We have now received the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) guidance on the determination of these grades and this has confirmed the guidelines which we are expected to follow. A key inclusion in this document was that all centres are required to have a policy in place which all staff will follow, and a copy of this is provided below,
In order to award grades to students, we will be gathering evidence, which your son/daughter will largely produce in assessments that will take place over the next six weeks. In addition, evidence may be collected from other substantial pieces of work that students have produced over the course of their studies.
It has become apparent that some students were understandably getting increasingly anxious about the number of assessments they were required to complete, and therefore I met with all students yesterday, in socially distanced assemblies, to reassure them all of the rationale for this (and to provide the additional information included in this letter). Given that we will be looking holistically at all of the evidence provided in order to award the grades, we believe that having a series of smaller assessments over a period of time reduces the effect of any potential ‘bad day’, which we know can happen at times in examinations.
It is clearly important that all students are aware of when their assessments will take place, and this is being communicated with them by class teachers. To enable you to support them to prepare for these assessments a copy of all the dates for all subjects is provided below. We will also be sharing the lists of pieces of evidence for each subject in due course. All students should continue to work hard and listen carefully to their teachers, now more so than ever, as we will be sharing information with them regarding topics they should be revising in preparation for their assessments. Please note as previously mentioned, students will only be assessed on the topics they have had the opportunity to learn.
Whilst we have all encountered the global pandemic over the past year, this has resulted in a range of different circumstances which students have experienced. In order to mitigate this, it is essential that students notify us if they feel they have been specifically disadvantaged when considering one or more of the pieces of evidence that are being used to determine grades for that subject. There are three reasons for which we may make variations to an individual student’s evidence base and these are:
- Additional Covid disruption (beyond those of their peers)
- Access arrangements entitlement (agreed adjustments made based on a student’s learning need) not fulfilled
- Other mitigating circumstances (those which satisfy special consideration criteria which can be found here)
If your son/daughter believes that they have been disadvantaged for one or more of their evidence pieces for the reasons listed above, then they should submit a request in writing either to me or the relevant class teacher or subject/curriculum leader. In order for us to consider these requests, these should be submitted by Friday 28 May. Please note, students should not wait until grades are received in August to decide that they were disadvantaged during the assessment process. In most cases, where we agree that any amendment is necessary, it is likely we will replace the affected evidence with another piece of evidence which we will ask your child to complete. Please be aware, however, that due to the criteria provided by JCQ, not all applications can be agreed upon.
We would like to reassure all students that there will be a number of stages of standardisation and quality assurance throughout the process and grades will be awarded collaboratively with subject specialists and not solely by one member of staff. Due to the ongoing standardisation process, students should be aware that they will not receive grades or scores for pieces of work, although they may receive some formative feedback where this may support them with future assessments. We are also required to retain all evidence which students have completed since Wednesday 24 March. This is a JCQ requirement and will be essential in the event of an appeal. Please be aware that I will write again later in the term, highlighting the appeals process should any students wish to make use of this.
The current plan is for all additional assessments to be completed throughout this half term and as such, the last day that Year 11 and Year 13 will be required in school to take part in timetabled lessons will be Friday 28 May. However, the final date for schools to have assessed and submitted grades to exam boards is 18 June and all students need to be available to come into school should further evidence be required. Further information about what Year 11 students, in particular, should be doing to prepare themselves for the next stage of their educational careers, will be provided nearer the time.
I understand that this time will be a period of anxiety for many students. In the assemblies, I stressed the importance that students ‘stay calm and revise in little chunks’. It is really important that students work with their teachers over the next six weeks in order to give them the best chance of being well prepared for their assessments. My advice for them remains the same; continue to attend lessons, work hard, follow teacher instructions and ask for help when it is required.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can help further.
Tony Goodman, Deputy Headteacher: Quality of Education