Friday 3rd April 2020
STAY SAFE; STAY AT HOME; PROTECT THE NHS
This will be my last bulletin for a couple of weeks unless something urgent comes up which I need to tell you about!
Today we heard about Ofqual’s plans for student grades since exams have been scrapped. Here is their letter to students currently in KS4 and 5:
GCSE, AS and A level students in England
3 April 2020
A message for all GCSE, AS and A level students this summer
I understand how unsettling the past weeks have been for you, since the announcement that exams have been cancelled this summer, and that you are urgently waiting for news. I wanted to let you know what we are doing to provide you with grades. Our over-riding aim in this is to be fair to students this summer and to make sure you are not disadvantaged in your progress to sixth form, college, university, apprenticeships, training or work because of these unprecedented conditions.
How will grades be calculated?
Your school or college will be asked to send exam boards two pieces of information for each of your subjects, based on what they know about your work and achievements:
- the grade they believe you were most likely to get if teaching, learning and exams had happened as planned
- within each subject, the order of students at your school or college, by performance, for each grade. This information will be used to standardise judgements – allowing fine tuning of the standard applied across schools and colleges
Your school or college will consider a range of things like your classwork and homework; your results in assignments and any mock exams; any non-exam assessment or coursework you might have done; and your general progress during your course.
This information will allow us, with exam boards, to standardise grades across schools and colleges, to make sure that, as far as possible, results are fair and that students are not advantaged or disadvantaged because their schools or colleges are more generous or harsh than others when making those judgements. That means the final grade you get could be different from the one your school or college sends to the exam board.
Do I need to complete any new work for my school/college to submit a grade?
Your school or college is not required to set additional mock exams or homework for your centre assessment grade, and you won’t be disadvantaged if you were not set, or were unable to complete, any work given out after schools were closed.
Can I see the grades my school/college submits for me?
No, this information will be confidential. Please don’t ask your teachers, or anyone else at your school or college, to tell you the grades they will be sending to the exam boards or where they have placed you in the order of students; they will not be allowed to share this with you.
I am a private candidate – what does this mean for me?
If you are a private candidate (for example, home-schooled, following distance-learning programmes or studying independently) the centre you are entering with should include you where the head teacher or principal is confident that they and their staff have seen sufficient evidence of your achievement to make an objective judgement. We are urgently exploring whether there are alternative options for those students who do not have an existing relationship with a centre and who need results this summer to progress. Unfortunately this is unlikely to be possible for all private candidates, some of whom may instead need to take exams in the autumn to get their grades.
We appreciate that this is a matter of real concern to private candidates and will provide an update as soon as possible. We have asked organisations that represent universities and FE colleges to consider the steps that providers could take when making admissions decisions this summer for any private candidates who do not receive a grade. They have told us that they believe that institutions will consider a range of other evidence and information for these students to allow them to progress wherever possible.
When will I get my results?
We’re working hard to get results out as soon as is possible – results won’t be delayed after the dates they were expected in August, and ideally they will be issued a little earlier, so you can have the certainty you need.
Can I take my exams another time?
We are working with exam boards to offer additional exams in the autumn term as soon as it is possible to do so. We’ll let you know about these in the coming weeks.
The information we have published covers GCSEs, AS and A levels, plus Extended Project Qualifications and Additional Extension Awards in maths. You can find out more about which qualifications and students are included, and the current arrangements for those which are not, in our detailed guidance; along with answers to other questions that you and your parents or carers might have. We will keep updating our guidance as new information becomes available, including to share details about vocational and technical qualifications as soon as we can, so please keep an eye on our website.
Please be reassured that the grades you get this year will look exactly the same as they have in other years (grades 1-9 for KS4 and A*-U for KS5), and they will have equal status with universities, colleges and employers,to help you move forward in your lives as planned.
With every best wish,
Chief Regulator, Ofqual
I hope this letter will go some way to reassuring you and your child about what lies ahead a little more.
Obviously, school staff only received this information today and will now need to plan and discuss next steps in departments and with their link SLT lead. Separate guidance has been issued to schools on exactly how to submit marks.
Please rest assured that our staff know your child WELL. We will spend time discussing every one of them, their assessment grades, test results, mock exam result plus any pastoral issues they may have had. Everything about your child will be given full consideration before we submit any marks.
Well, today would have been the day we broke up for Easter! Please ensure your child has a break from the schoolwork over the next two weeks.
Since we closed, staff have been working from home on a wide variety of whole school tasks and departmental tasks which were assigned by myself, the Senior Leadership Team and Middle Leaders. They have been meeting ‘virtually’ as departments and teams regularly to ensure planning and preparation keeps going ready for September. But our staff also need a full break in order to relax and re-energise. With Government requirements for schools to remain open, several will still be in and around school. Staff will therefore take their holidays as far as possible from Good Friday until Monday 20th April.
I would be most grateful if you could please bear this in mind with regards to work being set and email/other correspondence. You child should aim to start school work again on the 20th. These are unusual times and we have had to take unusual measures as I’m sure you can appreciate.
Thank you very much for your continued support of our school.
I wish you and your families a very Happy Easter!
Ms K Earle