Dear Parents and Carers
I hope all our families and communities continue to stay well and safe after the Easter break.
As you are aware, Year 11, Year 13 and some Year 12 students are completing assessments in school as part of the grades awarding process this year. I thought it would be appropriate to give you an update at this time, and as further information becomes available about arrangements for Results Days and Sixth Form Registration in the summer, we will be in touch again. This letter is based on our current understanding of guidance and regulatory requirements, and we will of course keep in touch if these change.
In the same way as in a normal examination year, there are challenges in preparing for a number of assessments in different subjects. Although dividing assessment into a number of shorter tests has allowed staff to support revision and preparation, we recognise the challenge that students face at this time of the year. I would like to say how impressed I am with the way in which our students have approached their studies and assessment and thank all parents and carers for their support at the end of an unpredictable year.
As I mentioned in my letter before Easter, staff are working to assess the evidence and submit grades for Examination Board approval that support our students’ interests. I ask parents and carers to bear in mind, however, that schools must act according to a policy approved by Examination Boards and are required to apply the same standard as in years when normal summer examinations have been held. As part of this policy, and in accordance with arrangements in a normal year, grades must not be disclosed until the designated Results Day in the summer.
I understand that some students may be concerned that if they are absent for assessment, this will have an adverse impact on their grade. I would like to reassure parents, carers and students that if an absence is authorised, our arrangements ensure that there is a sufficient evidence base to award a grade, and that this process will not disadvantage a student who for genuine reasons is unable to complete an assessment.
In the same way, following guidance provided by JCQ (Joint Council for Qualifications), if exceptional circumstances have occurred near to an assessment, we can use alternative evidence to arrive at a grade. Such serious, exceptional circumstances, such as the death or terminal illness of a close family member in near proximity to a particular assessment, will usually be known to the school and taken into account, but if students, parents or carers wish to bring any such circumstances to attention, this should be done at firstname.lastname@example.org and, if possible, independent, supporting evidence should be provided to allow us to justify any allowance to Awarding Bodies. We ask that communication about exceptional circumstances is not made outside this channel, as schools are required to demonstrate that they are acting fairly and consistently. Please ensure that we are informed as close as possible to the assessment affected, and in any event before Friday 21st May.
Once again, I wish all our students well as they approach the end of their studies, and look forward to writing again with details of dates and arrangements for the summer, including Results Days, Appeals and Sixth Form registration in due course.