Re: Update to Year 11 Examinations
As you will have seen in the media and in government announcements this week, since the UK entered the national lockdown, the Department for Education has made the decision that there will be no examinations in GCSE subjects this summer. A two-week consultation begins on Monday to start the process of deciding how grades will be awarded in place of students taking examinations. We will update you as soon as we have further information on GCSEs and how this impacts on the remaining weeks and months for your child through the coming academic year.
The government has decided to take a different approach to BTEC courses, some of which have examination components taking place through January and February. The Department for Education has stated that BTEC/Vocational examinations can go ahead this month, if schools and colleges decide that it is both safe and appropriate to do so.
Having very carefully weighed up the arguments for and against running the January and February examinations, balancing the opportunities that taking examinations for which students have been preparing, having the chance to prove what they have learned through their courses wherever possible, against the public health situation nationally and locally, we have decided that we can run BTEC written examinations this month by following our regularly reviewed Covid safety measures, although we will keep this under review in line with local and national public health advice. To run these examinations, we have put further safety measures in place in the academy, such as moving examination desks at least 2 metres apart, ventilating examination rooms adequately and offering students the chance to keep their face coverings on, if they wish. However, we have taken the decision that practical BTEC examinations and the associated complexities will not take place at this time.
This means the schedule through January and February is as follows:
Monday 1st February – Engineering
Friday 5th February – Engineering
Remote learning will continue for Engineering as per the timetable, and the expectation is we will be able to enter students for this examination in May.
Continuing as scheduled
Monday 11th January – Creative iMedia – 1.30pm
Wednesday 3rd February- Travel and Tourism – 9.00am
Friday 5th February – Health and Social Care – 9.00am
With reference to these three written examinations please note the following important points:
- If you cannot attend the Creative iMedia, Health and Social Care or Travel and Tourism examinations, you will automatically be re-entered for the May examination series or the alternative method for calculating grades that is decided upon by the government and Ofqual. This also applies to the Engineering examination which will not be taking place in February, but will take place in May.
- If you feel unwell in any way or if you need to self-isolate because someone in your household has Covid symptoms or is shielding because you or someone in your household is clinically extremely vulnerable, then you should not attend the examination and we will work with the examination board to ensure that you are not disadvantaged. We will support you to receive the outcome that we know you deserve.
- If your child cannot attend the Creative iMedia examination on Monday 11th January, the Travel and Tourism examination on Wednesday 3rd February or the Health and Social Care examination on Friday 5th February, then please report absence in the normal way by calling Ms Cockle on 01322-620511.
- Students should arrive for the examinations in full academy uniform, however, we appreciate how chilly the examination rooms are at present as we have windows and doors open for ventilation purposes. Therefore, I suggest that your child wears an additional jumper, fleece, jacket/coat that they will feel comfortable to wear throughout the examination if needed.
- Please try and avoid public transport if possible and either walk or get a lift from a family member to and from the academy.
- All students entitled to examination access arrangements such as extra time will be granted that support.
It is very important to note that this certainly isn’t the time for Year 11 students to stop learning. Everything they do from this point forward will contribute towards the process for giving grades later this year and will also help prepare them for the courses they pursue in September. The guide to remote learning has already been shared with you earlier this month, and can also be found on our website here
Unfortunately, the lockdown has also resulted in the need for us to postpone all mock examinations scheduled for Module 3. However, please encourage your child to keep learning and revising as we may be in a position through Modules 4 and 5 to still run internal assessments in some form to help us get a better understanding of your child’s subject knowledge, and help give us more data to contribute towards the grading process. I know many of the students have worked extremely hard in the build up to the mock examinations, and we want to give them the opportunity to show what they have learned through their GCSEs if that does become a possibility.
We share your concerns and frustrations about the current situation and hope that this letter helps to provide some clarity through this time as we are doing everything we can to keep students safe whilst maintaining their education and the opportunities that taking these written BTEC examinations provide.
We will do everything we can to ensure all Year 11 students receive the GCSE and BTEC grades they deserve, and support them through to the next stage of their education as effectively as possible. Hopefully, we will be able to do this with students back in the building with us in Module 4, but as always, we will follow the government guidelines and prioritise health and safety.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Mr Brewer, Head of College, Leading on Year 11, via email email@example.com.