Upper School Choice - chess

KAS Comments In GCSE Alternatives Article

22nd February 24

As a School we are working with groups like Rethinking Assessment and the School Directed Courses Consortium to look at alternatives to the current GCSE system. Leading the charge at KAS is our Deputy Head Alistair McConville (one of the founders of both of the above organisations), so its great to see him quoted prominently in this article in School House magazine (School House magazine Spring/Summer 2024) about the reasons reform is necessary, and the work some schools are already doing to move away from the traditional 9 GCSE model.

In the article he is quoted talking about the positive reactions we have had here at KAS to our new internally designed English Literature course which 70 percent of the current cohort have opted to take, with just 15 percent choosing the traditional GCSE.

‘The difference is the choice of ways students get to express their understanding of the texts,’ he explains. ‘One of the books we’ve chosen is Meera Syal’s ‘Anita and Me’ which is fascinating on multicultural life. Syal is also a parent at our school which gives the opportunity for engagements with her in person, and a deeper understanding of her methods. Our students can choose to write a recreative response to sections of text rather than a timed essay, for example taking a character and writing a piece in their voice.
‘All this encourages them to exercise imagination and write in literary style. Some even choose to respond orally – explaining their understanding of part of text to teacher as a recorded submission rather than typing it out. It’s still at an early stage but it’s great to see the teachers’ excitement too. They feel liberated to shape the course and assessment and they’ve gone from scepticism and anxiety to exhilaration at being freed up to ply their trade to a high level.’

You can view the article in the online version of School House magazine here (on pages 44-46).



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