Year 11 & 13 Summer Examinations
Summer 2021 Exams
We would like to take the opportunity to share with you some of the information released by the government regarding GCSE, AS, A level and Vocational and Technical exams next summer. We would like to assure you that the school will respond accordingly to all changes made to support students in their preparations for next year’s examinations. We will also continue to keep you informed if further amendments are made.
On 2nd December 2020, the Secretary of State for Education sent a letter to Ofqual’s Acting Chief Regulator. It details the overall package of measures for GCSE, AS and A level, vocational and technical qualifications and other general qualifications in 2021.
Students taking vocational and technical qualifications will also see adaptations to ensure parity between general and vocational qualifications. Some vocational qualifications will require more varied adaptations due to the different qualification types. Although further details are yet to be published, we would like to keep you up to date with the range of measures announced by Gavin Williamson to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on education. The new measures include:
- More generous grading than usual, in line with national outcomes from 2020.
- Students receiving advance notice of some topic areas covered in GCSE, AS and A levels to focus revision.
- Exam aids - like formula sheets - provided in some exams giving students more confidence and reducing the amount of information they need to memorise.
- Additional exams to give students a second chance to sit a paper if the main exams or assessments are missed due to illness or self-isolation.
- If students miss one or more exams due to self-isolation or sickness but have still completed a proportion of their qualification, they will still receive a grade.
- If a student misses all their assessments in a subject, they will have the opportunity to sit a single contingency paper per subject held shortly after the main exams. This will take place between 28 June to 16 July 2021 and timetable to allow at least a 10-day gap after each subject’s final paper in the main series. Work has started on writing this timetable.
- In the extreme case where a student has a legitimate reason to miss all their papers, then a validated teacher informed assessment can be used, only once all chances to sit an exam have passed. At Welling School Year 11 students will complete a second set of PPEs the week commencing Monday 22 February to prepare them for their final Summer 2021 exams which begin on Monday 24 May. Year 13 students will complete a full set of PPEs in March 2021, as will Year 12 students entered for AS level subjects.
We are currently planning for some of our Year 12 students to sit AS papers at the end of Year 12: these will be sat in Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry and Psychology. This decision was made as a supportive measure to ensure students have a clear focus for the year and have the opportunity to secure learning moving into Year 13. However, this decision will be reviewed if disruption to learning over the spring term is prohibitive of them achieving positive outcomes.
We are currently working towards exams taking place in all Year 13 subjects in the summer, including vocational subjects. The government has advised that discussions continue with providers of vocational courses to clarify exactly how final results will be calculated, but there are currently no plans to remove exam-window opportunities in January and June 2021. It is under discussion whether coursework elements will be reduced, although ‘adaptations’ may well be made to protect students from any disadvantage due to the disruption to learning nationally.
We fully appreciate that with such a disruptive year to their education students may be feeling anxious about the preparation for examinations. We will endeavour to support them by providing information and guidance on any changes to content as well as revision strategies to support them through the next six months.
The messages from Ofqual indicate that any changes are being made as a supportive measure to assist students in achieving their potential, however it is also essential that students continue to work hard in school and at home and prepare thoroughly for examinations as they would in any other year.
We will continue to update you on any further developments regarding how students are being supported in the preparation for the summer examinations. If you have any questions regarding this letter do get in touch with either the Key Stage 4 or Key Stage 5 Team.
Ms J Sangster Ms M Major
KS4 Deputy Headteacher KS5 Deputy Headteacher