In Britain, the Primary stage extends until the end of Year 6. However, BSK students are mature enough to benefit from this change a year early, so we start Secondary style education in Year 6. The curriculum is the same, but the way in which it is taught is more advanced.
These are the main differences between Years 5 and 6 at BSK:
Because of these differences, students sometimes worry about the move into Year 6. We understand this, so we aim to make the transition as smooth and trouble-free as possible.
Year 5 students are invited to attend two Middle Department social events: a games evening, usually in Term 3, and a film evening, usually in Term 4.
In May of Year 5, parents are invited to an information evening, at which they can meet the Secondary Head Teacher and Middle Department Coordinator, who will explain the changes and how we can help. Parents will be able to have any of their questions answered.
The Middle Department Coordinator will also meet with the Year 5 students and explain the various differences involved in moving into Year 6. The students will be able to have their questions answered.
Although Year 6 students do not have one main teacher, they have a Class Tutor who meets their tutor group each morning. The tutor is the first point of contact if students are facing any personal or organisational issues.
In Year 6, to smooth the transition from Junior Phase, we attempt to arrange the school timetable in such a way that tutors will also teach their tutor group for one of their subjects - usually English or Mathematics. As a result, tutors develop both pastoral and academic knowledge of the students in their tutor group, thereby enabling them to offer better informed and focused guidance to the students in their care.
In the Junior Phase, students are mainly taught in their tutor room with their class teacher. In the Middle Department, however, students move around the school to different classrooms where they are taught by specialist subject teachers.
This can be challenging at the beginning, as students learn their way around the school. However, until the end of the first two full school weeks of Year 6, while students are settling and finding their way around, the teachers will be lenient and understanding if a student loses their way and is late for a lesson.
To bridge the transition from the Year 5 environment into a timetable in which every subject is taught by subject specialists, we attempt to timetable the same teacher for Year 6 History, Geography and Social Studies. It should be understood that this is not always possible.
Most subjects are taught in 'sets' from Year 7. This means that students are placed into teaching groups based on their previous attainment levels. However, in Year 6 we prefer to teach most subjects in tutor groups. Only Arabic, Islamic Studies, French, German and PE may be set in Year 6.
Because Secondary students follow a rotational timetable, they must carry the correct books and equipment to each lesson. Year 6 students are the youngest who have to do this, so they are given priority over Year 7-11 students to rent lockers near their tutor room.
Year 7-11 students may only use their lockers during the first 5 minutes of each break. However, Year 6 students are allowed by prefects use their lockers at any time during break.
Formal assessments are timed tests requiring most or all of a double period (shorter in Primary) which have been designed to test an extended section of the previously covered Scheme of Work at a level of difficulty equivalent to the end-of-year examination. Students will always receive at least five school days' notice of formal assessments.
Year 6 students are expected to prepare for more formal assessments than in Year 5. To ensure that students are pressured appropriately, but not too much, we have designed a system which ensures that Year 6 students should, if possible, have at most one formal assessment on the same day. This is not always possible, but Year 6 students will certainly never have more than two formal assessments on the same day. This special provision does not apply to informal tests or to the Year 6 end-of-year examinations.
Students are expected to complete homework in an average of three subjects each evening. In Year 6, each homework should take around 20 minutes. This means that the overall homework burden should be approximately one hour, the same as in Year 5.
During Term 1, while Year 6 students are still adjusting to the Secondary sanctions system, the DC will not place any Year 6 students into afterschool detention for an accumulation of -1 point offences. However, a -3 point offence would result in an afterschool detention.
Year 6 prefects are not appointed until the beginning of Term 3. The appointments are based on net housepoints (calculated as 'positives' minus 'negatives') received only during Term 2. This means that any organisational or other adjustment issues faced by new Year 6 students during the first term will not affect their chances of being a prefect in Year 6.
Year 6 assemblies are held separately to the assemblies for the other Middle Department year groups. We have found that this allows the Middle Department Coordinator to focus her assemblies more precisely on the students' specific needs.
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