Welcome to Year 11 from Mrs Westwell, Director of Learning

At St Edmund Arrowsmith Catholic High School we fully embrace the opportunity to help and guide our Year 11 pupils as they make their final journey through school. Not only do we make it our priority to prepare our GCSE cohort for the academic demands that this finishing journey ensues but we also recognise the importance of the emotional preparations needed before they take their first steps as young adults into the “real world” when they leave us in June.


With this in mind, we have carefully organised the calendar to ensure we get the best out of our young people. Our ultimate goal is to create well-rounded, decent human beings who reach their full potential in every aspect of their life.


Year 11 can be a very stressful year. The culmination of revision, regular testing, the fear of failing and the high expectations in the classroom can take their toll. Fortunately, we have a number of systems in place to support our young people through this year. 


The pastoral curriculum, which takes place during registration, provides bespoke lessons on revision techniques and the process of preparing for exams. T


Year 11 also benefit greatly from the school’s intensive careers’ programme which provides our young people with a very personal yet supportive input into future career choices. One such support is the “Mock Interview Day.”  This wonderful occasion allows pupils to experience a pretend job interview which takes place in front of external representatives from the world of work. 


Year 11 also benefit from our experienced well-being team who offer crucial sessions such as meditation, emotional counselling and PSTEC. These have proven to be extremely useful at anxious times throughout the year.


However, it is very important that Year 11 take ultimate responsibility in ensuring their final journey is a successful one. They must make sure they are preparing properly for their exams. As a school we recommend that pupils have a quiet area to work of a night so that they can do some valuable revision. Independent study is key when building confidence for the final assessments so it is imperative that this skill is perfected. 


There will be several times throughout the year when pupils might review their approach to learning and consider different ways to prepare for their studies. They must remember that slight improvements can make massive differences.


In 2012 Sir Dave Brailsford explained the idea of marginal gains to the BBC. He said: “The whole principle came from the idea that if you broke down everything you could think of, that goes into riding a bike, and then improved it by 1%, you will get a significant increase when you put them all together.”


If Year 11 did the same and tried to improve their GCSE preparations by 1% they would certainly see a change for the better. 


The right mind-set is crucial in Year 11. If pupils adopt a Growth Mind-set then they will embrace the opportunity to develop intelligence. Challenge must not be seen as a deterrent but rather as an opportunity to develop. Inevitably, there may be some setbacks in studies; but we must persevere.

Year 11 must believe in themselves and their abilities!


As a Director of Learning I am keen to offer any guidance and pastoral care which pupils may need. Both pupils and guardians should not hesitate to contact me if a need arises. Alongside me, I have the Year 11 team. The team is made up of ten dedicated form tutors who are also available to support our students through their Key Stage 4 journey. Additional staff will also assist in helping Year 11 be another successful year. 


Competitions will also run each half-term to champion attendance and effort in lessons. A number of Leavers’ Do tickets will be used as rewards. Celebrations will take place in our half-termly assemblies. 


Finally, the key message for our Year 11 cohort is to “work hard and be the best that you can be.”


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