23 March 2020
Dear Parents and Carers,
I am writing to update you on what I know so far with regard to the awarding of GCSE/BTEC/A-level grades this summer. I am very much aware that our Year 11 and 13 students are very anxious about the cancellation of their examinations this summer so I am keen to keep you all fully informed.
OFQUAL and the Department for Education have reiterated there will be no exams this summer. Instead teachers will be asked to submit their judgement about the grade that they believe the student would have received if exams had gone ahead. Teachers will be asked to use a wide range of evidence sources to do this including mock grades and non-examination assessments (coursework) marks. Schools and colleges are going in be given an explicit process by which they need follow in order to produce this mark so that it is done in a fair and robust manner. This process has not yet been published. The exam boards will then use this information to produce a calculated grade for each student.
It is very clear that whilst the teacher recommendation will be a very important consideration the grades will be awarded by the exam board and not the teacher. Therefore, it will not be possible for teachers to predict grades as has been the case in previous years. There will be an opportunity for students to appeal the grades that are awarded by the exam board if they feel that the process has not been followed. Furthermore, students will have the opportunity to sit exams at the earliest reasonable opportunity, once schools are open again. In addition, all students will be able to sit their exams in summer 2021.
OFQUAL is aiming to publish exam grades by the end of July. They are also very clear that these grades will be indistinguishable from those provided in other years and will be treated in this way by universities and colleges.
Unfortunately, as we do not know at this stage the information we will have to submit to the exam boards it will not be possible for teachers to predict grade outcomes this summer at this stage. I have however asked teachers, wherever possible, to work with students on their coursework remotely. It is important that Year 11 and 13 students check their email and class charts regularly as this will be the communication method their teachers will use. Furthermore, I have asked teachers to continue setting work for their students as it is important that all course content has been covered in order to prepare them for further study or in case students sit the examinations at a later date.
I appreciate that these really are worrying times for both students and parents. Howeve,r I want to offer my assurance that Bideford College will do everything it can to ensure that our Year 11 and 13 students are not disadvantaged as a result of the cancellation of the summer exams.
Useful information sources
Dr C Ankers