Notices and Resources
Update 30 November 2023:
STM English and Media Studies Podcasts: Season 2 Launch
After the well-received Season 1 in the build up to the 2023 examinations, the English and Media Studies departments are back with a second season of revision podcasts to support student revision for their PPE papers and final examinations.
Over the next few months, a wide variety of podcasts will be released to deepen student understanding on a wide variety of topics that could come up in the examinations. In these opening episodes, GCSE English students are presented with an exploration of Tybalt’s characterisation in ‘Romeo and Juliet’, whilst A Level Media Studies students are invited to jump back in time and into the world of ‘Peaky Blinders’.
The podcasts are available through Apple, Spotify, Amazon, Google and Podbean simply by searching for ‘St Thomas More Podcast’ and the best way to keep up to date with new releases is to subscribe so that you never miss an episode.
Mr G Richards has produced a series of revision podcasts for A Level Media Studies students. These can be found on the school podcast site and are also available through various podcast platforms including Apple and Spotify.
Episode 14 – Attitude and Zoella
In the final episode of the series, Mr Richards discussed the importance of audience for both Attitude and Zoella ahead of the Media in the Online Age section of Component 2.
Episode 13 – Woman and Adbusters
Mr Richards takes a look at the magazine section of Component 2 and shares key information about how theories can be used in connection with Woman and Adbusters magazines
Episode 12 – The Bridge
The second Crime Drama is discussed as Mr Richards focuses on the importance of Nordic Noir ‘The Bridge’
Episode 11 – Life on Mars
Mr Richards delves into the world of Crime Drama by discussing BBC’s Life on Mars
Episode 10 – Assassin’s Creed
As we move closer to the final examinations, Mr Richards investigates the key aspects of the Assassin’s Creed franchise for the Component One exam
Episode 9 – Woman’s Hour/Late Night Woman’s Hour
Exploring the importance of radio for the Component One exam, the latest Media Studies podcast looks at the importance of the Woman’s Hour brand and the place it holds within the BBC.
Episode 8 – I, Daniel Blake
In the latest Media Studies podcast, Mr Richards looks at the importance of Ken Loach’s 2016 award winning film ‘I, Daniel Blake’ to consider the important ideas that would be useful for the Component One exam.
Episode 7 – Black Panther
This week’s STM Media Studies podcast takes a look at Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’ to consider the Media Context and Media Industries which went into the making and promotion of the film.
Episode 6 – Newspaper
Mr Richards and special guest Mr Hanna breakdown the importance of The Mirror and The Times within the newspaper industry.
Episode 5 – Riptide
Mr Richards and two Y13 students interrogate the platinum selling song ‘Riptide’ by Vance Joy and the music video
Episode 4 – Beyoncé’s ‘Formation’
In Episode 4 of the STM Media Studies podcast, Mr Richards is joined by two of our Year 13 students to discuss the importance Beyoncé’s ‘Formation’ video and the wider social impact that Beyonce looked to achieve through the release of the song.
Episode 3 – Water Aid
In Episode 3 of the STM Media Studies podcast, the Water Aid charity advertisement from 2016 is analysed by Mr Richards to consider key ideas that can be discussed in the Component One exam.
Episode 2 – Kiss of the Vampire
In the second podcast focused on A Level Media Studies, Mr Richards discusses the promotional film poster for Hammer’s ‘Kiss of the Vampire’ from 1963. He also responds to student questions based on Episode 1’s exploration of ‘Tide’.
Episode 1 – Tide
In the first of a series of revision podcasts for A Level Media Studies, Mr Richards discusses the importance of Procter and Gamble’s Tide advertisement (1950s) to consider how it could be discussed in the Component One exam.
One week to go!
Year 12 PPEs commence Monday 26th June 2023. Students, speak to your form tutor if you have not yet received your exam timetable. Ensure you are clear what tests you are taking when and speak to your subject teachers if you need help with revision. For more information about your exams please visit the Sixth Form Exams and PPEs page.
Year 11 Sixth Form Induction Evening
Students planning to study with us in September 2023 are invited, with their families, to attend our parent and carer induction evening where they can find out more information about the transition from GCSE to A Level study. This evening begins at 4.30pm on 5th July 2023.
Year 11 Sixth Form Induction Days 6th and 7th July
Over these two days students will get to experience their chosen subjects and take part in taster sessions. They will also be given opportunities to get to know their tutor, peers and staff . There will also be a tour of Sixth Form facilities. Attendance to this induction is compulsory for students wishing to join us in September.
Dear Parents/Carers of Year 13,
I am writing to inform you that the final day in school for year 13 students will be Friday 26th May. Students will take part in a leavers’ assembly from 12.15pm and are then free to leave school at 1.15pm. Students will be able to wear their own clothes on this last day. However, students sitting their A Level Accountancy exam that morning must wear full uniform for this, but are welcome to change once this exam has been completed, for their leavers’ assembly.
Please note after this date students will only be required to attend for their external examinations. However, staff are available in school and are always happy to assist students and should a student wish to attend school to revise – this can be arranged. School policy is that students coming into school must wear school uniform and this is also the case when attending to sit examinations.
Results day for students is on Thursday 17th August. Students can collect their results from the assembly hall between the times of 8.30AM until 11.AM. If you are unable to collect your results in person please send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to our Exams Officer Mrs L Dawson and results can then be put into the post. On results day staff will be available to support students with their UCAS applications and next steps.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish your child every success in their forthcoming important examinations and in their future studies and careers.
This week, all year 11 and year 13 students will be given Easter revision timetables to plan and organise their revision over the forthcoming holiday. Evidence suggests that Easter is a crucial time for revision and putting in place effective study methods for reviewing work for external examinations. Please encourage your child to dedicate time over their holidays for this essential work. We have provided links to our revision suggestions and tips which students will be familiar with from school.
“The best GCSE and A-level results don’t go to the cleverest students – they go to those who revised in the Easter holidays.”B Lenon
How to use your revision timetable
A solid revision planner is the key to making sure you cover everything you need to in time for the exam.
It also has the added benefit of breaking everything down into more manageable chunks – revision suddenly feels much less daunting!
A basic revision timetable is essentially a calendar. But instead of holidays and birthdays, it contains topics and subjects you need to revise on specific days. Try to follow these simple stages for completing your calendar
- Divide however long you have until your exams by how many subjects you study.
- Divide all the topics and areas you need to cover accordingly.
- One way to structure a revision timetable is to allocate revision sessions and breaks within certain times, such as 45 minutes of revision followed by a 15 minute break, which is repeated.
- How do I prioritise what I need to revise? Ask yourself what subjects or particular topics within those subjects do you need to spend more time on.
- Regular refreshers. Don’t just cover an area once and move on. If you do this, the material you study first will be a distant memory by the time you come to exams. So fit in time to revisit material among your study timetable.
- Include past papers as part of your revision calendar. Past papers are always a good idea. This is so you can test yourself to check what you are revising is sticking. It also gives you practice with the format of the questions you might be asked.
- Approach subjects differently – Have a varied approach, as certain study methods will suit some subjects better than others. This might depend on how intense the material is, how it will be assessed or simply how you best retain everything.
- Be realistic – Create a revision plan that is going to work for you. If you’re too ambitious with your plan it can be easy to lose heart. Studies show that people are more motivated by achievable goals. Think about what you can stick to and allow rest breaks. Include some relaxation time too – doing something completely different can help information sink in and stop you burning out.
- Expect the unexpected – Timetable some free study blocks each week. Once you get stuck in you may find you need more time on a certain subject or you may have to deal with something outside of your studies. If there’s no flexibility in your plan it can be easy to get behind. Keep some free blocks each week to use as you need to help you stay on track.
- Plan in your revision calendar something to look forward to and focus on once the exams are over.
Download the Easter revision timetable
Other revision resources
You may also find the following resources helpful:
During Tuesday registration time, staff will be sharing revision tips and strategies with their form groups. This morning each form have received a pack of stationary resources, equipment and a revision guide to help them in their preparations for their forthcoming exams. We will share weekly the tips and suggestions on our website and through Show My Homework so that students and Parents/Carers can utilise this information at home when revising independently.
How do I decide what to revise?
Whenever you revise, you are doing one of three things:
- Finding and closing gaps in your knowledge.
- Strengthening fading knowledge in your long-term memory.
- Practising recalling knowledge quickly.
Whichever purpose your revision has, it is important that you focus on the weaknesses within your
knowledge. It is tempting to revise topics you’re already good at. However, if you do this, you waste
valuable revision time and you could get a shock when you don’t do well in exams or assessments.
Before you start revising for a subject, you should decide what you need to focus on.
When deciding what to revise:
- gather information about the topics which you need to revise.
- break subjects and topics down into manageable chunks.
- revise topics which you don’t enjoy or which you find difficult.
- keep a record of the topics you have chosen to revise and the revision you have completed for those topics
- spend more time making lists of what to revise than actually revising.
- write down entire subjects or topics as areas to revise.
- revise topics you enjoy or topics in which you are already successful.
- expect yourself to remember the areas which you need to revise.
How to decide what to revise:
1. Use information from a range of sources to find out where your weaknesses are.
What topics don’t I
enjoy or feel success
What does my teacher
think I need to revise?
What are my weakest
areas from Knowledge
Assessments or home
In which topics or
questions did I
struggle in my last
2. Create a table of topics and subjects on which you need to focus.
3. As you complete revision on these topics, create quizzes for yourself, or self-mark exam practice questions. Fill in your scores. This will allow you to see your success over time.
4. As you become more successful in the areas you have identified, go back to step one. This will allow you identify any gaps in new knowledge or any information which has faded since you made your first list.
Year 13 PPEs (Mock Examinations)
I am writing to thank parents/carers for their support and encouragement of year 13 students during the completion of their mock examinations last week. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all students for their calm and orderly approach to these exams. It was fantastic to see students arrive punctuality, with the appropriate equipment and complete examinations in such a focussed and studious manner.
Over the next few weeks, subject teachers will be giving student’s feedback on their examination papers and suggested ways they can improve their answers and marks in preparation for the final external examination series beginning in May. In form time students will also be completing reflection work, where they can review their overall performance and independent revision and identify strategies and targets to put in place during these final few months of lessons. You can find this information below which you may wish to discuss at home with your child.
A small minority of students were unable to sit examinations due to illness. Please note, during the external examination series, any absences must be supported by a medical note and authorisation. This documentation is then forwarded to the appropriate examination board and ultimately it remains their decision as to whether an exam grade is awarded for that specific assessment. It is therefore imperative for students to attend all external examinations and have medical evidence in the rare and unfortunate case of illness during exam season.
We would very much like to thank you for your continued support as we prepare students for the demands of the coming months and the completion of their A level and BTEC courses. Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of any further support.
Mrs K Chesters
Good luck to those year 13 students who start some of their external examinations today. PPE’s (mocks) for year 13 begin two weeks today. Please ensure your child sees their subject teacher or the sixth form if they require any support for these exams.
I am writing to inform you that year 13 students will undertake Pre Public Examinations (mocks) week commencing the 23rd of January 2023. My intention is to inform you of this early and prior to the Christmas holidays, as we are confident that you will appreciate it is vital for students to be well prepared and spend time ahead of these examinations revising. In addition to this some students will be sitting external vocational examinations on our return in January and the outcomes of these will go towards final grades.
All examinations in January will take place under exam conditions in the hall. They will be conducted in a formal style, to ensure that students are familiar with the procedures for external examinations. This process is also the last opportunity to practice exam skills and technique in timed formal conditions before the external A Level and vocational examinations begin in May.
The results from these mock examinations allow staff to identify current performance and support students in achieving their best possible A Level grades. We will ensure all students leave for the Christmas holidays fully aware of the details regarding which exam papers they are sitting and how long each exam paper will be. Teaching staff have also provided students with more specific details on what they need to revise for each exam and revision techniques pertinent to their subjects. Further details on how to revise and detailed subject specific information can be located on our website.
We would very much like to thank you for your continued support as we prepare students for the demands of the coming months. We appreciate that revising for and sitting exams can be a challenging experience, especially if students are sitting them for the first time. Therefore, it is our intention to provide students with the best ways to organise their time and revision to achieve the results they deserve. You can also find on our website details on how students can manage their anxiety and mental wellbeing during this stressful period.
Please do not hesitate to contact the sixth form team or myself if you have any concerns or queries regarding the January exam session.
Mrs K Chesters