In March 2020 I sent a letter to Y11 I never thought I would have to write, informing them that their exams had been cancelled.
I now find myself in the position of having to write a similar letter again.
Yesterday the Secretary of State for Education confirmed that all examinations for Y11 pupils will not go ahead and will be replaced by teacher assessed grades. We do not have any more details at the moment and OFQUAL, the regulating body for exam boards, are now consulting on what this will mean for pupils in Y11.
Last night I made the decision that Y11 exams that were scheduled for this month will not go ahead as planned on the grounds of safety. Running these exams would mean bringing large groups of pupils into school, movement in the local community and an increased risk of transmitting the virus. I feel that the safest thing to do is to cancel your exams this month; examining bodies have given us the flexibility to do this and you will not be penalised.
You have already faced considerable disruption to your education, missing time in school during the spring 2020 lockdown and once more during the latest lockdown. Further to this, you have also had to miss time in school last term because of having to self-isolate. This is not what any of us at Archbishop Ilsley Catholic School wanted for you or for any pupil in the country.
I know the current situation is causing many of you huge anxiety and uncertainty. However, there are things we need you to do in order to ensure that when we receive instructions on awarding grades we are in a position to award a grade that is accurate and a true reflection of your achievements and progress. For this we will need as much evidence as possible.
It has never been as important as it is now for you to continue engaging in your remote learning and complete any coursework. Teachers will need as much evidence as possible to be able to award a grade for each of your subjects and you must complete the work that is being set during this lockdown. Should the exam boards ask for evidence, which is a possibility, we will need to have work that you have completed to send off. In the meantime, please do not ask your teachers about the grade you may be awarded in your subjects.
Many of you will also be thinking of returning to Archbishop Ilsley Catholic School next September to join our fantastic sixth form and some of you will be thinking about college places or employment. Remember that you will need knowledge and skills for the next step in your lives and engaging with your education now will only be of great advantage.
At present the timeframe for you to return to school is after February half-term. The government is keeping this under review and I will keep you updated with any developments.
Please ensure you continue working; your form tutors and teachers will be in touch with you and we are here if you need any further support.
It is my greatest wish that I see you all in person after the half-term break. Stay safe and look after yourselves.
Miss H Burrows