Year 11, Our Class of 2020
Keeping a positive mindset
It has been a week since we learnt of the withdrawal of this summer’s public examinations and, while it was confirmed that the priority is now to ensure affected students can move on as planned to the next stage of their lives and that all students are awarded a grade which fairly reflects the work that they have put in, we have yet to understand how this will be achieved.
However, we are expecting an announcement from the government department Ofqual (The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation) next week and there is an indication that there will also be an option to sit an exam early in the next academic year for students who wish to. You may find the following links helpful:
- Government: Further details on exams and grades announced (20 March 2020)
Government Guidance: Coronavirus (COVID-19): cancellation of GCSEs, AS and A levels in 2020 (20 March 2020)
Government News Story: Further update on 2020 exams (26 March 2020
We know this period of uncertainty continues to be a cause of anxiety for many of our pupils in Year 11. Therefore we will endeavour to let our pupils know if there is anything they need to do and we will explain how their grades are going to be awarded as soon as we feel secure in our own understanding.
In the interim period we have encouraged all of our pupils in Year 11 to stay in touch and to maintain the rhythm and momentum of learning just as they would have been doing in school at this critical time up until the end of May when the formal exam season would have been well underway. Our rationale for doing so is clear and we have given our pupils a choice. It is entirely their decision but we strongly recommend they work with us and cover the content of their current GCSE courses for the following reasons:
- This is an opportunity to lay down strong foundations and it will ensure they have the required life-long skills in literacy and numeracy;
- It is important that they continue to develop and nurture effective learning habits and exercise the 4Rs: reflectiveness, resilience, resourcefulness and reciprocity;
- The self-discipline they exercise now in managing their own learning will prepare them for further independent study or the workplace;
- They should regularly exercise their minds and keep their brains active; they should continue to be curious and pursue new lines of inquiry and cultivate areas of interest;
- We want them all to be confident and successful independent learners who enjoy learning for learning’s sake!
- They cannot afford to be passive: 6 months is too long to do nothing and it is important we all maintain routines!
- There may still be assessments in the autumn: we want our pupils to be ready if this is the case so that they can embrace all new challenges ahead.
It is evident that many understand the importance of doing so and we continue to be impressed by the exceptionally high number of pupils in Year 11 (93%) who have chosen to continue their learning with us. Their teachers are keen to support them and want to ensure they have the breadth of knowledge and depth of understanding that will enable them to progress seamlessly into the next stage of their learning. Pupils with subject specific questions can contact their teachers by email.
Pupils in Year 11 will receive their final Records of Achievement next week. These reports were written before school closed and the decision to cancel the summer examinations was made. Therefore, the grades shown may not be the grades they are finally awarded.
We still hope to be able to welcome Year 11s back for a celebration of their time with us and we aim to schedule a new date for our annual Leavers’ Ball. However, we cannot do so at the present time and, therefore, caution our pupils against purchasing gowns and making bookings for transport until a date is confirmed. Mr Bellamy, Associate Assistant Head, has arranged for pupils in Year 11 to purchase Leavers’ Hoodies from Prints & Threads directly as planned.
We also appreciate that many pupils in Year 11 have lockers at the school. Once we know a little more after Easter about how long this period of restriction of movement will last, we will contact pupils with instructions for clearing these out, returning keys and refunding deposits.
We have had several communications from different post 16 providers regarding their interview processes now that schools and colleges are closed. They have told us they are in the process of contacting the people who have applied to them for September, either over email or by telephone. Pupils in Year 11 should keep a watch on the contact email they provided in their applications. If pupils haven’t had any contact by the Easter holidays, we recommend they contact the post-16 provider directly. Pupils should let Miss Brace, Assistant Head, know if they need any assistance.
As a School, we are required to keep an accurate record of where our Year 11s go onto for three years after the completion of their GCSEs. Miss Brace will be sending all pupils in Year 11 a message through Show My Homework next week asking for information on where they are intending to go on to and a future contact email address. We will need to contact our Class of 2020 periodically over the next three years to update our records.