WEEK 35 - Friday 25 June 2021
I would like to use my blog this week to provide you with an insight into the processes taking place in school at the moment to ensure that students in Year 11 and 13 receive grades in the summer, in the absence of final exams.
Once the final decision was taken by the Secretary of State that exams would not be running, there was a long period of time before we were informed of what the alternative would be.
When that decision was made in the Spring, we then set about putting together our own in-school plan. This meant that we began to pull together all of the accumulated evidence that we had on each of our 180 students in Year 11 and 48 in Year 13, across all of their subjects. This gave us a start point from which we then planned a number of further assessments that would be carried out in school to ensure that all students had the opportunity to show what they had learned and what they could do.
These first assessments took place in March and the second assessments in May. These assessments were drawn in the main from past examination papers, although teachers have had to ensure that all of the content was suitable and had been fully taught across the various lockdowns. Once the students completed those assessments, all papers were marked by our teaching staff and thoroughly checked and moderated by Heads of Department. Once that was completed, all students were then awarded a grade for the work that they have completed in each subject and several meetings have taken place between senior leaders and teachers to ensure that these grades are fair and based on appropriate evidence.
Once graded, all of this information was then checked again and submitted to each of the examination boards - over 2000 individual grades in total.
This week, attention has turned to Quality Assurance as the examination boards have now asked for samples of student work in order to check that the grades we have submitted are fair and based on evidence. Samples have been selected at random and we have been asked to submit evidence for seven of our courses (GCSE and A Level combined). We were given a 48-hour window in which to provide this and I am delighted that this was submitted on time yesterday afternoon.
For now, that is the end of the process. A huge logistical effort by all of our teachers, Heads of Department and our examinations and admin teams which has never been done before and which, of course, is being replicated right across the country.
Students will get their results in August (10th for A Level and 12th for GCSE) and we will write to students with more information nearer the time. Of course, students will have the right to appeal but we hope that, due to the rigour of the process outlined above, the overwhelming majority of students will feel that the grades they have been awarded are just and fair. Again, I will share more information on this process in due course.
Finally, this week we have outlined our intentions around school uniform next year and have clarified the skirts and shoes that will be acceptable. Students have, by and large, taken this in their stride. The principle of fairness is high on the agenda for all young people, rightly, and many have commented that they don’t mind changing what they wear providing that we ‘pick up’ those students that transgress. And that is our full intention. As ever, your support with high standards of uniform is hugely appreciated.
With just four weeks remaining of the term, there is much more to share with you so please continue to read these blogs and the other communications heading your way. I will also send the usual ‘summer’ letter which wraps up all of the key information that you need.
In the meantime, have a lovely weekend.
Mr V Groak