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Week beginning 18th March: homework, holidays and some extra useful info


Somehow we're in the final week of term 4. This week's sessions will be my last of the current term, although I know that I'm seeing most of my pupils at various stages during the Easter break. There are a few spaces remaining so it's not too late to book a few holiday sessions, if you'd like to.

I'll be posting the link to my Easter Holiday Homework Pack next week, so please check back for it then. There are important question-types included in this pack, so I would like every child to work through it during the Easter break please.

Our focus this week will be spatial reasoning, and we'll be looking at the relationships between nets and cubes. These are a very well known type of spatial reasoning question - and, in fairness, they are a very good way of checking for underlying spatial reasoning skill - but because we see these types of questions in almost all of the published practice books, we rarely see these questions appear in the Kent Test.

I'll be chatting about this and about spatial reasoning in general in the Kent Test during my Zoom information session on Saturday. I'll be online from 9.30am until 11am on Saturday 23rd March, and you'll be able to join me using this link:

Another date for your diaries is Thursday 12th September. This date is yet to be confirmed, but this is the proposed date for the Kent Test this year. Don't make any plans based on this date, as it's still provisional for the time being, but this is the date that is being suggested at the current time. The date will ordinarily be confirmed around Easter and I'll update you again once we have confirmation.

I'll be giving the children their reasoning practice books after the Easter break, but for the time being please continue to focus on maths and English at home. One task from each book should be a minimum target for each week, and more than that would be much better. We are still seeing the 'knock-on' effect of the COVID school closures and this year's pupils are definitely not working at the level that I would have expected pre-COVID, in their maths and in their English. For this reason, we need to be doing all that we can to fill the gaps and boost the children's maths and English skills ahead of the Kent Test in September. A focussed 'push' with maths and English through the Easter holiday will be a valuable strategy, before I ask you to be tackling weekly reasoning tasks too, for the summer term.

From now, I'd like to change the system of timing the children's homework tasks please. The

information that you've been sharing so far has enabled me to build a solid picture of each child's natural pace of working compared to their accuracy levels. Thank you.

Going forwards, we need to move towards being timed, with a time limit imposed, as will be the way with the Kent Test itself. From now on, for all book tasks completed at home, please use this method for timing:

  1. Set a timer for the time limit given at the top of the page, and start the timer when your child tells you that they are ready to begin. 

  2. Ask for independent work from the task in question, for the duration of the time available.

  3. Any time remaining after an initial attempt at each question should be used for checking, checking and checking again. This is important!

  4. Once the time has elapsed, mark your child's work (using the answers and explanations in the back of each book) and re-work any questions that they answered incorrectly with them, so that they can better attempt any similar questions in the future.

  5. Note your child's score at the bottom of the test page.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If ever the time elapses before all of the questions in the task have been completed, ask your child to draw a horizontal line under the question that they tried last. They should then continue - untimed - to try the remaining questions in that task. Their score for that task will be out of the total number of questions, not just the questions that they tried within the time limit. I don't need to know how long these remaining questions take.

As always, let me know if you have any questions.

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