Letter from Mrs Jackson re: Examinations – 19th March 2020

Dear Parents, Carers and Students

As you know, yesterday evening the government announced that, as part of additional measures to combat the “Corona-Virus” schools will close from the end of this week.  It was also announced that the GCSE and A level examinations will not take place in May and June this year.  We know that this has caused a great deal of confusion and upset to many of our Year 11 and 13 students.  We are aware that many have been preparing for these exams for a number of months and years and the sudden announcement of the cancellation of the May and June exams was a shock.

To try to help our students understand what will happen next, we talked to all of our Year 11 and 13 students this morning. We have let them know as much as we are able to about their examinations and qualifications.

Although the current situation is unclear, the government have emphasised that students will receive the qualifications they deserve and that they will be able to move onto the next stage of their education, training or employment.  While it is likely that schools will contribute to this process, it is not yet clear how this will happen.  Any contribution that the school makes to the process will consider the progress and attainment of each individual student and will take into account all of their work in each subject.  I understand there is some concern and worry, especially with regard to the use of mock exam grades.  The school will not send the mock grades.  We will look at a range of information and take into account how much they have improved since the mocks.  As soon as we have more information about how the system will work, we will inform both yourselves and the students.

Until we have full confirmation of what will happen, it is important that students continue, for now, preparing for the exams as normal.  This is important for several reasons:

  • It may be that there will be a system of delayed examinations for these students in the future, though this seems unlikely.
  • When schools and colleges reopen and students move onto the next stage, a very long break in learning makes the start of study again more challenging.  Some of the knowledge and skills that students are currently studying is built upon in the next stage and if it is not learnt now, will, potentially, cause difficulties later.
  • In particular, for those subjects that include an element of course work or portfolio work, it is highly likely that this work will be part of evidence for awarding grades and qualifications.  It is essential that students complete such work to the highest standard possible.  Advice on this will follow when we have further clarification.

We have explained to all students how home learning can be accessed during the closure period, along with contact details for subject teachers, so that students can receive the support they require.

All of the staff at St Benedict’s fully understand the confusion and upset that this announcement will have caused, and have great sympathy for you all at this difficult time. 

We will ensure that our students will receive the best possible qualifications that they deserve.

Yours faithfully

Emma Jackson

Head Teacher

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