Coronavirus response update - 03.04.20

3 April 2020

Firstly, thank you for your support during this unprecedented and usual period. We appreciate your patience and believe fully that the best way for us all to succeed is by working together. You are an important part of our college community and a key focus for your sons and daughters. Even though they are that little bit older, they still need your influence and steadying hand at times like these.  It is important to try find some time for rest and relaxation over the Easter holidays; spend some time with you family and friends, but virtually, of course! Remember the rules:

Stay at home

  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)
  • If you go out, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home
  • Do not meet others, even friends or family. You can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms.

Please refer to the information at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Today also marked the release of further information on the mechanism for the awarding of grades for A level, GCSE, EPQ and AEAs. Unfortunately, information about the awarding of grades on BTEC and other vocational courses is not included. This should be released next week. The advice can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/gcses-as-and-a-level-awarding-summer-2020. This also includes a letter to all students from Sally Collier, the Chief Regulator for Ofqual.

In summary, as a college we are required to provide the following information:

  • A centre assessment grade for each student in each subject. This is defined as the grade that each student is most likely to have achieved if they sat their exams. It is a professional judgement derived from evidence held within the centre and which has been reviewed by subject teachers and relevant Heads of Department.
  • The rank order of students within each grade. For example, for all those students assessed as grade B in a subject, a rank order where 1 is the most secure / highest attaining student and so on.
  • For A level biology, chemistry and physics, exam boards will also collect the grades for separate endorsements. If they have been completed, the grades should be submitted. If not, then centre assessment grades for the endorsement should be generated and submitted.

The centre assessed grades and rank orders will be sent to the exam boards. A number of statistical tests will be applied to ensure statistical standardisation. The models used with be standard across all exam boards and have been developed by Ofqual. The statistical model with take in to account:

  • Expected grade distributions at national level
  • Results in previous years at individual centre level
  • The prior attainment profile of students at centre level

This will not change the rank order of students within the subject in the centre, nor will it assume that the distribution of grades in each subject and/or centre should be the same. If, when compared to the evidence above, judgements are more generous than would be expected, then the final grades for some or all students will be adjusted down. Conversely, if it appears that judgements are more severe, then the final grades for some or all students will be adjusted up. This is to align the judgements across centres, so that, as far as possible, students are not unfairly advantaged or disadvantaged in the summer. This means that the centre assessment grades submitted and the final grade that students receive could be different.

Ofqual have decreed that centres must not, under any circumstances, share centre assessment grades nor the rank order of students with students or their parents / guardians /carers or any other individuals outside the centre. Please do not ask.

There will be a limited appeals process available for students; the details of this process will be made available at the time final results are issued. Students will be able to take their exams, should they choose to, in the autumn series (dates TBC) or in summer 2021. If they choose to do this, both grades will stand.

Results will be released as soon as possible. They will not be delayed beyond the dates they were expected in August. Ideally, these will be issued a little earlier so students will have the certainty they need.

We fully understand the anxiety felt by both you and your sons and daughters about examination grading. Rest assured, we will do our best and will take our responsibility in this process seriously.

In other news, to support our bursary and free college meals students, all eligible students will continue to receive their bursary payments, topped up with the free college meals element, for the whole of the Easter break.

That’s it for today. There will be further updates after the Easter break. 

Take care, look after yourself, your families and each other; be patient and stay positive.

Anton

Principal