Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Top tactics to make revision unavoidable for Year 11 students

It’s still five months before the first GCSE English exams and 1 in 5 of our Year 11 have already attended at least one voluntary after school revision session.

Now, not for a second am I complacent about this. What will impact student achievement this summer is sustained hard work – both in and out of lesson – but I am taking a moment to have a demi-smile that this year group clearly want to do well and are upping their game when it most counts for both them and the school.

I was asked by the lovely @cazzwebbo how we go about getting these students to attend such additional revision sessions. I can only reply with a slightly scattergun and naggingly persistent approach that uses two main tactics:


·         We display posters on the doors of all form rooms and class rooms.

·         We have daily announcements over the P.A. system at the end of the school day to say where revision is starting.

·         We give reminders in year team briefing for form tutors to pass on and ensure these messages are repeated in assembly.

·         We have a form group league table updated on a weekly basis to show which groups have attended most frequently and then award prizes to encourage a competitive element.

·         Our HoY has a loyalty card scheme which unlocks access to the prom and then further Vivo rewards.

·         Revision session reminders are also displayed on TV screens around the school.

·         We provide free buses for students to get home twice a week to ensure every child can access the after school sessions.


·         We give all parents revision class timetables on Year 11 Parents’ Evening. Class teachers then refer to this in their discussions with parents to clarify expectations about which sessions their child will attend.

·         We send text messages to all parents to remind them when revision sessions are taking place.

 We call home or post letters when target students are not attending and clearly need to be.


·         We make sure that when students do attend that their time is well spent by teaching well-structured sessions. All teachers ‘opt-in’ to lead the sessions they are most confident delivering. This helps ensure that they come back!

·         We give every student a timetable showing the topics that will be covered on each day so they can ensure they can address areas of weakness. We hope that this encourages them to divide their time sensibly between revision for other subjects. Note: we remove the teachers who will lead each session as students sometimes only want to go to the ones ‘their’ teacher leads!

·         We liaise with Maths to ensure that students can attend revision in both core subjects.

Of course, this only scratches the surface of our revision strategy. I haven’t even begun to mention the revision bags, QR code revision sheets, revision book marks, half term and Easter schools, intervention days, walking/talking mock exams, use of website or Twitter, or our deployment of an English Support teacher. I’ll save that little lot for another blog.


  1. sorry to be controversial
    but every year more and more pressure is put on staff
    If you don't do extra sessions it is implied you don't care
    Not true! Also attending rev sessions can undermine ordinary lessons.."we're coming to your session later sir". How about actually working during my lesson. You get the idea.

    1. Hi,

      All of our twice weekly sessions are staffed by volunteers, split across 16 teachers, with no expectations or pressure on staff to lead one. Approximately half will be lead my me, my Deputy, or our Lead Practitioner.

      Both staff and students know what will make the real difference is four high quality lessons each week. However, at the moment, these sessions are important for providing our students with an additional opportunity for learning. This is needed for some as they don't have a suitable study space at home, need more direct guidance about how to revise, or have missed sessions due to absence.

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