Dear Parent or Carer,
I hope that you and your families are safe and well at this time.
I am writing to you to give you an update on where we are with the awarding of A Level and GCSE results in August 2021.
Following the announcement by the Prime Minister and the statement in the House of Commons by the Education Secretary, Ofqual made the following announcement last week.
We know that this is a difficult time for students, their parents and carers, teachers and trainers. Our message to students is this: please continue to engage as fully as you can in your education. That will be online for the majority of students, or face-to-face for those students still going in to their school, college or training provider. This will put you in the best position, whatever arrangements are made for your qualifications. It’s important that teachers and students can focus on the knowledge and skills needed to equip students to progress to the next stage, whatever form that might take – whether to college, an apprenticeship, university or employment.
The way ahead is not straightforward: exams and standardised assessments are the fairest way of determining what a student knows and can do. We need to consider a wide range of qualifications – from A levels and GCSEs to many different vocational and technical qualifications – and the solution won’t be the same for all. Following the government’s announcement on Monday evening, we also need to consider how alternative arrangements will work for different students, including those who are independent learners. We are discussing alternative arrangements with the Department for Education. We know that many are seeking clarity as soon as possible. We will provide further updates as soon as we can.
What is clear from the Ofqual announcement is that it is vital that students continue to engage with their studies, ensuring they attend all Google Meet lessons and complete all assignments set by teachers via Google Classroom, this will mean they will be as prepared as they can be for any alternative assessment arrangements that will be put in place by exam boards. Teachers will ensure that all exam board specifications will be taught as in any normal year. To ensure that both students and staff are informed on the progress of students, regular online assessment will take place via Google Classrooms. Traditionally we collect predicted grades for students at the end of this half term. A predicted grade is a future focused professional judgment taking into account both current attainment and student potential. As the summer exams are now no longer taking place in their usual format, we are going to make some changes to what we report home in terms of student progress. We will be reporting “Current Working at Grades” which will inform students of the grade they are currently attaining in the most recent assessments this half term. (For Year 11 this will be any assessments taken after the trial exams last half term). The February grade will give a limited snapshot of current attainment. This will enable students to know where they are and what they need to do to improve.
As Ms Cochrane stated in her letter of 5th January, we are very confident that we have the processes in place to support students, to make progress to their next phase of education. The UCAS and 6th Form applications process will continue, and we will still support students to make the right choices for their future education.
When we get more definitive advice from Ofqual and Exam Boards regarding the exact nature of the alternative arrangements, we will digest it and contextualise it for you and all our students. By doing this, we hope to keep you informed over this period. Whatever the alternative arrangements look like you can be sure that the school will do its utmost to ensure students are in the best position for their next steps from August 2021.
With very best wishes,
Dr R Johnson
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