Dear Year 11,
I hope you and your family are well. I am writing to update you on what we know following last week’s announcement of the cancellation of exams and to provide you with advice on next steps.
The information below is taken from the Department for Education’s website and is the most recent guidance we have.
Will there be any exams this summer?
No, the decision has been taken to cancel all exams this summer. All grades are going to be calculated for each student.
The calculated grade process will take into account a range of evidence including, for example, non-exam assessment and mock results, and the approach will be standardised between schools and colleges. The government is working urgently with the exam boards to set out proposals for how this process will work and will be talking to teachers’ representatives before finalising an approach, to ensure that the approach taken is as fair as possible.
Will all students get their predicted grade?
No, simply using predicted grades would not be fair to all students. The calculated grade will take into account teachers’ assessment of the likely grade as well as other factors such as prior attainment, so students’ final grades will not necessarily reflect their predicted grades.
Will schools be using mock exam to calculate grades – and is this fair on students as they did not know at the time these would be used as their final mark?
Mock exam results will be one of the pieces of evidence that will be taken into account in this process, alongside other factors. Ofqual will ensure schools are provided with clear guidance on how to do this fairly and robustly.
Will Sixth Forms and Colleges accept these calculated grades?
The calculated grades awarded will be formal grades, with the same status as grades awarded in any other year.
What if I am unhappy with my grade?
The government will work closely with Ofqual and exam boards to ensure candidates are awarded a fair grade that recognises the work they have put in. If a student does not believe the correct process has been followed in their case they will be able to appeal on that basis. In addition, if they do not feel their calculated grade reflects their performance, they will have the opportunity to sit an exam, as soon as is reasonably possible after schools and colleges open again. Students will also have the option to sit their exams in summer 2021.
Will there be an opportunity to take exams this year if a student is unhappy with their grade?
Some students may feel disappointed that they have not been able to sit their exams. If they do not feel their calculated grade reflects their performance, they will have the opportunity to sit an exam, as soon as is reasonably possible after schools and colleges open again. Students will also have the option to sit their exams in summer 2021.
What if have started my coursework but it is not finished?
Exam boards will provide advice on this to schools and colleges as soon as possible.
When will I receive my results?
At the moment the guidance is a deadline of the end of July. We will confirm once we know more.
As soon as we have any further information that will be of help we will share it with you. In the mean time we suggest you do the following:
- Make sure you finish learning the content of your GCSE courses, particularly those you wish to study beyond GCSE. Your teachers will be setting optional work to support you with this through Go4Schools and remain available to help you.
- Complete any non-exam assessment or coursework, where possible, in case evidence is required during the calculated grade process. We are not sure if it will be needed and we will communicate with you as soon as it becomes clear.
- Scale back your revision to only revise content for subjects that you are considering taking in Year 12 or subjects you think you may wish to sit an exam in once schools open. If you anticipate achieving a grade 3 or below in English or Maths I strongly recommend continuing to revise these subjects as you will be required to resit them alongside your Year 12 courses. GCSEPod’s ‘Achieve English’ and ‘Achieve Maths’ programmes would be sufficient for this. There will also not be any Easter revision sessions at school.
- In the coming weeks we will circulate some Year 11 into 12 transition work for each subject. This will enable you to get ahead with the content of your chosen A-level and BTEC courses.
Please continue to follow government guidelines on how to stay safe and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me. When we know more about a last day for Year 11 to give you the send-off you deserve and the Prom we will also communicate this with you.
Mr P Butterworth