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Letter to Year 11 & Year 13 Parents: Exams

Dear Parent/Carer

I understand that many of you will feel anxious about this summer’s exam grading. I am writing to you in the hope that I can provide more clarity and some reassurance.

Last week, the Government announced outline plans for the awarding of A Level and GCSE grades. Details are still emerging or yet to emerge from examination boards – but most of the guidance still to come relates to schools and how we are to administer the system.

From a student’s point of view there is now a bit more clarity. We know the following:

  • There will be no externally set A Level and GCSE exams this summer.
  • The grades will be based on teachers’ assessments of the standards that students are working at.
  • You can be assured that we will use a range of evidence to inform our assessments, so grades will never be based on a single result in a mock examination or class assessment.
  • We already have some evidence in the form of your Key Tasks throughout the last 5 terms; your mock exams in November (Y11) and Online Assessments in January (Y13). By Easter, the exam boards will be providing us with some additional exam questions we can use in school if we wish to. Our aim is to ensure that every student has the opportunity to demonstrate what they can do.
  • We don’t yet know the leaving date for students in the summer term – but we do know that the school has to upload all results by 18th June 2021. Students and parents can not be told their grades at this stage. Exam boards will choose a sample of schools and look at the evidence and procedures they have used to ensure that grades have been awarded fairly.
  • The school will work with the other 4 secondary schools in our Trust to run a moderation/standardisation exercise across each subject area, to ensure that all submitted grades are fair.
  • Exam results will be published and made available for collection on:
    • Tuesday 10th August (A Level results)
    • Thursday 12th August (GCSE results)
  • There will be an appeal system for any student who believes that their grade has not been fairly awarded. The earlier exam results dates provide time for Y13 students to have appeals dealt with before university places are finalised.

There will be more detail emerging in the coming days and weeks, but much of this will relate to school procedures and how we administer the system. If there is further information to give to students or parents, we will let you know.

Exam years are always stressful and this year is more difficult than most. It is important to focus on the big picture and students should be encouraged to keep working hard , to apply themselves whole heartedly over the remaining weeks and to prepare well for any assessments taken during their remaining study time. They should be reassured that the exam results they achieve will be a fair reflection of their performance across their two years of study and not in one single performance in an exam.

Yours faithfully
Stephen Hammond