It is our intention for parents of current students to be able to access any generic documents that have been sent home, either by email or via students.
Adjustments to A Level and BTEC/CTECH Assessment
There have been several government announcements about A level and BTEC/CTECH assessments for Summer 2021. The fine detail has yet to be decided, but the government’s key principle is that summer exams will go ahead. However, there are some adjustments to normal processes and the main decisions are summarised as follows:
- The exam assessment window has been pushed back by approximately three weeks to run from 7th June to 2nd July (there are some very limited exceptions which will start earlier on 26th May);
- Exam boards will provide advance notice of some topics to be tested, to enable students to focus their revision effectively;
- Exam aids such as formula sheets or texts will be provided in some subjects, though exact details of what this will look like are still being decided;
- BTEC/CTECH subjects may have some adjustments to the number of units to be assessed to ensure parity with the adjustments being made to A levels;
- Exam boards will award grades on a more generous basis this year to bring outcomes into line with the grades awarded nationally in summer 2020;
- Exam results will be published on Tuesday 24th August.
We don’t yet know how quickly the situation with Covid19 may improve over the next few months as the vaccine is rolled out. However, it is probably inevitable that some students across the country will miss some or all elements of an assessment in June. This will be either because they test positive for Covid19 themselves, or because they are identified as a close contact with a positive individual. Provided that the reason for absence is legitimate and evidenced, the government have announced contingency plans for these students as follows:
- If a student completes only part of the required assessment, then we can apply for special consideration, and the exam board will calculate a grade for this subject based on the student’s performance on the papers and/or coursework elements that they were able to complete.
- If a student misses all papers for a particular subject, then there will be a separate contingency exam which will consist of a single paper in July – this assessment window will run from 28th June to 16th July. Clearly, we won’t know in advance which students may need to make use of this opportunity, so please avoid booking any family holidays until after the 16th July just in case your son/daughter needs to sit an exam in this period.
- In the unfortunate situation that a student misses all their papers, including the contingency paper, then a validated teacher grade may be used to award a grade instead.
These government decisions have helped inform our planning for the mock exam period in January. We want students to have a realistic experience of sitting exams in the exam suite, particularly since they did not have this opportunity at the end of year 1. Also, if we did need to provide a ‘validated teacher grade’ in the summer, then a mock exam sat in controlled conditions and marked to exam board criteria would form a key piece of evidence to inform that grade. Students therefore need to take these exams seriously and prepare for them as thoroughly as possible.
Clearly, we need to run these mock exams in a Covid-secure way and so we have made a few key changes to our usual arrangements:
- We have spaced the students and exams out over a slightly longer period, so the mock assessments will run from Tuesday 5th Jan to Wednesday 13th Jan inclusive.
- To ensure that we minimise the number of potential contacts that students have in this period, we have designated this as study leave for year 2 students on A level or mixed programmes of A level/BTEC courses only.
- Year 2 students only need to attend for their mock exams in this period and should then return home to continue their revision and complete any other work set by their teachers. The exceptions are as follows:
- Extended Diploma students of Applied Science, Art & Design, Fashion, and Photography will continue to attend all lessons as usual since they have no exam assessments in their course.
- Year 2 students who are also studying year 1 subjects should attend their year 1 lessons as usual, unless a lesson clashes with a mock exam in which case they should attend the mock.
- Normal lessons for this group will resume on Thursday 14th Jan which will be week 2 of our timetable pattern.
Students received details about the arrangements in tutorial last week, but for your information the key messages were:
- Individual timetables are available now on ProPortal – students should check these now for dates, times, room and seat numbers – all exams will take place at English Bridge Campus
- To avoid crowding outside the exam rooms we are asking students to wait in larger ‘holding areas’ to enable social distancing, before being collected to go down to the exam rooms on the lower ground floor:
- exam rooms W012 or W013 should go to wait in the Hall at English Bridge Campus;
- exam rooms W014 or W015 should go to wait in the Sports Hall at English Bridge Campus;
- all other exam rooms should go straight down to the exam suite and wait outside the relevant room.
- Students should maintain social distance and wear their face coverings whilst in the holding areas and while travelling to and from the exam rooms – they can remove their mask once they are sat at their exam desk unless they wish to keep it on.
- Students should bring the minimum baggage with them as there is limited space to leave bags during the exams.
- Windows will need to be open for ventilation due to Covid19 so rooms are likely to be cold. Please advise students to dress warmly in several layers; coats won’t be able to be worn due to exam regulations.
Absences should be reported each day, preferably before 10am.
The College’s reporting response to student absence from lessons is via a text messaging system, which is designed to inform you if your son or daughter misses any College commitments. An automated text will be sent to your agreed mobile number after 1pm on any day where a commitment has been missed that morning and also 6pm when a commitment has been missed that afternoon (if we have not received contact from you before the lesson begins to explain the absence.)
You are welcome to contact the College, following receipt of a text, where routine information, e.g. which lesson/s your son or daughter was absent from, can be provided by the student's Personal Tutor.
Who should you contact?
If you have any concerns regarding your son/daughter’s progress at College, please contact their Progression Specialist (for students following vocational study programmes) or Student Support Tutor (for students following academic study programmes).
Emails from Shrewsbury Colleges Group and ProPortal
If the College is closed unexpectedly due to severe weather or other any other incident, a notification will be made via Radio Shropshire, the College website, Parent Portal, Moodle and social media channels (Facebook and Twitter if appropriate).
It is vital that the College has up to date contact details for the students and their primary contacts. If you have changed your address, telephone number, email address or mobile number please contact College to inform us.