Today was the first day of the year 11 mock examinations and I just wanted to pass on the wonderful feedback from our invigilation team, some of whom have been working with us for some time, and others that are new to the school. The team were really impressed by the mature and responsible attitude shown by the students throughout the entire day, particularly at a time when many will have been nervous and anxious about the exam process. The students followed all instructions carefully and attentively, and this meant that all the exams were able to start in a calm and purposeful manner. I would like to add that in all the years which I have been coordinating the exams and mock exams, this was as impressive a start to the exam period as I can remember. Knowing our students as we do, we are confident that these attitudes will continue over the remainder of the mock exam period, and beyond.
On a separate but related note, you may be aware that Ofqual has recently released guidance for schools on the contingency arrangements for students entering GCSEs in summer 2022; a copy of which can be found here. This confirms that, whilst the government is firmly committed to exams going ahead in the summer, we are expected to have contingency plans in place for the unlikely event that exams have to be cancelled again because of the pandemic. This requires us to collect three pieces of evidence throughout the year and we are already developing action plans to complete this, which we will share as soon as possible. It is directed that one of the pieces of evidence should be completed this term and we have therefore informed students in assembly this week that the mock exams could be used as part of their evidence if we were required to award Teacher Assessed Grades (TAGs). It is essential to note, however, that whilst this may form part of the evidence for the generation of TAGs, the grades awarded during the mocks will not be the only evidence we would be expected to consider.
Students should continue to prepare well for their mock examinations, as the overwhelming majority have been doing so, and should not worry about the extremely unlikely event of exams being cancelled in the summer. We will continue to support our students to prepare well for their end of year exams, which we are fully expecting to go ahead, but we will ensure that we are prepared were this not to be the case.
Tony Goodman, Deputy Headteacher: Quality of Education