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Year 11 Letter

Harvey Waller - Friday, January 22, 2021

The purpose of this letter is to give you an update on the current situation regarding your child’s courses. The government, qualifications authorities and examination boards are expected to give us much more detail in a few weeks time.

However, we have some initial plans and feel that we need to move forward with these to give your child every opportunity to succeed. Here are some answers to some questions you might be asking.

Will my child sit any examinations this summer?
The traditional examination season during May/June has been cancelled. There will be no written papers for GCSEs. In some vocational subjects, including BTECs, there may well be the need for some examinations to continue.

Will my child need to continue with their coursework?
The general answer to this is yes. Most academic subjects do not have coursework, but with vocational subjects your child’s coursework could prove crucial for their final grade. We are awaiting further guidance on practical subjects such as Art, Design and Technology, Food Preparation and Nutrition, Performance Arts and Skills and we will contact you about these when we know what is happening.

Will my child have time to finish their course?
Different areas, schools, and students have been affected by the pandemic to varying degrees. It appears that the government has accepted that many students will not complete 100% of their course. Assuming this is the case we expect that your child will not be assessed on 100% of the course.

How will my child be awarded a grade?
Teachers will assess your child over the coming months leading to a Teacher Assessed Grade. Schools will be expected to have a process to check these grades to ensure fairness across all students. Students will need to provide a portfolio of evidence to show what they can achieve. Whilst teachers will be able to use previous evidence, it is essential that your child works hard between now and the summer to build up their portfolio of evidence.

How will my child provide a portfolio of evidence?
The work your child is completing right now will help your child's teacher assess their level. However, given the disruption to learning since March 2020 we want to create some assessment points over the coming months. Your child will receive remote teaching in the build up to these assessments to give them every chance to do well. We hope that there will be around four assessment points between now and the summer.

What will these assessments look like?
The assessments look different for various subjects. In the academic subjects there will obviously be an emphasis on written work. Your child’s teachers will prepare your child for these assessments. They will not be completed like a cold mock exam, so your child will know what to do well in advance. Unless schools re-open for all children it is highly likely that your child will complete at least some of these assessments at home. The government has discussed some externally produced assessments and we may decide or be expected to use these as well. Where a student is entitled to extra support we will provide this.

When will these assessments take place?
The plan for our first set of assessments is as follows:
Week beginning Monday 8th February: English, Mathematics and Science.
Week beginning Monday 22nd February: Computer Science, Geography, History, French and Spanish.
Week beginning Monday 1st March: all other subjects.
We will send a more detailed timetable out before the end of next week. It is likely we will have a second assessment point before Easter.

What happens if my child does not complete these assessments?
If a student simply refuses to engage in the process they will lack the evidence we need to award a grade. Schools will be unable to, nor should they, award a grade for free! If you are struggling to motivate your child at home please contact Mrs Jenkins as a matter of urgency. If a child is ill for one assessment point they will have other opportunities to complete that assessment or further assessments.

When will I know the grade my child is on track to achieve?
In some vocational subjects your child may well have completed certain units and be aware of a grade. However, given the disruption to learning it is difficult for teachers to accurately assess your child’s final grade at this stage, particularly for exam based GCSEs. Do not rely on previous assessments and reports as an indication of what your child will ultimately achieve. Once we have completed some further assessments we will have a better idea. This is likely to be after Easter. We understand that both you and your child will be keen to have an indication of their grades but we ask you to be patient.

When will my child receive their results?
The current suggestion from the government is that students will receive their results in early July. This will allow plenty of time for appeals.

What is the most important message I need to give to my child?
Their courses are far from over so they need to produce work to the best of their ability between now and July.

Rest assured that we will continue to write to you as further guidance is released and our plans evolve.

Take care and stay safe.

Yours sincerely,

Darren Warner-Swann
Head of School

Click here for the letter version