Year 11 and Year 13 Exams – Letter to Parents
5th March 2021
I hope that this letter finds you well and that your child is looking forward to returning to school on 15th March.
As I promised that I would keep you updated as soon as we knew more, I am writing today to update you on the recently published plan from The Department for Education (DFE) in relation to GCSE and A Level grades for Summer 2021. The headline announcement did come last week but there has been a frustrating lack of detail, hence my delay in writing to you. We still do not have all the information we need from the exam boards to make final decisions about the best approach, but we are told we should receive this ‘before the Easter break’.
This is essentially what we know so far:
As you are aware, the Government previously announced that GCSE and A Level examination will not go ahead this year and that teacher assessed grades will be awarded instead. These are some relevant extracts from the DFE guidance released last week:
- Students will receive grades awarded and determined by the school, with pupils only assessed on what they have been taught.
- The school will be able to draw on a range of evidence when determining grades, including the optional use of questions provided by exam boards, as well as mock exams, coursework, or any other work completed as part of a pupil’s course, such as essays or in-class tests. No algorithm will be used.
- To support teachers in making their judgements, exam boards will provide detailed guidance before the end of the spring term.
- Students studying vocational and technical qualifications (VTQs) will also receive grades assessed by the school rather than sitting exams.
- Schools will conduct multiple checks – such as checking consistency of judgements across teachers and that the correct processes were followed – to ensure as much fairness as possible.
- At the same time, exam boards will conduct their own checks, through a combination of random sampling and more targeted scrutiny where they identify cause for concern.
- Every student will have the right to appeal their grade.
As stated above in bold, we need to wait for the detailed guidance we are promised on the procedures we will be asked to follow. As soon as we have this I will write to you again to supply you with all the details of how we will generate final GCSE and A Level grades for your sons and daughters. In the meantime, we will continue to ensure that they are doing the most important thing… learning!
Our Subject Leaders and Teachers are working carefully on Year 11 and Year 13 lessons to ensure students are learning the things that will equip them for further progression in these subjects and can be assessed accordingly in the remaining time that we have. Whilst these lessons may include some new course content, it is likely that most of the time will be spent re-visiting previously covered content. By doing this it will allow us to ensure that students are given the very best opportunity possible to demonstrate their understanding of all topics that have been taught.
We are very much looking forward to welcoming students back to school full time from Monday March 15th. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will continue to talk to the students via assemblies and lessons so they feel as at ease as they possibly can given the uncertainty.