At Herne Bay High School, we value the success of every individual and offer all students an academic experience in line with their ability and interests. All students will benefit from accessing the same broad curriculum, quality of teaching and fair access opportunities throughout their time at the school. We have, over the years, operated Herons classes and HPA (High Prior Attainers) classes. This has enabled us to always ensure we are best meeting the needs of every student. We are now formally running Grammar classes in each year whilst also retaining Herons' ethos.
In Year 7
In term one of Year 7, we focus on the transition experience for all students. The year group is divided into two bands and the classes are balanced taking into account all known information on the students from their primary schools. This enables us to ensure that all students are given the opportunity to learn to the best of their ability while being able to focus on their personal development such as managing a busy a timetable, remembering their belongings, coping with their homework load and exploring extra-curricular opportunities. During this term, our Heads of Curriculum in English, Maths and Science will undertake base line assessments with all students, look at the day-to-day learning of students and look at the results from any other assessments that we undertake, including the results from our Accelerated Reader assessments and Cognitive Ability Testing (CATs). In week five of term one, the Heads of Curriculum will re-set the year group creating 2 identical timetabled bands (X band and Y band) and will create both grammar and additional balanced classes, these will become operational after the October ½ term.
Each band will have at least one grammar class in it that will be populated automatically by students who have passed their Kent test, and then by students who show both aptitude and attitude in line with the expectations of these classes. The pace of learning will be faster, and the depth of learning will be deeper in these classes, even though they will study the same curriculum topics. We will notify all parents of students who we would like to place in the grammar classes. The remaining “balanced classes” are created to ensure that they are well balanced with children who will learn well with peers who have made similar progress.
Students’ progress is monitored throughout the year. If it becomes clear that a student is not coping as well as we would like in a grammar class, as the expectations are high, we would seek to transfer them to a balanced class that best suits their needs. Conversely, if a student is performing above the level of their balanced class and would suit a grammar class experience, we would transfer them also.
Any set changes are done in relation to the Heads of Curriculum assessing progress and attitude data of students and we do not set students on the basis of friendships or pastoral need.
At the end of year 7, all students will sit an exam which helps our Heads of Curriculum re-set students for the coming year. Students who have passed their Kent Test will remain in a Grammar class unless it is not meeting their needs as learners.
The year groups are also divided into 2 bands of equal ability with an appropriate number of Grammar class and balanced classes in each band. Balanced classes contain children who have made progress in the same ranges as assessed by our internal assessments and exams.
We routinely, and regularly, assess each child’s class and our Heads of Curriculum will make changes if they feel they would suit a child’s learning better. At all stages this will be communicated to both parents and students.
At the end of year 8, all students will sit an exam which again helps our Heads of Curriculum re-set students for the coming year. Students who have passed their Kent Test will remain in a Grammar class unless it is not meeting their needs as learners.
The year groups are also divided into 2 bands of equal ability with an appropriate number of Grammar class or classes in each band. Once again, the remaining classes are comprised of balanced groups that contain children who have made progress in the same ranges as assessed by our internal assessments and exams.
Just as in year 8, we routinely, and regularly, assess each child’s class and our Heads of Curriculum will make changes if they feel they would suit a child’s learning better. At all stages this will be communicated to both parents and students.
All our setting is carefully put together by our curriculum leads who are extremely experienced in being able to set children into classes that suits their needs as learners and maximise their opportunities for progress.
In the Upper School
Our timetable allows for our core subjects of English, Maths, and Science to be set independently and based on subject specific data. The sets are created in consultation with the Head of Upper School (Mr Waters). Option classes will be created based on student choices and the option subjects available, as such class sizes vary significantly between subjects. Additional classes are scheduled in the core subject to ensure that we can meet individual learning needs of all our students.
In the Sixth Form
All classes are created based on student choices, the number of students in each class is very subject specific, however we will ensure that they are appropriate for maximising learning.