20th March - y11 & y13 update

Dear Year 11 or 13 student / parents / carers.

Yesterday I wrote to you to confirm that this year’s summer exam series, including A levels, GCSEs and other qualifications, will not now take place.

The Government and Ofqual have now released preliminary details of how grades will be awarded. This will ensure that you will get the qualifications you need to progress to the next stage in your education, training or employment, including starting university, sixth form or apprenticeships in the autumn.

The exam regulator, Ofqual, and exam boards will work with teachers to provide grades to students whose exams have been cancelled.

This means ensuring all GCSE, A and AS level students are awarded a grade which fairly reflects the work that they have put in.

Ofqual is developing and setting out a process that will provide a calculated grade to each student in each subject which reflects their performance as fairly as possible.

The exam boards will be asking teachers, who know their students well, to submit their judgement about the grade that they believe the student would have received if exams had gone ahead.

To produce this grade, teachers will take into account a range of evidence and data including performance in mock exams, but also non-exam assessment. Schools will get clear guidance on how to do this fairly.

The exam boards will then combine this information with other relevant data, including prior attainment, and use this information to produce a final calculated grade for each student.

The aim is to provide these final calculated grades to students before the end of July.

These grades will be treated in exactly the same way as GCSE, BTEC and A level grades provided in other years. Employers, sixth forms and universities will be expected to accept them in the normal way. Universities, in particular, have been asked to be flexible and do all they can to support students and ensure they can progress to higher education.

Your teachers are now waiting to receive the final guidance from exam boards. You can help them by continuing to complete the work set on TEAMS and E-Praise for now. Your latest, best work may be required to contribute to a final judgement on awarding your grade.

There will be an appeal process if students feel that the correct process to award their final calculated grade in a subject was not followed.

In addition, there will be an option to sit an exam early in the next academic year, or in the summer of 2021 for students who wish to. We do not have any further details of this at the moment.

I hope that this information does something to relieve the pressures that you are feeling. I only wish that I could have given you this news in person, and that the Hanley Castle staff team could have helped support you through this face to face.

However, we are all here to continue to support you as best we can. Please contact us if you need help, advice or support:


We have not forgotten you just because we cannot see you at present

In addition, following contacts from a number of students (thank you especially, Kieran S!), I can reassure you that when the present situation has passed and it is safe to do so, there will be an opportunity for both Year 11 and Year 13 to get together as year groups and to celebrate with their teachers and other staff the end of this stage in your school careers. We have, of course, had to cancel the Year 11 Prom, but we will make sure there is something special to look forward to.

There will be better times ahead for all of us, and I wish you all the very best over the coming weeks.

On behalf of myself, the Sixth Form and Key Stage 4 teams, and all of the staff at Hanley Castle, our very best wishes.

Yours sincerely

Lindsey Cooke

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