Remote Learning Assessment Arrangements
First, we want to thank you for your contribution to the success of our remote learning provision. We appreciate the many challenges that families face with home schooling and we are very grateful for your ongoing support in the continuation our young people’s education.

Now that the routines for online lessons have been established, we want to let you know how your child will be assessed during this period of remote learning. Assessment is fundamental to our students’ progress and so we would appreciate your support in making the process as effective as possible.

Years 11 and 13
You are no doubt aware that GCSE and A level examinations will not go ahead as originally planned this summer. Further details on this follow later in this letter. Coursework elements of subjects will be completed as normal, but for those subjects which would usually comprise of an examination, the way final grades will be derived has changed. There are a number of things that we do not yet know. We do not know the format of any assessments that students will complete; how many pieces of evidence we will need to collate per student, per subject; whether the exam boards or teachers will set the assessments or when and where these will be completed and marked. However, what we do know is that for Year 11 and 13, the work towards their final qualifications is not complete. We will need to have broad evidence base, in order that their final grade can be awarded. Therefore, it is absolutely vital that, during this period of remote learning, we provide our students with assessment opportunities, so that they can practice using their knowledge and skills and so that we can provide them with the feedback they need to make further progress towards their target grades.

We plan for our Year 11 and 13 students to complete two short, exam style assessments per examination subject, during this period of home learning, on which they will receive feedback. They will not be graded, however, because grades can only be derived from a collection of responses, covering a broad scope of the curriculum studied.

Therefore, we hope you agree that attendance to all online lessons is very important. Examinations aside, remaining engaged in education is vital preparation for the next steps in our young people’s lives, whether that be University, A levels or apprenticeship.

Years 9, 10 and 12
Students in Year 9, 10 and 12 are also facing considerable challenges in continuing to progress through the curriculum. Therefore, it is vitally important that we assess the progress they have made during this period of home learning, so that we can plan to address areas of weaker knowledge and misconceptions and so that our students have the necessary feedback to make further progress.

We will assess our students, formatively, on a lesson by lesson basis, using questions and low stakes quizzes. We also plan for our students to complete one significant written assessment per non-practical subject, whilst we are remote learning. Each assessed piece of work will receive feedback.

Our Year 9, 10 and 12 students still have a significant proportion of the curriculum yet to study, and so it is very important that they attend their live lessons, wherever possible; use the recorded lesson to catch up on lessons they have had to miss and, if completing work using paper resources, that they complete and return their work for timely feedback.

 

Attendance in remote lessons 
In order to ensure that we provide the best education and care that we can at this challenging time, we are monitoring attendance to remote lessons. We are texting parents or carers when their child has not attended one or more lessons on the previous day. We are doing this as a supportive measure so that we can identify students who may need extra support or who might be experiencing technical issues that we can assist with. Our Pastoral Team are continuing to contact our student cohort but as mentioned in my previous bulletin, this is a huge undertaking with the numbers of students on roll. Please continue to contact your child’s Head of Year, should you need assistance.

To help school, we would ask parents and carers to contact us in the usual way if your child is unable to attend lessons (for example if they are unwell). This will help avoid unnecessary calls home and ensure teachers are aware if students are absent for a particular reason.

 

Exams consultation
As you will now be aware, the government have cancelled GCSE and A level exams this summer. However, as predicted the methodology for awarding grades to students appears to be very complicated. One suggestion is to ask all students to sit assessments set by the exam boards to ‘assist’ teachers in awarding grades. That sounds awfully like exams to me, which we were previously told had been cancelled.

The consultation on this is live until next Friday, 29th January. I would encourage all parents and carers to read this and respond. Unfortunately, the consultation is very lengthy, and the cynic in me would say this is to put people off responding.

The consultation can be found here:

https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/8BYI4T/

The documentation can be found here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/953000/6743-1_GCSE__AS_and_A_level_grades_should_be_awarded_in_summer_2021.pdf

 

Year 9 Options
The Year 9 Options process has now started. Over the next few weeks you will receive a number of emails and reminders on how the process will work remotely. We are currently uploading subject Information videos to our website and these will be ready by the end of next week. You will also be receiving the Year 9 Options Pathway Booklet for this year by email.

 

 

Best wishes

Adrian Ward