4 January 2022
As we enter the new year and following the Year 11 mock examinations it is important to set out the plans for Year 11 leading up to the summer examinations. This will help students and their families plan the months ahead.
Everything that we do is based on the guidance given by the Department for Education and Ofqual:
- GCSE guidance from the government can all be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/gcse-as-and-a-level-qualifications-in-2022
- Vocational qualifications (e.g BTECs) guidance can all be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/vocational-technical-and-other-general-qualifications-in-2022
- A very useful summary can be found as an open letter to students from Ofqual (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/open-letters-arrangements-for-gcses-as-and-a-levels-in-2022/letter-to-students)
Will exams take place...?
To quote the guidance - "The government is clear that students entering GCSEs, AS or A levels in 2022 should expect to take exams in the summer and complete any non-exam assessments in the usual way throughout the year." It is also clear that vocational qualifications (BTECs such as Health and Social Care, Enterprise and Digital Information Technology) are expected to be awarded as usual in 2022 although some adjustments will be made for units of work that may have been missed as these qualifications are continually assessed.
So we expect a normal examination series to run in May & June 2022. The provisional timetables released say that the exams will start on 16 May and complete by 29 June. A timetable published by one of the examination boards can be found, for example, at https://www.aqa.org.uk/exams-administration/dates-and-timetables
What plans do we have to make in case exams are cancelled?
Again, to quote the guidance - "Although the government is firmly committed to exams going ahead in summer 2022, we need to have contingency plans in place for the unlikely event that exams have to be cancelled again because of the pandemic." As teachers and as a school we sincerely hope that this will not be the case, but we are required to follow the guidance just in case whilst not distracting ourselves from the process of preparing our students for their examinations in May/June.
So we are required to gather information that could inform a teacher assessed grade if necessary. This includes coursework (known as NEA - non-examined assessments) and any ongoing assessment for vocational qualifications (BTECs). Taking timed assessments under controlled conditions is part of any teacher's revision process so the intention is to build the necessary assessments into the normal revision process over the coming months.
To quote the guidance "...a sensible approach may be to plan to assess students in each of the:
- second half of the autumn term 2021
- spring term of 2022
- first half of the summer term 2022"
We have had a full set of mocks before Christmas. We are therefore identifying two 2-week blocks of time where teachers may set assessments under controlled conditions in their classrooms during their normal lesson times to gather information for any teacher-assessed grades. These 2-week blocks are
- weeks beginning March 7th and March 14th
- weeks beginning May 9th and May 16th
It may well not be necessary to use the second block of time as it should be clear by then that examinations will be running.
Support for students
The key to success at the end of Year 11 is hard work by each individual student, both in lessons and at home. This is supported by brilliant teaching during lessons and the provision of resources and guidance by each teacher so that every student can study independently and effectively at home. Every student would expect to do significant work at home each evening and at the weekends.
Sometimes there is a need for support for students to overcome some barrier to their understanding of a concept. This can be identified in 2 ways
- the teacher identifies that a student or small group of students have a clear misunderstanding of an aspect of the subject.
- a student identifies part of the subject that they do not understand, despite having independently gone back over the relevant lessons and questions. They would contact the teacher, either in person after a lesson or via Teams and ask for support.
This can be tackled in a variety of ways, which may include, at the discretion of the teacher,
- setting additional focused work
- providing support via Teams on an individual or group basis
- organising a session after school to provide some additional specific teaching which cannot, for some reason, be provided during normal lessons
It is very important to note that additional support sessions are in addition to independent study - they do not replace it.
Parents' and Carers' Evening Wednesday 19 Jan
This will have to be a virtual event, like parents' evening last year, under the current circumstances. It is important that every family is represented to discuss next steps with each teacher. Booking details will be sent out separately.
We are planning to organise subject support sessions at school during February half-term (week commencing 14 Feb). Buses from Blackburn and Preston will be provided. Further details will follow in due course.
We are planning to organise subject support sessions at school during the first week of the Easter break (week commencing 4 April). Buses from Blackburn and Preston will be provided. Further details will follow in due course.
I understand that this is a long message, but it is important to set out the plans for the coming months so that you understand the approach that we are taking to ensuring that your son or daughter gets the best possible results in the summer.
Posted by James Harris
Category: WLD Updates