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The School Day

The Undershaw School Day is one of the ways we tailor our provision to suit our students. We want to ensure they are getting the very best from their education and are able to embark upon their study in a calm and happy manner. We actively seek out opportunities to minimise transition so we are not rushing through our day. Our logistics are carefully planned and we work tirelessly to evoke a culture of calm for our students and staff at every opportunity.


Undershaw lesson blocks are longer than they are at other schools for a number of reasons. We believe our learners gain a more immersive experience and can enjoy a deeper level of understanding when staff can guide them through the theoretical and practical aspects in a less time-pressured and more flexible manner.

08:15 – Breakfast Club
08:30 – Drop Off from this time onwards
08:45 – Form rooms open
09:00 – Form Time and Registration
09:15 – 09:20 – Transition to Lesson 1
09:20 – 10:40 – Lesson 1
10:40 – 11:00 – Break
11:00 – 12:20 – Lesson 2
12:20 – 13:00 – Lunchtime
13:00 – 13:15 – Form Time and DEAR (‘Drop Everything And Read’)
13:15 – 13:20 – Transition to Lesson 3
13:20 – 14:40 – Lesson 3
14:40 – 14:50 – End of Day Form Time
14:50 – 15:05 – Departures
15:00 – 16:00 – Homework Club


Homework at Undershaw

We have a bespoke homework system which meets the needs of our individual students. Students can opt to complete compulsory homework or choose not to some or all of the homework set. Many of our students choose to complete some homework through key stage 2 and 3, increasing this in key stage 4 (year 10) when the courses which lead to qualifications begin.

Key Stage 2 Homework

In key stage 2, our students can choose to complete one homework activity a week from a range of suggestions that are relevant to the current thematic learning topic. Here is an example of a Key Stage 2 homework choice grid.

In key stage 2, students are encouraged to read daily as part of their homework, and we use the online programme ‘Mathletics’ for weekly numeracy homework. Students are set no more than two tasks at a time to complete – there is always the opportunity to complete more if they would like!

Key Stage 3 Homework

Homework is set for all subjects in key stage 3 according to the timetables (below) and students can opt to complete none, some or all of the tasks set each week. Often, students choose one or two subjects to start with and then increase the amount that they are doing over key stage 3.

Seneca, Hegarty, Mathletics and Lexia are all online platforms that are used by teachers to set appropriate homework which supports students in learning and embedding the knowledge and skills that they learn through key stage 3 so that they are fluent and confident in when they start formal qualification pathways leading to GCSE/BTECs in year 10. Students often engage well with homework that is set on an online platform, and teachers can easily track progress and set appropriate tasks for the individual student, based on their progress over time.

Key Stage 4 and Post 16 Homework

Whilst homework remains optional in years 10, 11 and post 16, it is recommended that students do engage in completing more work at home when they start GCSE/BTEC study. We continue to use a range of online platforms which are designed for students to learn and recall the key knowledge that they need for the GCSE and BTEC specifications. In some subjects, the homework may contribute towards a portfolio of practical work, for example, practising a piece of music for a GCSE performance or taking photographs for an art portfolio. When students are approaching exam periods, the homework will include revision, much of which will be done using the appropriate online platform to support revision and testing using exam-style questions to help the students to prepare for their exams.

Recording homework

Students at Undershaw are given a homework diary and are expected to record homework when it is set, with support from the TA and class teacher. Key stage 2 teachers will email the homework tasks home so that parents can see what the tasks are.

Parents are encouraged to look at the tasks set on Hegarty, Seneca, Mathletics, Lexia, and any other online platforms that are used with their child. Students develop independence by using their own accounts to log-in to these platforms and are often keen to share their progress with others are home.

To support the communication of homework between school and home, we are trialling the use of Assignments in Teams to set homework in the summer term 2022. This will initially be in humanities and computing until May half term and then we will seek feedback from students and parents. For support to access Assignments at home, please see our help sheet.

Homework Timetables 2021/2022

Year 7
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday
Arts Maths Computing Performing Arts
7.1 science Humanities English
7.2 science
Year 8
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday
Arts Maths Computing Performing Arts
8.1 science English 8.2 science Humanities


Year 9 – 9.1

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday
Subject 1 Science Humanities Maths English
Subject 2 Computing Arts
Year 9 – 9.2
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday
Subject 1 Humanities Science Media Arts
Subject 2 Maths Computing English


Year 10

Monday   Tuesday   Wednesday   Thursday   Friday  
Maths Option A English Science Option B


Due to the size of the current Year 11 and Post 16 cohorts, students have an individual homework timetable in 21-22.

The School Week

In addition to our innovative school day structure, we also format our weeks differently. This means we can incorporate the very best of the array of learning environments we have available to us. Firstly we have our idyllic campus with a plethora of specialist areas, our Arts and Media Centre, hydrotherapy pool and Forest School, to name a few. We also have a wealth of opportunities offsite and we take delight in immersing ourselves in our Discovery Days every Friday.

Enrichment Options
Parent Testimonials

I absolutely have my trust in the leadership team, the wonderful staff and the vision for the school going forward.

Current parent

The emotional support and advice has been wonderful

Year 4 parent

I’m thrilled both my children get to reap the benefits of such a high quality education

Year 4 parent

She’s made friends and really looks forward to coming to school.

Post 16 parent

Our daughter commented to me after her first day that the difference in atmosphere was enormous.

Post 16 parent

Whilst supporting the students with such a fantastic provision, we have certainly felt encouraged as parents too

Year 4 parent

J has felt able to put her trust in the school from her very first day.

Post 16 parent

At all times our family felt supported.

Post 16 parent

E has many years ahead of him at Undershaw and I am excited about the opportunities he is going to get.

Year 4 parent

Eliminating the impossible