Dear Parents and Carers,

The Secretary of State for Education has just made a speech to the Commons in which he made it clear that there will be no written examinations for either GCSE or A-Level this year. Instead, information from teachers will be used to inform grades. There was no detail on exactly how this would happen, so my point yesterday that we should assume that everything counts is for the time being out best approach. That of course includes the recent mocks.

We don’t for a minute think that the December mocks will be used as the sole method to generate grades – there is plenty of time between now and the early summer to collect some really strong evidence that students have continued to progress since December. However, it is worth us being especially careful about our grading of those mocks to make sure we have given all possible credit where it is due. For that reason we will delay the release of the mock grades until they have been fully moderated in departments to make sure that every teacher is marking to exactly the same standard. We do that every year – we’ll do it even more thoroughly this year. I’ll let you know next week when you can expect to see those grades.

From this morning, work has been set for all students on Go4Schools. Teachers will be live online for the majority of lessons from Monday, and many before then, to support students in completing their work. We know that in some households it won’t be possible for students to attend each lesson at the timetabled time. For that reason,  all the work we set will be suitable for students to complete on their own if need be. However, if they can join their virtual classrooms on teams as timetabled, that would be much better.

When a teacher schedules a lesson in Teams, an email invite is sent to all students in that class, so your children should monitor their school emails to find the links for those lessons. Where teachers are working in our key-worker and vulnerable child mini-school, they won’t be able to be present for their timetabled lessons as well. We’ll email every week with a list of those teachers who are taking their turn on the mini-school so students know which lessons will not be supported live.

Year 10 parents’ evening is going ahead tomorrow, through our now usual remote system. There are still appointments available, so if you haven’t been able to book yet, you still can. Although the meetings are now remote, the booking system is the same as always.

Thank you to all of you who have supported out gathering of consents and testing of students. Due to some excellent organisation by Dr Geall and his team of volunteers, including several governors, we have been able to conduct over a hundred tests so far this week, none of them positive. I’m very grateful to all involved in that effort.

I was looking through emails from my daughters school last night trying to find a particular piece of information and it took forever. I’m sure you have a similar experience reading my sometimes daily messages. I will try from now on to put some key words in the header to make them a little easier to sort through.

Andy Hunter


Samuel Ward Academy