Thursday, 27 July 2006

I'm not feeling inspired for a good title

I haven't updated in awhile. And I was getting myself into such good habits about actually posting on this thing. I guess the main problem is our other website (which, I admit hasn't been updated much lately either). Often, I think, 'I should write about that' and then can't decide which site to write it on and end up putting it nowhere.

Since I wrote last, we have spent 5 days in Romania - which you can read about on our website (its not all there yet though). As our first excursion into Eastern Europe, it was a very different experience.

I have also finished up the school year and am now on Summer Holidays. Yeah, I worked for 3 weeks before a 6 week break. But thats how they like to do it here, especially for new and overseas trained teachers - its their way of ensuring they have a full teaching staff at the start of the new school year. Of course, it means I have a heap of things to do before September too. I have to go through and rewrite most of the units of work, since the way classes are scheduled has been changed (and, obviously, I want to make them my own). I have to get as clued in as I can about the GCSE courses I am teaching. I will be spending some time in the last week of break at school, getting my classroom sorted.

And now, the first of many explanations of aspects of the English school system - so that those of you who read this (especially the teachers) can get some idea of the similarities/differences to New South Wales (or wherever you're reading from - but NSW is the only other school system I know).

The School Years

If you know about it, think Harry Potter. Students start year 7, their first year of high school, in the September following their 11th birthday. Like NSW, they work on Key Stages - Year 7, 8 & 9 are Key Stage 3. This is when they continue their education in all areas of the curriculum. Key Stage 4 is years 10 & 11. Students take electives for both years and at the end take their GCSEs (HP equivalent = OWLs, also kind of equivalent to NSW's School Certificate, but with more external assessment). Students can choose to leave school at this point, or continue onto Sixth Form. I don't really know why its still referred to as Sixth Form, since its also years 12 & 13. This is Key Stage 5 and known as A levels (or NEWTS for the HP fans). At this point, the focus of study becomes much more specific - they take only a few subjects and what they can take generally relates to how well they did in their GCSE (very similar to what happens at Hogwarts). Its much more specialised than the HSC (NSW's final high school exams), I think, as in there aren't any compulsory courses and the courses they do take are more specific in their content.
At least I think that's all accurate - someone who knows more than I do can feel free to correct me - I've only really been exposed to this system for 3 weeks after all and am still learning myself, but the HP comparison really helped me get my head around it :)

1 comment:

  1. You are such a HP tragic Kate!! But am sure I will be 2 once I can read them all - I thought about reading the 2nd one before our dec agreement the other day (mainly because I found it when getting birthday presents out of the hiding place!!). Also agree with the Cars review - was fun but not their best.