Year 9 – Mr Spencer
Year 9 is a pivotal year for students at The King John School, in Year 9 students will begin a pathway of GCSE courses that they will continue through to the end of Year 11. We offer a variety of GCSE pathways for students, all students will follow the core curriculum and a range of Option subjects chosen through consultation with the school at the end of Year 8. They have the opportunity to take new courses that they will have not had the opportunity to study before, such as GCSEs in Media, Business and Sociology and vocational courses such as Hair and Beauty. These personalised pathways make learning more engaging for our students, and drive their motivation as they start to forwards to where their qualifications will take them in the future.
We actively reward those students who are exceeding our expectations, through our whole school rewards system, VIVOs. These are given out during lesson but also through their participation in extra-curricular activities and taking on responsibilities around the school. In keeping with tradition, students still earn Lion badges in Year 9 (red, bronze, silver, gold and platinum). Students will be awarded with these badges as they earn VIVOs. We also celebrate student achievement in termly rewards assemblies, recognising 100% attendance, clear expectations cards, VIVO achievers and tutors will nominate their ‘Student of the Term’.
Despite the strong academic focus in Year 9, the students have a very strong pastoral support system in place as well. We understand that change and new challenges can feel daunting and Year 9 has a dedicated Student Support Officer to help students manage their school lives.
As part of the pastoral support system, each student has a tutor they will see for 20 minutes each morning. During tutor time sessions tutors will lead a range of activities, such as Thought for the Week, where students can engage in discussion round important topical issues or national days. Tutors will also complete ‘housekeeping’ tasks, such as checking planners to ensure they have been signed by parents/guardians and also to help the students keep track of homework etc.
Year 9 student also have the opportunity to take on whole school responsibilities, such as being a form charity rep. This involves coming up with ideas for and putting on charity events for their chosen Year 9 charity. VIVO reps in the tutor groups will liaise closely with the VIVO team in the school to feedback their views on the rewards system, and any improvements that can be made as we go along. Finally, students can also be part of our Student Voice committee, where they can ‘have their voice heard’ on a matter of important school issues where we welcome student input and opinion. Taking on whole school responsibilities prepares students for the coming year, Year 10, when they will be able to apply for the position of Prefect.
Year 9 have an assembly weekly, this will be led either by the Head of Year or by a guest speaker. This is an invaluable opportunity to raise important issues with the year group, such as expectations of behaviour or uniform, or again to present information related to our Thought for the Week or PAUSE focus. We have high expectations of behaviour and conduct during assemblies, and students understand that this is a formal weekly gathering.
The high expectations of behaviour and attitude continue throughout the school day, from their conduct in lessons to their behaviour during free time. A clear policy of sanctions relating to attendance, punctuality, behaviour, attitude to learning and homework ensure that all students are meeting our expectations without question.