Timetable Complexities

*transferred from Staffrm


Increasing pressures on the curriculum are causing timetablers to find ever-more inventive solutions. Timetabler Joe Bradford, of the Sunshine and Starburst Academy in North Yorkshire, explains his most recent predicament: “We are extending the school day every other Thursday, implementing Saturday remote home-study supervision and we teach all the way through the holidays for exam revision. We just have to.”

The Sunshine and Starburst Academy is not alone in feeling stretched to deliver everything that needs to be taught.

Tracey Ullswater, a timetabler for academy chain We Are The World in North Yorkshire, has devised a particularly creative scheme: “We operate an eight-and-a-half day timetable rotation,” she outlines, “and on day 6 we run from 7am to 12, where we break for Community Charity Challenge until 4, then we come back to school for flipped learning algebra exploration in KS4 and SOLO exploration PE in KS3.”

Billy Rochester, an explorer in Year 10, told us: “We get to do all sorts at this school. It’s not like my old school where you just did subjects. I used to do English, now I do Communicate in the Community and I used to do Geography but now we do All Around The World. It’s mega.”

Mrs Ullswater continued: “Our We Are The World academy chain follows the Embrace curriculum. That means we don’t leave anything out. A typical Day 3 might include Gardening for Engineers, followed by Pornography awareness for Organic Farmers, followed by Religious Education in our Computer Literate World. It’s very varied, very ‘real-world’ and applied.”

When asked about exam courses, Mrs Ullswater explained: “We need to keep the stu…I mean explorers in schoo..I mean the academy until 7 most evenings so that we can actually tea…I mean facilitate their exam subjects. Some times I think the exams get in the way of the real learning! But hey! This is the modern world!”

Head Facilitator, Barry Doncaster of the neighbouring academy, The Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better Trust, says it’s the same situation there. “We follow the Nothing Left Out curriculum plan. There’s really ‘nothing left out’! We have to extend Citizenship every week to include whatever new idea has been thought of this time! Oh my days! So there’s hardly any time for traditional subjects. We’re preparing the younger people for a more demanding world…..it’s all relationships and erm..learning to do things..erm..not just learning about them.”

All students go on to further study. “Most of our students go on to the local college to retake GCSEs” Mr Doncaster told us.