Letter to parents/carers regarding examinations 2020.03.24

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21st March 2020

Dear Parent/Carer

You will be aware that following the government’s decision to close schools, all external assessment has been cancelled for this year, including SATs and GCSEs. There will therefore be a different way that grades are awarded this summer.

We appreciate what a challenging time this has been for young people expecting to be externally assessed this academic year and know this has been upsetting news for our Y11 and Y6 pupils to process.

We are working to ensure that all Y11 pupils will receive the support and guidance they need to access their post 16 pathways and reiterate the need for pupils to continue accessing the learning they have been set by their teachers to ensure they are adequately prepared to access further study, training and employment.

We will complete teacher assessments for the children in Y2, as usual; and teacher assess Y6 in the absence of SATs tests this year. We usually submit teacher assessments, so this will not be an unusual position in that respect. The phonics screening check and Multiplication tables check will not take place.

We can also reassure pupils that, when the time is ready and appropriate, we will ensure that they are able to celebrate their time at school together as a year group.

Information is still emerging and details are not yet finalised, however the examination boards have shared the following updates with us:

  • Regulators will develop and set out a process that will provide a calculated grade to each pupil which reflects their performance as fairly as possible.
  • Exam boards will be asking teachers, who know their pupils well, to submit their judgement about the grade that they believe the pupil would have received if exams had gone ahead.
  • To produce this, teachers will be asked to take into account a range of evidence and data including performance on mock exams and non-exam assessment. Clear guidance on how to do this fairly and robustly will be provided to schools and colleges soon.
  • Exam boards will then combine this information with other relevant data, including prior attainment, and use this information to produce a calculated grade for each pupil, which will be a best assessment of the work they have put in.
  • The aim is to provide these calculated grades to pupils before the end of July.
  • Pupils will be able to appeal their grades if they don’t believe the right process has been followed.
  • There will also be an option to sit exams early in the next academic year for any pupils who wish to – and pupils can also choose to sit exams next summer.

I want to reassure you that staff have significant experience at projecting and predicting outcomes, using the full range of information available to them.

Grades attained during mock exams, in class and on coursework, will not limit the grades pupils are awarded. Staff are fully aware of the progress pupils make at key times and of the wider factors which influence the final grades children achieve.

Until staff have a more detailed description as to what we will be asked to submit and on what basis, we will not be issuing projected grades or any other estimated gradings. We want to ensure that we have accurate information to share with families and therefore appreciate your patience at this ever changing and complex time.

We are relentlessly committed to ensuring that all pupils leave with the recognition they deserve. We also know that the skills, character development, knowledge and learning that they have so effectively gained will be key in ensuring their future successes.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

Yours sincerely

Simon Flowers
Executive Principal

Lucie Lakin