Update Regarding GCSE and A Level Exams 2020

Dear Year 11 and 13 Parents / Carers

I hope you and your families are well and keeping safe. I have contacted all year 11 and year 13 students directly today. I know this has been a really challenging and difficult time for them once it was announced that their external exams would not be going ahead but once again, I would like to praise how they have handled this whole situation.

Today, Ofqual have released details on how GCSE, A Levels and other qualifications will be awarded this summer. We have to make sure that the process is as fair and as accurate as possible, given these unprecedented circumstances. School staff will be asked to submit their judgement about the grade each student would have achieved if the exams had gone ahead this summer. We will apply the guidelines issued today professionally and with integrity. All staff will work together so that the process is fully moderated and above all, fair. The guidelines require us to look at prior data (such as KS2 data for year 11 students and GCSE results for year 13), internal assessments that have taken place throughout their courses, mock exams and any other additional tests or evidence.

The Department for Education will check and moderate what we submit to make sure standards are maintained and are in line with previous years. For example, they will look at each school’s past trends in results, of which Alsager’ s are very good. They will make sure that national pass rates and national %’s achieved in each grade are also in line with previous year’s. This is to prevent some schools suddenly having 20% of its students achieving a grade 9, for example, whereas previously it had only been 2%. At Alsager we have always had excellent results but also a good spread of grades. This means we will be able to award top grades but equally, we will also award grades at the lower end. This is fair and the right thing to do for everyone. I want to reassure every student and parent / carer that the grades achieved this summer will be indistinguishable from those achieved in previous years. The cohorts of 2020 will in no way be disadvantaged by this process and their results will be just as valid as those achieved by any other cohort.

Historically, Alsager staff have been very accurate in making projections. On results days, we rarely see surprises. Students get the grades that they deserve and have been working towards for the majority of the course. However, if your child and you feel that they would have achieved a higher grade than the one awarded, they will be given an opportunity to sit a GCSE exam in the autumn term. For this reason, please keep make sure your son / daughter keeps all their GCSE notes and exercise books. There will also be some students who will be awarded a grade 3 or lower in English / maths and so will need to re-sit these subjects as per government guidelines. I would like to remind all parents / carers that staff or the school cannot and will not be influenced by any student or parental requests when it comes to the awarding of grades. Please do not try to put pressure on staff, such requests will be ignored. There are further details on this awarding process and a link to today’s Ofqual guidance in our Frequently Asked Questions, click the link for details.

After today (Friday 3rd April), teachers will no longer be setting work for year 11 and year 13 students. Rather, after the Easter holidays on Monday 20th April, staff will be suggesting 6th form preparation tasks for year 11 and further reading or research tasks for year 13. Details will follow on 20/4/20.

Year 11 parents / carers – please be reassured that we have a place in our 6th form for all our students. Many will have received offer letters already and if they would still like to apply for a place in our 6th form please contact Mrs Rowlands on p.rowlands@alsagerschool.org or for other post 16 pathways, employment and apprenticeships please contact Mrs Casewell on C.Casewell@alsagerschool.org

Year 13 – we have to apply this grading guidance and follow specific criteria. For some students this may mean that they do not achieve the grades to automatically secure your place at university (this happens on regular results day too). The 6th form team will, as always, be there to help you with post 18 choices and decisions.

I hope this all makes sense and I have informed year 11 and 13 that we will try and hold some sort of celebration once all this is over.

Please take care of yourselves and your families

Best wishes

Richard Middlebrook

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