FAQ for Parents and Carers
Key Stage 3 - Years 7/8
If we have difficulty affording new uniform/kit, what funds can be accessed to help us pay?
MCS are able to help families who may not be able to afford some parts of the school uniform. If this applies to you, please see your Director of Learning or alternatively click on this link: Free School Meals & Uniform Grant - Monmouthshire
How do I apply for Free School Meals?
Free School Meals is a means tested service that involves completing a form via the Monmouth County Council website. Please click on the link to access the form: Free School Meals & Uniform Grant - Monmouthshire
Where can I find out about transport for my child to get to and from school?
School transport can be arranged through Monmouth County Council website. Please click on the link to access: Free Home to School transport - Monmouthshire
How are class groups decided?
Following a series of assessments and teacher review, students will be grouped based on similar levels of ability in order that we can maximise progress with appropriate levels of support and challenge. Subject teachers will keep a close eye on all students in the early weeks in particular, to ensure students are settling well into their new groups and if adjustments need to be made, they will do so.
How will my child be assessed?
Your child’s day-to-day progress will be assessed regularly by their teachers in a range of different ways. Feedback can take different forms including teacher marking, verbal feedback in lessons, knowledge quizzes and self or peer assessment. All teachers use a combination of these, choosing the best form as appropriate to the learning. The feedback, whether it is written or verbal, will give students a clear sense of how they can improve, with students responding and making progress as a result.
At the end of units of work or topics, students will be assessed on the overall skills and knowledge they have developed in a range of ways including end of topic tests, practical assessments or projects. Following these assessments, students will have the opportunity to review their work to support further improvement in skills, understanding and approaches. This prepares students for future assessments which cover a wider range of topics or skills across the course or Key Stage. Twice yearly assessment weeks allow students to demonstrate the progress in learning made through a term. This supports all students to also develop the skills required to be successful in future assessments including revision techniques, time management and independence.
How will I know about my child’s progress?
The most immediate way to find out how your child is doing at school, and how they feel about their progress and enjoyment across their programme of learning opportunities, is to ask them directly. Students are best placed to describe the feedback they are receiving, the progress they are making and their performance generally, regarding their day-to-day learning.
Student performance from end of topic assessments and the wider assessments conducted in the bi-annual assessment weeks allow teachers to make judgements of the longer term progress of students through their study of each subject area. Such judgements are communicated to students and directly to parents via Parents’ Evenings, and termly school reports.
Who can I go to for support in school?
There is large wellbeing department in the school that consists of Directors of Learning, Wellbeing Manager, Family Support Worker, Wellbeing Intervention Worker and Pastoral Support Workers. The wellbeing staff, along with your Tutor, can support you with any issues you are experiencing in school.
Key Stage 4 - Years 9/10/11
What do we wear for GCSE PE, Sports Science, and PEA?
For theory lessons, you will be expected to wear your usual MCS uniform However, for days that you have practical sessions, you are able to wear kit that is specifically for GCSE PE, Sport Science or PEA students. This can be purchased at the start of the course and your teachers will give you the details of how to order.
If we have difficulty affording new uniform/kit, what funds can be accessed to help us pay?
MCS are able to help families who may not be able to afford some parts of the school uniform. If this applies to you, please see your Director of Learning.
How much revision should I do in order to achieve good grades? What revision resources/techniques will be shared with us?
Revision schedules and timeframes will vary from student to student. You will have get support with how to organise your time. It is important to have a good balance throughout KS4, rather than ‘cramming’ at the end of your courses or in the run up to an exam. You will cover revision skills and techniques with subject teachers and form tutors throughout KS4. There will also be revision sessions after school that you can access.
Which year groups are allowed into town: KS4 and 5 or just Sixth Form?
Just Key Stage 5 – Sixth Form
When will we choose our options?
The options process will start at the end of January, with an Options Evening that sits alongside Year 9 Parents' Evening. You will then receive a lot of information through IC and Form time to support you in making the right decisions. All options will be chosen by May half-term, in preparation for starting Year Nen, after the half-term break.
When do our options choices become 'fixed'? Is it possible to change options?
You are able to change options early in Year 10. We tend to address any concerns about options on an individual basis. Therefore, no time frame is put on ‘fixing’ options. It is, however, important that students make the correct decision as soon as possible. This is to ensure that no time is wasted and that there isn’t too much work to catch up on.
If you don't take an Option at GCSE, can you still pursue this subject at AS/A2?
Possibly. It will depend on the subject and the entry criteria for the course. However, KS4 courses often give you the fundamental skills and knowledge that will help you to be successful at KS5.
Who is the best person to talk to about my GCSEs?
Your Form Tutor would be the first person to speak to. They know you very well and will be able to offer advice. If you have a specific query about a course or qualification, speak to your subject teacher or Head of Faculty for the subject. You can also speak to your Director of Learning.
When will we sit our GCSE exams?
Some GCSE examinations (or parts of) will be sat at the end of Year 10 – in May or June. However, almost all GCSE examinations will be sat in May or June of Year 11. If you are doing a subject that has an NEA or BTEC assignment, this may be ongoing throughout KS4.
KS5 - Sixth Form
A student perspective.
Q: Why should I choose MCS for my Sixth Form studies?
Entering Sixth Form is a big step in your academic career; it is important to have a Plan A and a Plan B for what you might go on to do after your GCSEs and to research your different pathways options carefully. For the vast majority of our Year 11 students, MCS Sixth Form is their Plan A! Students tell us that the relationships with teachers, the 21st century learning facilities and the fantastic record of academic success, being in the top 15% of schools and college Sixth Forms across the country, are all reasons to study with us.
Q: I have a number of courses that I might like to follow in the Sixth Form. How do I decide which courses to choose?
Think about, are you going to enjoy this subject for the next two years? Read over the course information and consider the different modules involved on the courses. Please also think about the method of assessment. Will it be 100% exam? Will that suit your strengths? Are there courses with coursework modules, to help you demonstrate your full potential, using a different method of assessment?
Is the course something you could see yourself doing in the future? If you want to go to university and study a particular course, are you going to be able to meet the entrance requirements for that university with your potential Sixth Form course choices?
If you are not enjoying a course at the start of Sixth Form, you can change your course. Some students also take four courses for the first term or the first year, to help them figure out exactly what they want to do, if they are unsure.
Q: How easy is it to join MCS Sixth Form from another school?
It is straightforward to apply and join from another school for the start of Year 12. Within the first few weeks new students feel settled and have opportunities to meet new people and make friends. You make new friends in your form group starting from the very first day, which is Year 12 Induction Day. You should not feel daunted about coming from another school, there are lots of ways to make new bonds with people and establish friendships that can last beyond Sixth Form!
Please see the Sixth Form website for details about how to apply to our Sixth Form.
Q: How different is being a student in Sixth Form, compared to Years 10 and 11?
There is a very noticeable difference. You have so much more freedom and different facilities that students have access to, for example the Learning Resource Centre and the Sixth Form cafe. You also have much more responsibility. Relationships with teachers are different to what you have experienced lower down in the school. You see your teachers more often than you did for GCSEs; they get to know you even better and can support you even more.
Q: How will I be supported to be happy and successful at MCS Sixth Form?
It is important that to be successful, you are happy. From the very first day, your Form Tutor will get to know you quickly as a learner, what your strengths are, what area of development you need to focus on to make progress. Your teachers will support you, so you can take the lead in your learning. You will set your own targets for yourself, in conjunction with your teachers. Through Year 12 and Year 13, there are regular reports where you can reflect on your course progress and plan for further improvement and success. We can help you achieve the results that you are looking to achieve!
If you have any further questions, please get in contact with the Sixth Form office at MCS and we will be happy to help you.