Getting the A* grades in English/Lit

(16 Posts)
Aciderwouldbenice Wed 24-Feb-16 12:54:32

What are you/your department doing to try and increase/secure your A* grades in English language and literature?
Our department achieved a good number of tops grades in the past but recent years have seen the A* grades plummet.

I know this is the last year with this system but I have such a brilliant class and I really want to do the best I can for them and give them every opportunity.

MrsGuyOfGisbo Wed 24-Feb-16 14:37:10

Our department achieved
sad
How about the actual pupils working/achieving?
Roll on the 1-9 when very few, if any will get top grades - if everyone can get an A* how can the really talented and hardworking truly shine?

Aciderwouldbenice Wed 24-Feb-16 15:42:53

I understand what you are saying, and I apologise if it has come across this way. I am a very passionate teacher who works hard for my students however the pressure from above to achieve A* grades means that it is a department issue.
I have a class of bright students, some really talented students, all I have asked is what other departments are doing to ensure they help those students achieve the top grades in case there is an idea I have not thought of that could make that extra bit of difference.

MrsGuyOfGisbo Wed 24-Feb-16 16:18:29

Aciderwouldbenice
Sorry if my post came across bitchy - I do understand the spirit of the thread - my frustration is with the expectation of teachers to 'deliver' - not questioning in any way your dedication or sincerity to give your pupils the best chance to do their best.

GinandJag Wed 24-Feb-16 16:47:20

I guess, as the teacher, acider can only control her own behaviour, not the students'.

MsFiremanSam Wed 24-Feb-16 22:18:14

There's no magic bullet - lots of opportunity to discuss and develop original ideas and interpretations, looking at examples. I'm sure you're doing this already. In the last few years my classes have done well with A*s in Lit - I'm an examiner on the paper and I think knowing the spec really well helps.
I feel your pain though - it's the current obsession of our SLT after Ofsted picked it up.

Sprink Thu 25-Feb-16 20:01:19

OP, my first question would be, "what are you doing currently?"

Aciderwouldbenice Thu 25-Feb-16 20:39:21

I have a high ability class so I am ensuring they are stretched in lessons (I teach A level too so taking that level of approach at literature) they get feedback twice a week, one language piece and one literature (oh the marking!) plus do peer/self assessment and have directed improvement time. I see them 3 times a week.
I have two drop in revision sessions a week, one after school, one at lunch where I am available for support and to mark anything they want marking. About half the class attend those.
I also run a session after school for a small group who are underachieving or finding something tricky to really focus on that problem. These run once a week and the students attend for as long as it takes for he penny to drop.
i was pretty vague in my OP as typed a v long one out and then thought it was too much information so trimmed it down. I am a good teacher, judged outstanding many times, always had excellent results, however my performance management target this year is to get the A* grades.
Less and less students are achieving an A* but no less have an FFT of the top grade and I am judged by the FFT, senior management want A*s in English, I am the teacher with the top set. I need to do everything I can.

Aciderwouldbenice Thu 25-Feb-16 20:44:06

Sorry *fewer and fewer (!)

SueLawleyandNicholasWitchell Sat 27-Feb-16 21:42:56

You should not have to do all those extra sessions.

Cococo1 Sat 27-Feb-16 21:45:38

I wish my dd had you as a teacher

NewLife4Me Sat 27-Feb-16 21:53:54

You sound like such a brilliant teacher, I hope you are appreciated at your school.
I'm sure many parents do thanks

LeOrange Sun 28-Feb-16 16:56:31

I did some literary theory as an after school session with my really bright ones. Marxism, Feminism and Psychoanalytical. The ones who got it loved it and it gave their essays a lovely lift. Where it felt forced or bolted-on, I told them to leave it. A 'lite' version of the AQA A2 anthology work. Made a nice change and got some of them excited about literature again, rather than bashing out the same essay responses. Definitely impacted results.

Aciderwouldbenice Mon 29-Feb-16 05:54:30

That is a really useful idea, thank you

seoulsurvivor Mon 29-Feb-16 06:18:33

Encourage your students to read as much as possible outside the set texts. I was a big reader from a young age and always found English easy as a result.

SueLawleyandNicholasWitchell Mon 29-Feb-16 06:28:07

Absolutely - reading widely and often is the key.

Unfortunately, teachers are often being railroaded into putting on millions of extra sessions, (for free), to try and make shortcuts for those students who don't want to bother reading. Too often, students are being given "recipes" ('10 ways to start a sentence' / '10 words to use instead of "nice"' etc) rather than there being an expectation of students doing the work for themselves.

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