9th Mar 2021

Year 11 Virtual Information Evening

This event was live on the 25th of March and has now ended. Please see the recording of the event below.

Thank you to those who submitted questions throughout the evening. We have included these questions and their corresponding answers below.

Frequently Asked Questions from Year 11 Information Evening –
25th March 2021
  1. When is the last day in school for year 11 and what will happen after the deadline for submission of Centre Assessed Grades (18th June)?

    At the time of the year 11 information evening, we were awaiting further guidance from the Department for Education.

    Further guidance was published on 26th March, which can be found here. In summary, the final date that year 11 are legally required to attend school is Friday 25th June 2021. The guidance also provides that schools ‘should make appropriate judgements on the activities for their own pupils, which might not mean full-time provision and could include visits to education providers, independent study or remote provision combined with attendance in person.’

    In-light of this guidance, we are reviewing all options and will update students and parents when we have further information regarding the provision for year 11 and required attendance during the summer term.
  2. Why are we not able to deliver a year 11 Prom this summer?

    We have discussed this at great length, both internally as a school and reaching out to other schools to hear what they are doing. We know that the Prom is a rite of passage for our students and if there was any way that we felt we were able to deliver a Prom in the traditional format, we would do. However, in the current climate, with national restrictions only just tentatively being lifted, limits on gatherings such as weddings and funerals, and the government’s own roadmap being very much an aim rather a commitment, we felt that we could not justify planning an event in which up to 178 students and many staff are in the same venue.

    We do not feel comfortable allowing a situation where families are starting to spend money on expensive outfits, booking limos or other flashy modes of transport, for an event that may very well be cancelled. We also have to consider financial liability for the school – if students had to self-isolate or were ill, they may expect a refund. If a significant number of staff were required to self-isolate we would not be able to staff the event.

    We will keep this under review, and are considering a range of options for alternative ways to formally mark the end of year 11. It is important to realise, however, that restrictions may mean that like last year, we are unable to provide any formal occasion or celebration.
  3. Can SCOPAY be used to pay for Year Books?

    If your child has lunch money on their account, which they are not going to use, we are able to use this credit to pay for the Year Books. Please email admin@testbourne.school to request this.
  4. Why are we continuing with mock exams when other schools are not?

    The guidance allows schools the flexibility to reflect the range of contexts, taking into account the wide variation in the amount of time that schools in different regions have had to remain closed.

    Our focus has always been on ensuring that we are assessing our students fairly, and we feel that providing the opportunity for students to sit formal exams in a mock exam setting is the best way to do this. The formality of the mock exam period ensures that all students who are entitled to access arrangements are catered for, the silent exam conditions ensure that all students can focus and the timetable ensures that most exams are completed in a single session rather than having to split papers across several different lessons.

    The latest mocks are a vital opportunity for students to demonstrate any progress and improvements they have made since the last mock exams before Christmas.
  5. What happens if I have a bad day on one of the mock exam days, or if I am unwell?

    Mock exams are just one piece of evidence being taken into consideration when determining centre assessed grades. Although the guidance is clear that the most recent evidence should carry greater weight, we are able to take a more holistic approach to determining the grades compared with the traditional GCSE exam model in which all is determined by performance on a single day.

    If students are required to self-isolate during the mock exam period but are feeling well, we will arrange for students to complete the mock exams at home and they will be required to sign a document to confirm that their work is their own. If students are very unwell during the mock exams, they should notify us immediately and we will follow the guidance from Ofqual regarding special considerations, just as in normal examination times. As a range of evidence can be used to determine centre assessed grades, JCQ state that instances of special consideration should be limited.
  6. Do students have to wear masks during the mock exams?

    We will follow the guidance as it stands at the time of the mock exams. The current guidance makes clear that masks should be worn by all secondary school students and teachers unless medically exempt, so unless the guidance changes, this will apply throughout the mock exams also. This guidance is due for review over the Easter break and we are expecting an announcement to be made by the government before we return to school. As always, we will base any decisions on a thorough risk assessment process.
  7. How many appeals did we have last year?

    We had a small number of requests for a clerical check of data, which were all confirmed to be accurate. We did not have any further appeals. We had one student who opted to sit the Autumn exam series in English and Maths. We had a small number of students who required a particular grade to access specific courses at post 16, and we were able to write to the colleges to provide endorsement, where appropriate. In all cases, all students achieved entry to their preferred destination after they left us.
  8. Do students have to attend the Easter virtual clinics?

    No! These are entirely optional and designed to be a supportive measure.
  9. Is it true that students will be able to access the exam board assessments and mark schemes online?

    As there is an open window for schools to be able to access these assessments online, this creates the inevitable opportunity for leaks. To ensure fairness, exam boards have decided to publish all materials after Easter. The exam boards have justified this decision by explaining that there will be so many resources available that it will be impossible for students to predict which are going to be used within their school setting.

If you have any further queries, please do contact admin@testbourne.school.