Making KS3 Count: How to improve pupil progress in Years 7, 8 and 9

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Download a free ‘Pupil Passport’ booklet

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Download the glossary of grammatical terms taught in primary school – ensure you use the same language of learning at Key Stage 3

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Book on training courses related to this book:


From Keynote Educational:

Visit Keynote’s website for full details and to book

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More information:

Dates and venues now booking:


Thu 10th Nov 2016

Mon 3rd Apr 2017


Tue 17th Jan 2017

Course brief:

This course addresses the key concerns in the Ofsted report ‘Key Stage 3: The Wasted Years’ and how senior leaders can ensure the answer to the question that forms the title is a firm ‘no’.

  • Know how to prioritise Key Stage 3 in all aspects of school planning, monitoring and evaluation
  • Ensure a broad, balanced and high quality curriculum offer which prepares students for the challenges of KS4 & 5
  • Improve transition from KS2 with better cross-phase partnerships to ensure an academic focus which builds on prior knowledge and skills
  • Create robust systems and procedures for assessing and monitoring pupils’ progress at KS3
  • Gain strategies to close the achievement gap of disadvantaged pupils, including the most able
  • Develop highly effective literacy and numeracy strategies

From Creative Education:

Visit Creative’s website for full details and to book.

Dates and venues now booking:

Fri 3rd Feb 2017

Fri 19th May 2017

Fri 17th Mar 2017

Mon 19th Jun 2017

Mon 27th Mar 2017

Wed 12th Jul 2017

Wed 1st Mar 2017

Thu 11th May 2017

Tue 10th Jan 2017

Suitable for: All teachers with whole-school curriculum, teaching and learning, and pastoral responsibilities. Also suitable for schools working in cross-phase partnerships, it is also suitable for primary school leaders, teachers responsible for transition, and Year 6 teachers.

According to Ofsted, the quality of teaching, and pupils’ progress and achievement in Years 7, 8 and 9 are not good enough. These weaknesses, they say, reflect a general lack of priority given to Key Stage 3 by many school leaders.

This course offers help and advice on how to lead Years 7, 8 and 9 in order to ensure that the 3 years of a child’s education that constitute Key Stage 3 do not prove to be time wasted during which the attainment gap is allowed to widen but are – instead – fruitful, enjoyable and rewarding.

  • Make Key Stage 3 a higher priority in all aspects of school planning, monitoring and evaluation
  • Ensure the curriculum offer at Key Stage 3 is broad and balanced
  • Improve transition from Key Stage 2 to 3 so that it focuses as much on pupils’ academic needs as it does on their pastoral needs
  • Make sure systems and procedures for assessing and monitoring pupils’ progress in Key Stage 3 are robust
  • Ensure homework helps pupils to make good progress; and develop literacy and numeracy strategies that ensure pupils build on their prior attainment in Key Stage 2 in these crucial areas

From Osiris Educational:

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Dates and venues now booking:


4th May 2017


16th May 2017


Enquire about having this training delivered at your school:

Read extracts from the book:

[Hyperlinks will appear when extracts are available to read]

Part 1:            Introduction

Chapter 1:      The Wasted Years?

Part 2:           Transition

Chapter 2:      Year 6 to 7 transition (see edited extract as serialised in Headteacher Update magazine)

Chapter 3:      Avoiding the Year 8 ‘dip’ (see edited extract as serialised in SecEd magazine)

Chapter 4:      Cross-phase partnerships (see edited extract as serialised in SecEd magazine)

Part 3:           Curriculum

Chapter 5:      Curriculum collaboration

Chapter 6:      Cooperative learning

Chapter 7:      The conditions for learning

Bonus:            What motivates students?

Part 4:           Homework

Chapter 8:      Homework (see edited extract as serialised in SecEd magazine)

Bonus:            What are the habits of academic success?

Part 5:            Assessment

Chapter 9:      Assessment

Chapter 10:    The Pupil Premium

Chapter 11:     Literacy and numeracy

Part 6:           Conclusion

Chapter 12:    Conclusion

Bibliography and suggested reading

The IQ Myth

About the author

Also by the author

About Autus Education

Read press related to this book:

Read Matt’s column for SecEd magazine on avoiding the Year 8 ‘dip’:


Read Matt’s column for SecEd magazine on cross-phase partnerships between primary and secondary schools:


Read Matt’s column for SecEd magazine on Year 6 to 7 transition:


Read Matt’s column for SecEd magazine on setting effective homework at Key Stage 3:


Read Matt’s column for SecEd magazine on making effective use of Pupil Premium funding at Key Stage 3:

Read Matt’s column for SecEd magazine on assessment at Key Stage 3:

Read Matt’s column for Headteacher Update magazine on ensuring a smooth transition from Year 6 to 7:


Related stories in the news

From BBC News, 28 September 2016:

Is homework worth the hassle?

homework arguments

Homework can be a nightmare – for the parents.

You know that sinking feeling. It’s late in the evening and you’ve caught the glint in the eye of the wine bottle in the fridge.

And then you get the call. “Can you help with this homework?”

Before you even start a long night of history or incomprehensible maths, there’s just about time for an argument about why they didn’t ask three hours earlier.

It’s almost impossible to resist the urge to go into parental irony mode. And that’s really going to irritate them even more.

How did they find time to take enough Snapchat pictures to fill the National Portrait Gallery but couldn’t manage to start their homework?

Then when you think it’s all over, it gets even worse. Somewhere deep into the night, you hear the final stage of the homework trauma.

“There’s no ink in the printer.”

But is there any point to it all?

Continue reading this story on the BBC’s website:

From BBC News, 27 September 2016:

 Colchester high school abolishes ‘traditional’ homework

Philip Morant School and College

A high school has scrapped traditional homework in favour of a more “independent” approach to learning.

Philip Morant School and College in Colchester has told pupils and parents that they will no longer set homework and will instead select their own “appropriate” tasks.

The new scheme is optional but there will be rewards for completed tasks.

It said it believes the new approach will give pupils “greater responsibility for their own learning”.

The school has called the new approach ‘Prove It+’ at Key Stage 3 & 4 and Independent Study Tasks at Stage 5.

Continue reading this story on the BBC’s website:

From BBC News, 16 September 2016:

Teenage hormones ‘turn pupils off school for three years’

Child hand up

Adolescence and boredom can turn pupils off learning for three years in early secondary school, suggests a study.

The overwhelming majority of pupils start secondary school with “initial enthusiasm” but this wanes during the first two years, figures suggest.

The proportion who “feel good about school” falls 10 percentage points to 84% between ages seven and 14, suggests a GL Assessment poll of 32,000 pupils.

Head teachers’ leaders said schools were working hard to address the issue.


“While a whole host of factors come into play at this point in a child’s development – hormones, friendships, growing up, taking control – the transition to secondary school marks a significant change for students and it is at this point that we begin to see a change in their attitudes,” say the authors.

This decline is important because a positive attitude to learning is crucial to attainment, they argue.

The effect is long recognised by experts – last year, an Ofsted report into the early years of secondary was entitled “The Wasted Years”.

The new report suggests pupils’ difficulties in coping with a larger school, up to 10 different subject teachers and a more complex curriculum, can last well into Year Nine – the third year of secondary school.

The survey, carried out in the year to April 2016, among 31,873 primary and secondary pupils in England and Wales, found most of the fall in positive attitudes happened after Year Seven.

Year Three Year Six Year Seven Year Eight Year Nine
I feel good about school 94% 93% 91% 86% 84%
Positive attitude to teachers 93% 92% 90% 86% 84%
Positive attitude to school attendance 90% 89% 89% 84% 82%

And a third (32%) of Year Nine pupils said they were bored at school, compared with 19% of Year Threes.

Continue reading this story on the BBC’s website:

From the TES, 16 September 2016:

Students’ attitudes towards secondary school decline for several years

secondary pupils attitudes decline
Settling-in after transition from primary may take longer than thought, says new report

Children’s confidence and attitudes towards learning decline more during the first few years of secondary school than during the transition from primary to secondary, major new research has revealed.

While the potential pitfalls of moving from primary to secondary are well documented, the study of more than 31,000 children has found that pupils’ attitudes to school not only decline in Year 7 but fall much more steeply when they progress to Year 8.

The report Pupil Attitudes to Self and School, from test providers GL Assessment, highlights how the biggest decline in pupils’ attitudes towards school occurs after Year 7 and suggests that this may indicate lingering problems from the shift to secondary school.

“The decrease in positive attitudes is just as great, if not greater, between Years 7 and 8 as it is between Years 6 and 7,” the report states. “The implications are clear: ‘transition’ lasts a lot longer than one or two terms in Year 7.”

Continue reading this story on the TES’s website (£):


This webpage and related content has been produced and published with the support and permission of Autus Books UK, a part of the Autus Group of companies. All rights reserved. (C) Bromley Education 2016.