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Holmleigh Park High School

Letter regarding Year 11 and 13 Exams

A letter to all Year 11 and 13 students, regarding GCSEs and A Levels

Dear Year 11 and 13 students,

cc. Year 11 and 13  parents and carers,

We wanted to write to you directly. The Prime Minister announced yesterday evening that GCSEs and A Levels won’t take place this summer in the normal fashion. Instead, there will be alternative arrangements.

We don’t yet know what these alternative arrangements will be, but it is reasonable to expect that teachers will be asked to assess performance using classwork, homework, coursework, mock exam results and other evidence. There may also be some assessments to sit in the summer, although these will not be full GCSE or A Level exams. We are not yet sure what will happen with BTECs. 

I know that this will be incredibly disappointing for many of you. The government had consistently told students, parents and teachers that exams would be going ahead, and we all planned on this basis. Your year groups were on track to be – by some margin – the most successful in the school’s history.

But once the shock has worn off, I’d like you to remember three important things. I hope these will provide some reassurance:

  1. Your hard work will still be recognised. None of the effort you have put in this year will have been wasted. We will fight to make sure that the progress you have made is fairly rewarded, and that your grades reflect the school’s improvement in the last two years.

  2. Your eventual results will be indistinguishable from real exams. In the long run, it won’t matter that your grades were awarded a different way. You will still be able to go on to Sixth Form, University, or an Apprenticeship. None of your ambitions for the future should be affected by this decision.

  3. The new system will be fair and balanced. Grades will be awarded based on objective evidence. Any grades that your teachers set will be moderated carefully, to ensure they are consistent within and between schools. If any parent or student were to be disappointed with their eventual grade, we expect there to be a mechanism to appeal and take a follow-up exam in the autumn, just as there was last time.

Finally, and most importantly, please remember that exams are only a way of measuring what you know. The real reason you come to school is to learn, not to pass an exam. None of this changes the value of all the knowledge and skills you have picked up, and will continue to pick up for the rest of the year.  

I know it is asking a lot, on top of all the uncertainty and disappointment, but you must take these points on board and keep going. I know you will be shocked and disappointed today – anyone would be in your position. But in the long run, things will work out. We will continue to set lessons for you up until your scheduled end of the year. For now, all we ask is that you turn up to every online lesson, you keep working hard, and that you remember that every piece of work you complete makes a difference.

I will, of course, keep you updated as things progress. For now, I want you to know that every member of staff here is thinking of you all, and that we have your backs.

Best wishes,

Mr Farmbrough, Headteacher         

Mrs Marsden-Green, Assistant Headteacher - Sixth Form  

Ms Leech, Assistant Headteacher - Raising Standards


PS - Vocational exams scheduled for January are due to go ahead. If this affects you, you will receive further information today.