Dear Parents/ Carers
I would like to begin by thanking you for the support you have given our Year 11 students and the school throughout this academic year. The exam season will begin in earnest on Monday 16th May and this will be an intense, but exciting time for both students and staff so your continued support will be very much appreciated.
As the exam season is running during the Covid pandemic, a number of steps have been taken by the examining bodies to support candidates including:
• advance information on the focus of examinations for most subjects to help candidates revise;
• provision of support materials for some examinations (formulae and equation sheets);
• changes to non-examination assessment and fieldwork requirements in some subjects;
• optional content in some GCSE specifications;
• generous grading in comparison to the June 2019 examination series, providing a safety net for candidates;
• a minimum of ten days between the first and last examination in each GCE AS, A-level and GCSE specification, which will reduce the chance of a candidate missing all examinations in a subject because of illness.
This is a new procedure for this academic year designed to ensure that students can achieve their qualifications by sitting all of their examinations, as would be the case in pre Covid academic years. We expect that students attend all of their examinations and they must arrive in school at 8.50am when they have a morning exam. This will facilitate a prompt start to examinations.
If your child is demonstrating symptoms of Covid (e.g. a high temperature, continuous cough), or is genuinely unwell during the exam season, then you should telephone the school as a matter of urgency (Press 1 when the recorded message tells you to do so), or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be able to offer guidance and support in relation to each individual notified case. UKHSA guidance (April 1st, 2022) clearly states that students should come into school to sit examinations if they have cold like symptoms, so long as they do not have a high temperature. Students can also come into school if there is a Covid positive result in the household.
If you have any questions about the arrangements for examinations for students affected by Covid, please contact Mr Cuomo (Headteacher) or myself, Mr Hutchinson. Furthermore, if your child’s performance in their examinations has been disadvantaged in any way through the exam period (e.g. due to illness, bereavement, domestic crisis) and you think your child may be eligible for special consideration, please contact Mr Collins. The special consideration process will need evidence to support an application and is not guaranteed to change the result of a child’s examination positively.
In order to support your child with their GCSE examinations, you will find below the link to the “Revision and Exam Timetable”
Students will receive a paper copy of this document which explains where ‘breakfast’ and in-school revision sessions take place, along with the times when examinations will start. Please encourage your child to attend as many ‘breakfast’ sessions as they can, as these will supplement the independent revision your child is undertaking, to allow them to be fully prepared for each examination they sit. Personally, I would be placing this document on the fridge or somewhere that is a central point in the household. In this way, everyone knows which examinations are coming up and the manner in which your child’s study across the week needs to be distributed.
There are a number of resources on the school’s VLE
(https://ascatholicacedemy.sharepoint.com/sites/AllsaintsVLE) that will support your child’s preparation for examinations. Each subject page contains knowledge organisers, past exam questions and topic lists, which help students understand what they need to revise. Furthermore, each student will have their exercise books and the revision resources they have produced throughout their Key Stage Four studies, to support with their revision. We would expect that students are spending at least 2 hours on revision at the end of a school day (attendance at school interventions would be included in this) and your child should have a revision timetable that clearly allocates time to revise, rest as well as take part in other hobbies, so a healthy medium is found during the exam season. If you need any advice on how to support your child in creating an exam timetable, please contact Mr Collins (Year Progress Leader for Year 11) at email@example.com.
Your child does need to be prioritising their revision but they will also need to be encouraged to take regular breaks. Self-care is going to be very important throughout this period as the examination season is long and demanding. It is absolutely natural for your child to be worried or anxious about their upcoming examinations and results; at school we have encouraged students to try and reframe that narrative so they start to look forward to their examinations and build up their self-belief so any way this can be reinforced at home would be fantastic. Checking your child is getting a good night’s sleep before their examinations, eating a healthy and substantial breakfast on the day of their exam, and that their routine remains regular are crucial throughout this exam period.
It is wonderful to see the range of talent across the year group and I know that the vast majority of our students are working incredibly hard in the preparation for their examinations. Many of our students have already demonstrated some excellent work, either as part of their assessed pieces for coursework in a number of subjects or in their Art portfolios. As the exam season lasts up to six weeks for some of our students, praising their continued efforts will be very important for their confidence and stamina, so please help us to do this by acknowledging the efforts of your as they prepare for and sit these vitally important examinations.
Again, thank you for all of your support in terms of getting our Year 11 students ready for their GCSE’s.
Mr C Hutchinson
(Acting Deputy Headteacher)