack of motivation and engagement

Previously in this series, I have referenced Ofsted’s 2015 report, KS3: The Wasted Years?, which claims that key stage 3 is not a high priority for many secondary school leaders in term of timetabling, assessment and the monitoring of pupils’ progress and that school leaders prioritise the pastoral over the academic needs of pupils during transition from primary school.

The report also says that many secondary schools do not build sufficiently on pupils’ prior learning. Some school leaders, Ofsted states, are not using the Pupil Premium funding effectively to close gaps quickly in key stage 3 and, although developing pupils’ literacy skills in key stage 3 is a high priority in many schools, the same level of priority is not given to numeracy. Finally, the report claims that homework in key stage 3 is not consistently providing pupils with the opportunities to consolidate or extend their learning.

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