In Britain, the Primary phase 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 February, and a trip to Entertainment City, usually in March.
Around the 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.
Students moving from Junior into Middle have enough to think about without also having to make new friends. So we try not to mix the Year 5 tutor groups in Year 6.
However, there are some circumstances when students may be placed in another class. In particular, if a student re-registers for Year 6 after the April re-registration deadline, we may not always be able to allocate them to their previous tutor group.
If, for any reason, parents wish for their child to be moved to a different tutor group, they should speak with the Middle Department Coordinator in May or early June, at which stage it might be possible to accommodate requests. However, after the summer, it is likely to be impossible to move students between tutor groups.
For students who are new to BSK, we have a ‘buddy system’, and other students are actively encouraged to include new students and to allow natural friendships to form.
Although Year 6 students do not have one main teacher, they have a Class Tutor who meets their tutor group each morning and afternoon. 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 Department, we attempt to arrange the school timetable in such a way that tutors will also teach their tutor group for one of their subjects. 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 Department, 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, in the first two 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.
Subjects like English, Mathematics and Science are taught in 'ability sets' from Year 7. However, in Year 6 we prefer to teach most subjects in tutor groups. Only Arabic, Islamic Studies, French 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 given a sticker on their BSK photographic identification badge, so that prefects will allow them to use their lockers at any time during break.
Year 6 students are expected to prepare for more formal tests than they did 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 will never be given more than one formal test, the result of which will contribute towards the end-of-year assessment process, on the same day. This special provision does not apply 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.
Year 6 prefects are not appointed until the beginning of Term 3, based on behaviour 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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