Dear parents/carers and year 11 student,
Re: Year 11 – Welcome back and next steps…
We have been delighted to welcome back all of our year 11 students this week; it has been a long wait for us all! We thank you again for all the support you have given with their school work throughout this time.
The purpose of this letter is to update you, following the information we shared with year 11 students on Monday 8th March. We are sharing with you what we know and also those aspects we still await further DFE/Ofqual information on in relation to the plan for year 11 from this point forward. As you know we remain committed to giving each and every year 11 the best support we can pastorally and also enable them to put themselves in the best possible position in relation to their GCSE grades.
The grade schools/teachers are being told to put forward will be based on the attainment they individually, in each of their GCSE subjects, show their teacher/the school that they are capable of (as evidenced in their work). Projected grades are now no longer valid as they relate to a model where students would be completing a full suite of external GCSE exams; hence please disregard this information from your child’s last report. However the current working grade (as recorded on your child’s January report and based on their mock exam result) will be a key piece of evidence. Unlike a number of other schools we were able, with the fantastic engagement from so many of our year 11 students, to complete a full set of mock exams pre-Christmas. This has given us a clear, consistent and reliable starting point for assessing each student’s final working grade in each GCSE ready to be put forward to the exam boards in the summer.
To clarify the current position and year 11 plan further we are providing below answers to a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Please take the time to read through these with your son/daughter. Whilst we have provided as much detail as we can at this point please also be minded that much of the information remains provisional and could change. If you do then have any further questions after reading these and the letter above please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Q. What will be used from now on by teachers to decide on my grade?
We are aware that the current year 11 didn’t have the opportunity (due to lockdown) to complete formal year 10 exams. However we do have a complete set of mock grades for students in their GCSE subjects. To add to this data and ensure that every student has the opportunity, in each subject they study, to demonstrate even higher levels of attainment we are planning a further assessment in each subject.
The next assessment (not a full exam paper) will be in English Literature which is scheduled for the end of this term. Please do not worry, your English teachers will be preparing you from now onwards for this.
After this we have planned in a set of assessments (and improvement opportunities in some practical subjects) in the weeks commencing 10th and 17th May. Every single assessment is aimed at providing further evidence so that teachers can put forward the most accurate current grade possible for each and every student. This will be supported by a range of other information we already have in relation to each student as they have progressed through their GCSE courses.
Remember the grades put forward are the grades that you show us you are capable of achieving. The focus for every student is therefore to show to us their best possible standards and quality of work from now onwards.
Q. Why can’t you just take/put forward my mock grades (current or projections)?
Whilst the mock grades you achieved will contribute to the overall grade that we put forward the guidance is clear that schools are expected to consider more than just this single result. Please be aware that your final grade could change (go up or, in a minority of cases, potentially drop) from the grade on your last report.
In relation to projections teachers are not being asked to project subject grades. Teachers are being asked to put forward grades based on a range of evidence; projections made on historic reports are therefore no longer valid/usable. All grades will be subject to moderation processes to ensure that they are fair and objective for all students.
Q. Is there time to improve my grade in subjects?
Yes, absolutely. All subject areas will give further assessment opportunities to students as we want them to have the best possible chance to show us their best work before we submit final grades. The timeline above outlines key assessment points. All students are expected to work as hard as they can, by doing this they will put themselves in the best possible position. If a student were to choose to disengage (fail to attend/fail to work hard/fail to complete subsequent assessments) it is likely that their grade would suffer relative to their peers; this is something we sincerely hope won’t happen.
Q. Will we finish the full exam course when we come back to school?
This varies subject to subject. Our aim is not to teach any new material after the end of this term thus allowing time after Easter for revision and recapping before students take their final subject-based assessments.
Q. When will year 11 finish in the summer?
We are waiting for Department of Education guidance on this but are already considering if it will be practical/possible to do some optional post-16 preparation sessions in certain subjects in their last few weeks.
Q. Will I be given my final grades in June ?
We are, at this stage, planning to provide an end of year report to you with key information on it. We will have to wait for further guidance in relation to what we can/can’t share with you and what you will need to wait for result’s day to receive. What we do know is that results day for GCSEs is moved forward and will be on Thursday 12th August 2021.
Q. Will the Summer Ball happen this year?
We don’t know. We have a date booked but until we are clearer on what we are/are not allowed to do we cannot make any clear decision. We must follow government guidelines and local area restrictions. We have a provisional date booked on Thursday 24th June, however we would advise against making any firm arrangements/purchases at this time due to the significant uncertainty around what national restrictions will be in place regarding large and indoor gatherings.
Q. What about core PE and SME lessons?
Your full curriculum, like in every other year, will continue. PE is proven to be good for your physical and mental health and SME too supports wellbeing, personal development and transitions to 6th form/college.
Q. I didn’t work as hard as I should have in my remote lessons, will this have big effects on my grades?
We are planning to recap and reteach some of the content covered during remote teaching and learning. Our key focus (and your key focus should be) on revising well and getting you as prepared as you can be for your final subject based assessments in the summer term. You are a super year group and we will do all that we can to support you; we look forward to working with parents/carers and students over the remainder of this year.
Head of School