We were delighted that so many schools started using our secondary schemes in 2019, and that even more have plans to start using them this September and/or roll out into more year groups. We’re also really pleased that so many secondary students have engaged with our Year 7 to 10 Home Learning materials and really grateful for the feedback and encouragement.

Given the disruption to learning caused by the Covid 19 pandemic, schools are asking questions as to how this will affect implementation of the schemes. This blog summarises our thoughts on this so far (early May 2020). We will of course adapt our thoughts and our planning in response to the ongoing changing situation.

Is it still wise to start the WRM Year 7 secondary scheme as it is in September 2020, or should we adapt it to account for lost learning in Year 6?

There is a huge overlap between the KS2 and KS3 national Curriculum content that our schemes are based on. Our secondary scheme includes this overlap, so any material that may have been missed at the end of Year 6 will be covered during Key Stage 3.

Our Year 7 starts with ‘Algebraic Thinking’, which is a relatively fresh start as there is little formal algebra at KS2. Indeed, given the disruption caused by the pandemic, it might be brand new for many students. We hope this will help to ‘level the playing field’ so that all students can access the new material and get off to a flying start. For more details on why our scheme starts this way, see our blog “Brave to start with algebra”.

How should we group our Y7 students given we don’t have SATs results?

We respect that schools will make their own decisions either to teach in sets or in mixed attainment classes as suits the needs of their students and their teachers. Our scheme of learning has been used successfully in schools using both systems.

What about rolling into other year groups given the lost learning of secondary students?

We are planning to produce a detailed document, ‘Closing the Gaps’, before the end of this academic year that highlights what has (most likely) been missed, and where this can be picked up in the scheme as it is.
In the meantime, here’s our initial thoughts for other year groups.

Year 8
Year 8 starts with topics not covered in our Year 7 scheme, so starting from the beginning with Ratio and Scale should work well. You will need to bear in mind that a few of our exemplar questions will included interleaved material that may have been missed from late on in Year 7 e.g. addition/subtraction of fractions, so you will need to check questions carefully before using them. However most of the content children should have covered in Year 6. There will be opportunities to revisit content that pupils may have missed in the summer term, such as Geometry, in Year 8 and Year 9. Further details will be provided in the forthcoming ‘Closing the Gaps’ document.

Year 9
Year 9 may be the most straightforward year group to deal with. As we approach the end of KS3, alongside new material not studied before (e.g. formal study of y=mx+c, Pythagoras’ theorem) there are also several consolidation blocks that build on Year 7 and 8 knowledge (e.g. ‘Forming and solving equations’, ‘Reasoning with number’) and can help to fill any gaps in knowledge. The second half of the summer term of Year 9 will consist of a number of small units for teachers to choose from, using their knowledge of their students to focus on the key areas they need to work on as they start the transition into KS4.

Year 10
Our Year 10 and 11 schemes cover the whole of GCSE, which includes a significant overlap with KS3 material. Having missed a proportion of whatever Year 9 scheme schools were following (our own Year 9 was not available during 2019/20), teachers may well need to spend more time on our review steps that revisit KS3/overlap content in some blocks to help students to catch up and move on to new content. Therefore we are confident that starting Year 10 with our scheme will be as least as effective as any other GCSE scheme of work.

Year 11
This will be the most challenging year group, and we await advice from awarding bodies and government as to the expectations of this cohort and their examinations in 2021. Having missed a significant portion of Year 10, moving directly ahead with our Year 11 scheme would be challenging as some topics such as Handling Data are not as well represented in Year 11. When we have more information, we will provide more advice and we are considering producing a one-year only scheme of learning for the 2021 cohort if appropriate.
Whatever the outcome, we will still continue to produce our scheduled Year 11 schemes, together with supporting resources, and would encourage teachers to use our exemplar questions and assessments as and when appropriate to support their teaching.

Will you be providing more guidance?

We are working on our ‘Closing the Gaps’ document and we will continue to monitor the situation. We will do whatever we can to support teachers and students both whilst learning at home and as we transition back to the school environment. If you have any questions or suggestions, please email us at support@whiterosemaths.com using the subject “Curriculum”.

We look forward to continuing to work with you.