GCSE and A-Level Examinations 2020
We are writing to you following the national announcement last week that the examinations you had expected to take in May and June this academic year will now not take place. We know this caused huge disappointment for so many of you and we would like to thank you for the way you supported each other in your schools. We would also like to thank all of the school staff across our trust who supported students last week.
The Department for Education has said that the exam regulator and exam boards will work with teachers to provide grades to students whose exams have been cancelled this summer
We have summarised below the most up to date information we have for you as a 'series of questions and answers'. Please be aware that we expect to get more details regarding this national approach during the coming weeks and days. Schools will update students and parents regularly.
I was expecting to take my GCSE or A Level examinations this summer. Will I now get a grade for each of the subjects I have studied and what will this be based on?
The Department for Education has said there will be a process that will provide a calculated grade to each student which reflects your performance in all your subjects as fairly as possible. Teachers nationally will work with exam boards, reviewing a range of evidence and data. The exam boards will then combine this information with other relevant information nationally to produce the calculated grades.
Will I be disadvantaged in the future if my qualifications are based on calculated grades?
The Department for Education have been keen to reassure students and they have said that 'in terms of a permanent record, the grades will be indistinguishable from those provided in other years.' They have also said that 'we will aim to ensure that the distribution of grades follows a similar pattern to that in other years'. This means that approximately the same number of students will be awarded each grade^as in any other academic year.
When will I be awarded my calculated grades?
The aim of the Department for Education is that calculated grades will be issued to students before the end of July 2020.
What if I am not happy with my calculated grades?
The Department for Education has said 'if students do not feel their calculated grade reflects their performance, they will have the opportunity to sit an exam at the earliest reasonable ODportunity, once schools are open again'. In addition to this, students will also have the option to sit their exams in summer 2021. If you feel the correct process for calculated grades has not been followed in your case, you will be able to appeal on that basis.
Should I contact my teachers about this?
No, please do not contact teachers about calculated grades; this is because your teachers will not know your final calculated grades in any subject until national publication (currently planned for July 2020). If schools and teachers require additional information they will contact you directly.
I am taking BTECs or other vocational qualifications. What will happen with these?
The Education Secretary Gavin Williamson gave additional information for those completing vocational qualifications '...in many cases students will already have completed modules or non-exam assessment which could provide evidence to award a grade. We are encouraging these organisations to show the maximum possible flexibility and pragmatism to ensure students are not disadvantaged.' We expect more detail regarding individual vocational qualifications to be released by exam boards.
Should I continue studying the content of my GCSE, A Level or other courses?
Yes. It is very important that you continue to study and revise the full content of your courses and your teachers will continue to supply you with work. This is because you may be unhappy with your final calculated grades and wish to take an exam once schools reopen. You may also decide to sit examinations in 2021. It will also be important to ensure you have covered and revised the full course content of your GCSEs, A Levels and other qualifications to enable you to have the broad knowledge you need for your own future education and career choices.
As students you are facing a situation with your qualifications which has many unknown elements. Teachers and school leaders across the whole country want to do everything they can to support you. We know students may be feeling anxious or worried about qualifications and we will upload support information onto school websites to help you with this.
We wish you the very best in your studies over the next period of time; it will not be 'the norm', and will depend on your personal desire to achieve as best as you can.
Chief Executive Officer, St Thomas Aquinas Catholic Multi-Academy Trust
Principal, English Martyrs' Catholic School