Updated Tuesday 12 January 2021
GCSE and A Levels
The Education Secretary has announced that there will be no GCSE or A Level examinations in the summer and that, instead, pupils' grades will be based on teacher assessment.
He was clear that grades will not be based on a computer algorithm and that they will provide training for schools on how to provide grades that are fair and consistent (across the country).
This is an easy thing to say, but a far harder thing to do. The detail of how they ask us to come up with teacher assessed grades is what will really determine how we proceed with the education we provide over the coming weeks and months. We still do not have any of that detail.
That means that it will not be possible at this stage for teachers to tell pupils or parent and carers about teacher assessed grades or how they will work them out.
All we can suggest at the moment is that pupils continue to work hard and access all of their online lessons. It is likely that engagement with online lessons and the quality of the work still being completed will play a part in teacher assessed grades. If pupils have not been attending online lessons it is more vital than ever that they start to do so.
We will continue to deliver the curriculum we had planned until we get some more detail. As soon as that detail arrives we will update pupils and parents and carers whether we are going to change any of the content we are teaching and how we will be deciding your grades.
We are really sorry that this is the position our pupils find themselves in. They had a horribly disrupted year last year and on top of further disruption already this year, they now have this uncertainty about their grades.
The key thing to remember now is that education is not just about grades but about what you learn. The learning they do over these last few months will still be vital in preparing them for what they want to go on to do next year and later on in life. Furthermore, their ability to continue in the face of adversity, motivate themselves when it might seems like there is no point, and dig deep to accomplish their goals are the qualities that will serve them in good stead for the rest of their lives (and give them great things to talk about at interviews!)
There will no doubt be more information to come on vocational courses, but I imagine there will be an expectation to complete the coursework elements of these.
However, the government has announced that individual schools can confirm whether or not they are able to continue with vocational exams this month. Due to the current situation, we will not be proceeding with these as we do not feel this is in the best interests of your child. There may be the opportunity for them to sit them at a later stage but if this is not possible, the government and examining bodies have assured us that they will be treated fairly and therefore not disadvantaged.
We understand all of this is very disappointing, especially as our pupils have worked so hard.