Skip to content ↓

Cirencester Deer Park School

Cirencester Deer Park School

Prev Next

High Achievers' Seminar

On Thursday 14 February 2019, we welcomed over 90 Year 11 pupils and parents to our High Achievers' Seminar.

The key objectives for the evening were set out by Mr Johnson, Head of School, who explained that the purpose of the event was to build a greater understanding of the demands of exams in the core subjects and across the curriculum. Mrs Lillington, Associate Assistant Head and examiner for OCR, introduced pupils to techniques to ensure they can access the high levels of the mark schemes through sharing her experience of being an examiner. This built on a sharply focused presentations by Mrs Davies and Mrs Pennington, Head of English and Maths respectively, on the key skills and attributes needed to achieve at the very top end.

With some of the exams starting in March 2019, Year 11 need to be organised. Time is of the essence.

Top Tips from Maths

  • Memory:  remember formulae; use correct terminology; good diet fuels memory. 
  • Layout: show full explanation of how you arrived at your answer; beware recording multiple methods; make sure your presentation is clear.
  • Misconceptions: check and double check.
  • Concepts within concepts: your depth of understanding and application skills are being tested -  Pythagoras, ratio, percentages, equations etc. pop up throughout the 3 exam papers.
  • Remember the 4 Rs, especially resilience.

Top Tips from English

Read. Read anything. Be interested in the writers' use of language and structure. Build an extensive and ambitious vocabulary. Make sophisticated and accurate use of subject terminology. Use sustained crafting of linguistic devices. Register is convincing and compelling for the audience. High level of accuracy. Use wide range of punctuation with a high level of accuracy. Make judicious use of textual detail. Learn short quotations. Make a list of characters and themes; make a card of key quotations for each; punch holes in the cards and join together. Go beyond the obvious when discussing Literature texts in your exam answers. Analyse how writers’ methods are used. Practise questions in timed conditions; ask your teacher to mark these.

Miss Lillington's Pyramid of Power

Exam technique will make a huge difference and developing these skills allows pupils to access the higher grades. Pupils working at the top levels plan for their success and clearly demonstrate planning in extended answers.  Examiners are looking for breadth and depth in answers.  Knowledge recall is part of the bigger picture and pupils working for higher grades must develop points.

The evening was valued by both pupils and parents. One parent commented "Thank you for an interesting evening. My slightly reluctant Year 11 son was motivated and felt that he could carry the advice forward to improve his perfomance.“

Mr Johnson, Head of School, who hosted the evening, said “This is a fixture in the Deer Park calendar and it supports our pupils who are working at, or have the ambition to gain, the top GCSE grades. Pupils will benefit from the professional advice their teachers are able to give and, if they follow the guidance, can achieve more than they first thought possible.”


Our Teachers are here to help all of our Year 11 pupils - whether it is offering advice, talking through exam techniques, running top up sessions or lectures, providing revision resources or marking practice papers. We advise pupils to take advantage of these opportunities. Mrs Mackew, Year 11 Year Leader, is available in the Pastoral Office if pupils need to talk with someone.

We remind you that the Year 11 Parents' Evening takes place the week we return to school, on Thursday 28 February. This could be the most important Parents' Evening of your child's time at Deer Park; there is still time for them to change their predicted grades, by listening to advice from their teachers, taking advantage of any top up sessions, getting organised and, of course, working hard!