Exams and grades 2021 update

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Dear Parent/Carer

As you will be aware, exams have been cancelled and grades for GCSEs and BTECs will be awarded differently, again, this year. This may be referred to in the media as teacher assessed grades but this does not mean that your child’s teachers are actually awarding the grades. I am writing to you to let you know how this will be done.

There is a process across the whole country which involves a number of stages. It is defined by the Department for Education and the exams’ regulator, Ofqual is as follows:

  1. The grade students achieve will start with their teacher’s assessment of their performance across a range of evidence. This is against a nationally-defined standard, not the teacher’s own opinion. The exam boards will define the standards clearly before Easter.
  2. Departments will submit grades which must be moderated by at least two subject experts at Newhaven, then quality assured internally by the senior leadership team and signed off by Jon Kelly, the Head Teacher.
  3. Our school results will then be quality assured externally by the exam boards, which may include random sampling of our school or college’s evidence, to ensure it is rigorous and in line with national standards.
  4. If the exam boards are confident in our submitted results, then the exam boards will award students their final grades.
  5. If students do not think their results are accurate, they will have the right to appeal.

Teachers are able to draw on a range of assessment evidence from across a student’s study of the course, up until the end of May. This may include mock exams and papers set by the exam boards. This may include evidence from before the second lockdown, as well as evidence from March – June. The exam boards are producing assessment materials that will be sent to us before Easter. Different departments may use different sources of evidence, and there is no requirement for any one type of assessment to be used – it’s about a performance across a range of evidence. Teachers will be able to discuss which evidence they are using to inform their judgement with students, including marked or graded pieces of work. However, we are not allowed to disclose their final submitted grade we give to the exam board.

I would like to reassure you that because of the disruption to learning this year due to the pandemic, teachers will only assess students on content they have been taught. This means students will not be disadvantaged if they have been unable to complete their full course. There is still time to improve the evidence that we have and the best thing students can do now is to continue to attend classes, continue to learn and act on feedback from their teachers. Their grade will be based on their performance, and so their outcomes are ultimately in their hands.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact their subject teachers or info@newhaven.greenwich.sch.uk

Yours sincerely

Tracy Phillips
Assistant Head