23rd March 2020
Over the last week students in Year 11 and Year 13 have had to process so much change as a result of the government announcements linked to Covid-19. Whilst this was not the planned pathway that any of the students had for the end of their GCSE or A Level courses, all of the students approached their last few days at QE in such a calm and mature way and should be very proud of the exceptional young people that they have become.
As outlined in my letter last week all of the examinations planned for May and June have been cancelled. On Friday afternoon we received the first information from the Department for Education for the plans to award students in Year 11 and 13 the GCSE and A level qualifications this summer.
We are encouraged that a key priority highlighted by the DfE was to ensure that affected students can move on to the next stage in their lives. For our students at QE this involves a number of possible options including Sixth Form, College, University, and Apprenticeships.
The DfE have confirmed that Ofqual, the exams regulator, and the exam board will work with teachers to provide the grades for students. Ofqual will develop and set out a process that will provide a calculated grade to each student which reflects their performance as fairly as possible, and will work with the exam boards to ensure this is consistently applied for all students. The exam boards will be asking teachers, who know their students well, to submit their judgement about the grade that they believe the student would have received if exams had gone ahead. Teachers will take into account a range of evidence and data including performance on mock exams and non-exam assessment. The exam boards will then combine this information with other relevant data, including prior attainment data, and use this information to produce a calculated grade for each student, which will be a best assessment of the work they have put in.
It is hoped that the grades will be provided to students by the end of July and the results award will be indistinguishable from other years.
The government announced that students will have the option to appeal if they believe that the process outlined above has not been followed correctly. Students will also have the option to sit the examination early next academic year, September 2020, or in the examination series that will take place in Summer 2021.
We are still awaiting confirmation from Ofqual on how we will provide the teacher assessment data and how students can sit the exams in September but I will continue to keep you informed when we have further details. Whilst the current situation is not one that any of us would have wanted for our students, I am confident that the good knowledge that QE staff have of students' work will allow us to provide exam boards with a fair representation of the students' deserved outcomes.
To support students who may decide to sit the examinations in September or next summer teaching staff will continue to set work in line with the students timetables using the google classroom.For BTEC qualifications students will be expected to complete all internally assessed units as planned. The exam board for BTEC will continue to sample work through this period through a remote process. Therefore it is important that students complete tasks set by their teacher via Google Classrooms in line with the deadline dates. Given the uncertainty around the grade awarding process I would encourage all students to complete all of the work that is set for all subjects.
For students in Year 11 we will also provide the Sixth Form induction booklets for all subjects in the Year 11 google classroom. Students will be expected to complete these for the subjects they are hoping to study in the Sixth Form. The induction booklet will be uploaded to the google classroom by Friday 27th March.
If you have any questions then please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you again for your continued support.