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’.

This course explores Ofsted’ recommendations in detail and offers help and advice on how to lead an effective Key Stage 3 in order to ensure that no time in a child’s education is wasted but instead is fruitful, enjoyable and rewarding.

During the day, delegates will focus on how Key Stage 3 can be made a higher priority in all aspects of school planning, monitoring and evaluation including improving transition between KS2 and 3 with better cross-phrase partnerships, designing a broad, balanced and high quality curriculum, ensuring systems and procedures of assessing and monitoring progress are robust and effective, ensuring homework helps pupils to make good progress, and establishing literacy and numeracy strategies which ensure pupils build on their prior attainment.


  • 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
COURSE DATE In-school only
  • Head teachers and senior leaders
  • Leaders with curriculum, department, teaching and learning, pastoral, transition responsibilities
  • Teachers of KS3 / KS3 co-ordinators
  • It is also suitable for Primary School leaders and those responsible for cross-phase transition
IN-SCHOOL You can also book this as an In-School Course
  • A specially prepared folder of 50+ pages full of detailed notes, practical advice and guidance
  • Notes prepared by the educational experts leading the course
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance
  • Two course restaurant lunch
  • Refreshments throughout the day
  • Guaranteed high quality venues



10.00 – 10.30am: KS3: The Wasted Years? Leading an effective KS3

  • Introductions
  • A starter activity
  • A summary of the Ofsted report
  • Establishing a clear rationale for KS3 within your school
  • Ending the vicious cycle: giving KS3 the status it deserves

10.30 – 11.30am: Building a better transition process

  • Exploring why average progress drops between KS2-3 for reading, writing and maths (Galton 1999 and DfE 2011 data)
  • How effects of transition are amplified by risk factors such as poverty and ethnicity due to insufficient primary and secondary communication
  • How do we improve transition between Key stages 2 and 3?
  • Analysis of the components of effective cross-phase partnerships
  • What can we do to improve the transitions between years in KS3?
  • Practical strategies to avoid the ‘year 8 dip’

11.30 – 11.45am: Discussion: coffee break


11.45 – 12.45pm: Developing a challenging, engaging and unique curriculum

  • KS3 as the springboard to GCSE success
  • The importance of appropriate staffing for Key Stage 3 lessons
  • Striking the right balance – providing a grounding for KS4 whilst creating an engaging and unique curriculum
  • Taking advantage of the freedom – Exploring the principles of project-based learning to develop metacognition and self-regulation skills
  • Practical ways to ensure greater continuity between KS2 & 3 for challenge and engagement

12.45 – 1.30pm: Lunch and informal discussion


1.30 – 2.30pm: Using homework to practice learning and impact progress

  • Examining the homework effect size – behind the headline figures of 0.26
  • The real effect of homework on pupil outcomes
  • Exploring how homework can provide a real audience, purpose and context and enable pupil’s to practice their learning
  • Practical ideas to ensure the most impact on pupil progress
  • Ensuring the effectiveness of homework – time, frequency and monitoring

2.30 – 2.45pm: Discussion: afternoon tea


2.45 – 3.45pm: Establishing more robust assessment

  • The truth about the attainment gap and poverty
  • Examining the neglect of KS3 and the need for remedial action at KS4
  • How to effectively monitor every pupil’s progress
  • How to ensure interventions are timely, effective and seek to close the gaps in the performance of different groups of pupils
  • Examining how to make the best use of Pupil Premium funding to close the gap

3.45 – 4.00pm: Establishing more robust assessment

Matt Bromley

Matt is an education journalist and author with over eighteen years’ experience in teaching and leadership.  He also works as a consultant, speaker, and trainer and regularly speaks at national and international conferences and events.

Between 2013 and 2016 he was the Group Director of Teaching and Learning for a large further education college and multi-academy trust and was responsible for improving the quality of teaching of c30,000 students.  During his tenure the Ofsted judgment for further education provision improved from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘good’ with outstanding features, teacher training provision was graded ‘outstanding’, higher education provision was ‘commended’ by the QAA, and exam results placed the college within the top 20th percentile in the country.  Matt was also a sponsor and governor of the trust’s secondary academy which, during this tenure, achieved the best GCSE results in its history. As part of his role, Matt was also the Principal Designate of a Studio School during its pre-opening phase.