Curriculum & Assessment
This is an overview of the content of the subjects pupils study in LJHS and the assessment procedures used to reinforce and consolidate classroom teaching.
At the start of the year, pupils are given a timetable, with different teachers for most subjects. The School week is divided into 40 periods, 8 periods per day, each lasting 40 minutes. Where appropriate, pupils are timetabled for double periods in their practical subjects.
Pupils are taught in Form Class groups for all subjects, with the exception of the asterisked subjects for which they are divided into smaller groups to take account of the practical nature of the subjects.
Pupils are taught the Northern Ireland Curriculum and are given every encouragement to achieve the highest personal academic standards through challenging and engaging lessons.
Subject / Periods
English - 5
Maths - 5
Science* - 4 or 6 in Year 10
History - 2 or 3
Geography - 2 or 3
RE - 2
ICT - 1
Drama - 1
French - 3 or 4
Spanish - 2 or 3
PE* - 2 or 3
Art - 2
Music - 2
HE* - 2
TD* - 2
LLW - 1
(*Changes may be made to the following in light of Covid-19 impact)
Teaching and Learning
A variety of strategies employed in the classroom provide pupils with appropriate opportunities to develop and display their creativity, independence, collaboration and encourage acquisition of the necessary skills for effective learning.
Assessment is an integral part of the school curriculum. Teachers assess pupils’ progress both in an on-going way, referred to as Assessment for Learning, as well as in a summative way, which is Assessment of Learning.
Parents are invited to meet with subject teachers once a year. A letter with an accompanying interview card will be sent out a few weeks prior to the Parent-Teacher Meeting and parents will be able to make appointments to speak with either subject teachers or Form Class Teachers. However, parents are encouraged to contact the pupil’s Form Class Teacher, at any time, should they have particular concerns about their son/daughter’s progress.
Baseline Testing (CAT 4, PASS, PTE, PTM)
At the beginning of the Autumn Term, all pupils in Year 8 are given the opportunity to take a battery of nationally standardised tests, produced by GL Assessment. These include an aptitude test and an attitudinal test and the outcomes help staff to set individual targets and monitor pupil performance.
Pupils are encouraged to be fully involved in their learning, to know their own individual targets for each subject area and to regularly review their work and progress towards these targets, thereby fostering self-responsibility and independence.
Assessment for Learning
Assessment for Learning is very much integrated into pupils’ everyday learning. It is part of the teaching process used to develop pupils’ knowledge and understanding. Teachers use techniques that best suit the nature of the work being assessed and the purpose of the assessment. It may, for example, take the form of small class quizzes or unit tests, homework tasks, independent or group tasks, class discussion or teacher observation of pupil participation as an individual or as part of a group.
Assessment of Learning / School Examinations
Pupils sit School Examinations in November / December and again at the end of May when they are off timetable for a week. Copies of the school examination timetable indicating changes to the normal timetable are posted on the website and provided to pupils a few weeks before the start of the examinations.
Preparing for school examinations
There are a number of ways in which parents can support school and help pupils prepare for school examinations. In lessons, subject teachers indicate areas on which pupils should focus revision, spend time preparing them for the content, sharing with them the types of questions they might be asked and giving guidance about how to set out answers and the timing of answers. Form Class teachers will also spend time discussing ways to revise and assisting pupils with the preparation of a revision timetable. Pupils should try to revise in an on-going way throughout the year and testing of knowledge is an essential part of any such revision.
Parents can also assist with revision in some of the following ways:
Taking a pupil through their revision timetable and planning what needs to be revised in each subject to ensure all subjects and areas highlighted by subject teachers are covered;
Assisting with the organisation of notes/books required for revision;
Creating a revision notebook in which the pupil can make notes, self-test and highlight areas for further revision;
Talking the pupil through learning, hearing vocabulary/prepared presentations for Speaking Tests in Languages and checking accuracy of notes made from textbooks/learning booklets/class and homeworks;
Ensuring pupils can work at a table/desk and have a quiet area in which to study
Removing mobile phones to minimise distraction while working!
We value the establishment of good study habits so that pupils can take increasing responsibility for their work at their next schools.
Homework given will vary to reflect subject content and pupil contact time allocated each week. Although pupils get homework according to the timetable, there will be times when homework may not arise naturally from class activities and it may not be useful to set a piece of work. There will be occasions, too, when pupils are involved in project work
and will be required to complete a short additional task in the evening to ensure on-going progress in the project. Pupils may also be set a larger piece of work which teachers might ask pupils to complete over two or more homework sessions. This will require careful organisation on the part of the pupil who will need to learn to manage his or her time at home in order to ensure they are able to complete all homework on time.
Parents can support their son or daughter’s learning at home by encouraging pupils to:
Check homework for accuracy in spelling, grammar and punctuation and presentation;
Take time each week to revise work, possibly even setting a few weekly targets for improvement;
Manage and organise their books and materials required for lessons each evening;
Read as much and as often as possible including books, newspapers or journals related to personal interests and subject related articles on the Internet; all useful ways to extend general knowledge and literacy skills;
Participate in extracurricular activities
The skill of effective Communication is at the core of all learning and is developed in a progressive way through Reading, Writing, Talking and Listening in English lessons and reinforced across all subjects.
Pupils are encouraged to take care with their Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation and to take time to look over their work to ensure it is at all times neat, with legible handwriting and in line with each subject teacher’s expectations.
Similarly, pupils’ ability in Using Mathematics, taught primarily through Mathematics, is developed and consolidated across the curriculum.
Meetings between LJHS Co-ordinators of Literacy and Numeracy and those from our feeder primary schools ensure meaningful transition for pupils to.
LJHS has a well-structured programme to ensure pupils consolidate their existing ICT skills. In addition to teaching ICT as a discrete subject on the curriculum, pupils’ skills in Using ICT are developed throughout a range of subjects across the curriculum in Key Stage 3.
The Northern Ireland Curriculum has identified the development of Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities as central to enabling pupils to become effective learners across all subjects. These skills encourage pupils’ ability to think both critically and creatively and to develop personal and interpersonal skills and dispositions which help them in their learning.
The five skills are:
Thinking, Problem-Solving and Decision-Making
Working with Others
Pupils acquire all five skills through all subjects, but focus on the development of the skills that are most appropriate to the content of each subject.
Parents receive a report of their son/daughter’s performance at the end of Term 1 and Term 3. Both reports will show the target for each subject that the pupil is expected to achieve, alongside their actual score, colour-coded to be easy to understand. If they meet or exceed the target set, this will show as green. If not, they could be amber or red, depending on how far from their expected target they have come. The report will indicate your child’s position within the Form Class. One report each year will also include comments which may include a focus for improvement from subject teachers and pastoral comments from the Form Class Teacher.
The timing of these reports is indicated below -
Year 8 - December
Year 9 - December
Year 10 - December
Year 8 - June
Year 9 - June
Year 10 - April/May
Movement between classes / bands
Our aim is to ensure as far as possible that all pupils at Lurgan JHS access the same Curriculum and Assessment as their peers. Staff teach the same content to all classes, except the nurturing group,so these classes therefore can receive the same Assessment tasks.
As a result we see no value in moving pupils into other bands simply due to results which show they are currently underachieving, as experience has shown that this will lead directly to the development of so-called ‘sink’ classes with a large group of disaffected pupils. Staff will, in as many cases as possible, instead intervene with these underachieving pupils and their families in order to raise their level of attainment within their current class.
Due to the nature of delayed selection in the Dickson Plan, Year 9 and 10 whole school Assessment is crucial to this process of transfer to KS4. It is therefore important that the pupils follow the same Curriculum in each subject area and are assessed in the same way, unless they have been placed in the nurturing class.
Class change is very disruptive to pupil progress, both pastorally and academically and therefore both areas are taken into account when deciding on the best way forward.
Pupils may be moved between classes (within their current band)for pastoral reasons which clearly Impact seriously on the wellbeing of the pupil , for example, if there are friendship issues after consultation with the pupil, parents and staff involved. (Government regulations on class size for practical subjects may mean there are no places available)
In circumstances where the Assessment data suggests the pupil had been significantly misplaced in Term 1 Year 8 and / or has been unable to access the curriculum effectively in their current class, SILT will discuss the option of a change of class with the parents and pupil.
In light of the procedure for transfer to another school in Year 11, parents will also be provided with a separate letter indicating your child’s overall Rank Order position within the school. This will help you understand whether your child is likely to be suited to transfer to an academic Grammar School like Lurgan College to sit 10 or more GCSE subjects, or to move to a Senior High School like Craigavon Senior High to sit 8 or less GCSE subjects. Lurgan College has taken between 105 and 120 pupils from Lurgan JHS in recent years.
For the process of ranking pupils, we use the following information:
All classes will be sitting the same (higher) tier examinations each year, although B1- B2 and B3 pupils only study one language.
Only the following subjects contribute to the final rank order for transfer:
Maths, English, Science,
History, Geography, French, HE,
Technology, RE, Spanish, LLW
** Drama, Art, PE and Music are assessed and reported through grades A- D for Achievement and Participation
Core Subjects (English, Maths & Science are given double weighting due to their importance and additional timetable allocation).
**It is essential that pupils and parents are aware that results from any set of school examinations could potentially be used by teachers to support applications for transfer to another school. This information will be shared with parents and pupils through the School Prospectus, Website and at induction meetings.
Lurgan College will usually select pupils based on the results from March/ April of Year 10, together with the results from end of Year 9 examinations. The results will normally be split 30% Year 9 and 70% Year 10.
In Maths and Science, pupils will sit two tiers of assessment - foundation (10B1-B2) and higher (10A1-A8) which reflects the fact that 10B1-B2 pupils have traditionally been entered for Foundation Level GCSEs.
**As in other years, pupils in B1 - B2 may opt to sit the Higher level tests if they have a particular aptitude for Science or Maths and wish to do so. N.B. If this is the case, parents should contact school by November.
End of Key Stage Assessment - Year 10 Term 3
It is vital that pupils, parents and staff can clearly identify the academic progress each child has made during their time at KS3 in Lurgan JHS. The measurement of this progress is carried out in two parts.
End of Key Stage 3 Assessment in Communication, Using Maths and ICT;
Re- testing of standardised tests from GL Assessment (i.e. CAT4, PTE, PTM, PTS and PASS)