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You will be aware that the system for determining student grades has been changed this year due to COVID 19 and the variable impact it has had on students’ provision across England. The results of the consultation have been gathered and the DFE and Ofqual have confirmed how the process will be implemented in schools.

Exam grading this summer Guidance has now been released from Ofqual and the Department for Education about how exam grades will be awarded this year.

There is a lot of detail to absorb, and further information on timings and resources to support schools with the mechanics of grading will be released by the exam boards later this term. In the meantime we will work with our students to ensure the course content required has been covered and the depth and breadth of their curriculum experience will be maintained. We are mindful this is needed to support the transition to the next step of education whether this be a sixth form or university or FE.

This is therefore just an initial outline of our approach. In general, grades will be awarded as we anticipated, based on the professional judgement of teachers and a range of evidence of a student’s capabilities. This judgement will come from a range of sources, across the whole of this academic year, although we are still waiting for further detail on the balance we need to apply when grading different elements and outcomes of students’ work.

An important point is that there is not just one thing that dictates the grade. This means that a single very good or very disappointing piece of work does not mean that a student will be awarded that grade: this piece of work will provide just one piece of evidence. Students, therefore, need to understand this is not yet a complete journey and further evidence of their understanding of the curriculum content as well as the opportunity to improve is expected. We will test this through a range of assessment opportunities which will vary according to the subject studies. Please note assessments are not exams but they are an opportunity for your child to demonstrate their capabilities and add to the overall evidence base for staff to use.

Students will be supported in lessons and there will be future assessments taking place from 15 March 2021 and Year 11 teachers will give students as much warning as possible about both the content and the style of the assessments. These assessments will take place in class rather than in the exam hall and will support teachers by providing another form of evidence for the Teacher assessed grades.

The week commencing the 29 March 2021

Students studying practical subjects will also have the opportunity to complete further assessments within these subjects. This is to allow students in different circumstances to have access to equipment and resources to add to their evidence base supported by our specialist staff.  When students are asked to complete these assessments it is essential that they complete them to the best of their ability and approach them with a ‘can do’ mind-set.

The week beginning 10 May and 17 May

Students will complete assessments in the sports hall to show their capabilities and understanding of course content. We will release more information regarding this before Easter but aim to let students sit assessments in known topics on a given timetable. Teachers will support the students to make sure they make the most of the opportunities offered and students should make sure they have taken the time to use the support provided.

Results and awarding of grades.

Teacher-assessed Grades need to be submitted to exam boards by June 18. A-Level results will be released on August 10 and GCSE results will be released on August 12.

There will be some form of moderation by the exam board, and students will have the right to appeal a grade they think is unfair. There is a lot of detail that has still not been released on how both of these things will work. So do look out for further information.

In summary.

  • Your child has not yet completed their studies; they have further content and additional depth to add to their curriculum understanding before any judgements can be made on their progress.
  • Normal lessons and expectations of students to participate in lessons and studies that offer ambition and challenge will continue.
  • Grades will not be awarded on one bright spot or the highest grade they ever received. Students and teachers will be expected to show that the evidence base reflects the students capabilities across a range of evidence.
  • Students will need to work proactively with staff to assist us in collecting evidence and to support you, we all need to demonstrate a ‘can do’ approach.
  • Everyone can improve and that should be a shared aim of both students and staff, parents will need to support their child by reinforcing this belief and be supportive of any additional work required by staff.
  • We will continue to support your child with career provision and encourage those that can and wish to continue their studies within the sixth form offering transition activities later on in the summer.

These are difficult times for our students’ and for you as parents, we understand that many of you will be anxious.  I hope this letter reassures you that by working together, staff, students and parents we will be able to demonstrate your child’s potential and reflect their effort and ambition.

If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact us.

Ms C O’Brien

Deputy Headteacher