Dear Parents and Carers,
Firstly, I’d like to thank you for your continued patience and support regarding students in Year 11 in what is a difficult time for all of us. I’d also like to praise the continued dedication of both our students and staff over the past few weeks. Unfortunately, the effects of Covid struck us fairly hard over the last 2 – 3 weeks with many students needing to isolate and work from home, and most teachers in Y11 needing to isolate and teach from home with the amazing support of staff and students still in the building. Fortunately, we are almost back at full capacity which allows some space to focus on the road ahead a little more.
Secondly, I’d like to apologise for the level of communication that you as parents and carers have received regarding some key aspects of your child’s journey through Y11 around mock exams and the results. This hasn’t been at the level that it needed to be and for that I sincerely apologies, as one thing that affects all of us is the uncertainty that Covid presents moving forwards. So here’s what we’re doing to put it right.
Tomorrow is the first formal Academic Data drop for us as a school. This is where all subject teachers provide the most up to date academic progress data for our students in Y11 and is based on a number of factors, which include individual teacher assessments over the course of this year and where appropriate, the mock exams sat a few weeks ago. From this we will be able to form predicted grades, which will be as accurate as possible. It is also important to note that due to the uncertainty around the nature of the full GCSE examinations in 2021, there might be some changes over time. Please see today’s announcement from the Department for Education which outlines some proposed changes to the GCSEs. For us right now, we’ll keep forming predicted grades in the way that we always have were they to sit exams as normal as this is the most certain thing we can do. But this is something we will review after each future data drop and round of mock exams.
In light of our academic performance analysis, we will be sending out to parents students predicted grades next week. These will show the grades that teachers think students will achieve based on how they are working at the moment. We will also use our target grades and minimum expected grades to assess student progress. At this point, you will find out if there are any concerns around your child and their progress. This will come as a formal printed document that will be sent home with your child. Also in this pack, we will share;
-a more detailed rationale around grades and predicted grades in terms of how they are formed and what they mean
-a calendar which shows our route forward to GCSEs with key dates around mock exams
-Details on Student Led Conferences and a more traditional Parents evening where you will be able to meet with your child’s subject teachers to discuss specific areas of concern and look at interventions and next steps. We will need to consider the format of this carefully so that the occasion is purposeful, but also Covid safe, so this may be a physical event in the building, online or a blend of both.
-You will also receive more detailed information around the context of mock exams and the papers that students have sat and will sit and how this relates to their overall progress. Importantly, the grades that students recently received are not predicted grades and do not accurately reflect where students are right now as there are differences in the papers that students sat depending on subjects. The main purpose of the most recent mock exams was to encourage our students back into good study habits after a long break from school, to work out some of our own logistics of hosting exams in the building such as students working in separate rooms and invigilation and to ensure that students understand the reality of the current situation; that GCSEs in 2021 will take place.
Again, I apologise for less than adequate communication around this, but our commitment moving forward is to make sure that everyone is as informed as possible over the next few challenging months. If there are any concerns or queries in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact your child’s subject teacher directly.
One thing that I am absolutely certain of however is the unwavering support and dedication your child is receiving from our incredible staff in what continues to be difficult period for us all.
We Are Crew.
Best wishes, Mr Voltaire.
(Assistant Principal for Years 10 and 11)