Curriculum Change letter for Year 8

Dear Parent/Carer (Year 8)

I am writing to inform you that it is our intention to change your child’s curriculum as they progress into Year 9 and beyond. These changes have been enforced by the extended closure of the school due to the current pandemic. I would like to outline these changes and allay any fears you may have over any potential impact.

As you know earlier in the year we had begun our options process and I would normally be writing to you at this time to confirm those choices. We are, however, going to have to postpone the option process for 1 year. There are two main factors behind this decision: current Year 8 have had a greatly shortened Key Stage 3 and have not had the breadth and depth of study because of the closure and we strongly believe this would not be the right time to embark upon GCSE courses; learners in current Years 9 & 10 will have their GCSE examinations postponed for 1 year meaning that we will not have enough specialist teachers to run options in Year 9 next year.

The appendix shows you what the curriculum will look like over the remaining years at Harrow High School for your child. Next year’s curriculum will largely have the same format as currently in Year 8. We believe this will give learners the opportunity to learn to a greater depth to prepare them for their GCSEs. One slight change you will notice is that we are going to run GCSE taster courses in Business Studies, Psychology and Sociology. The option courses will then begin in Year 10 where we intend to include these subjects as part of the offer. Option GCSE examinations along with those in the core subjects will then all be taken at the end of Year 11.

Please note though that this model means your child will do one less GCSE subject (9 instead of 10). This will not, however, have any bearing on their chances of successfully progressing to our 6th form or any other college. In fact, it is our belief that doing one less GCSE at this time will benefit the learners as this will reduce the stress of preparing for more subjects in Year 11.

I do understand that this a highly uncertain time for us all and I want to assure you that we have not made these decisions lightly but we do strongly believe we have made the most positive pathway for your child given the current circumstances. Please feel free to e-mail me should you have any questions or comments regarding this decision. Ms Smith, Year 8 Standards & Achievement Leader, will also be available to help.

Yours sincerely,
J Buchanan
Deputy Headteacher – Curriculum & Timetabling

Year 8 Curriculum change letter June 2020