GCSE grading summer 2021 update 

Dear Parent/Guardian

Re: GCSE grading summer 2021 update 

Since we wrote to you informing you of the outcome of the Ofqual consultation we have had some further clarity about the process for awarding GCSE grades this summer, although we are still waiting for subject resource packs to be released by examination boards. We hope the following information as well as the attached infographic and presentation video are useful and answer some questions you may have prior to parents evening this Wednesday.

The exam boards will be asking us as a school to indicate the GCSE grade students should receive based on a portfolio of evidence. Students will only be assessed on what they have been taught, and whilst learning and assessments conducted remotely can be used as part of this portfolio, students will not be disadvantaged if this is not their best work.  

Our teachers, who know your child best, will consider the evidence they have of their learning from across the whole GCSE course and this means assessments from Year 9 and 10 may be included as well. We have been able to begin the process of collating evidence we already have in all subjects and will be sending out a list of what this evidence looks like just before Easter. This is so that you and your child know the evidence used so far and can see what areas they may need further assessments to help secure/uplift their GCSE grade.

We will also let you/your child know what assessments will be taking place after Easter and the content of these so they can prepare in advance. In some instances students may be allowed notes and revision resources to support them - this will vary depending on the subject and purpose of the assessment. This is obviously different to the usual approach to GCSE exams, but is designed to minimise the impact of the last 12 months and ensure all students are not disadvantaged by this.

If students are completing/have completed Non-Examination Assessment (NEA) in a subject, this will also be used as part of the evidence portfolio. If your child(ren) has access arrangements these will be taken into account in this process too. We will also be taking into consideration anything that may have impacted a students’ achievement in assessments throughout years 9, 10 and 11 since these are forming part of our evidence base.

Your child may have their work marked by a different teacher or be asked to use their candidate number rather than their name on any new assessments. These are some of the steps we will be taking to minimise subconscious bias in the grade awarding process.  We will also have multiple moderation opportunities taking place. This is where two or more members of staff review evidence portfolios together to agree a grade. These will take place between teachers, Subject Leaders, Directors of Learning and SLT. In addition to this, we may be subject to a spot check by exam boards; this would be unannounced and would involve an independent check of all the evidence grades are based upon. Therefore the grade issued to your child(ren) for each of their GCSEs will ultimately be a centre assessed grade that will reflect the evidence seen. 

GCSE results day is now on Thursday 12th August and further information about this will be sent to you after Easter. This will include plans for if you/your child(ren) are not able to attend on this day to collect your results as well as details of their final weeks in school.

The important message is that we are all working to ensure that our students, your child(ren) will not be disadvantaged as a consequence of the extraordinary circumstances over the last 12 months. There is a lot they can do in the coming weeks that will still make a difference to their grades. Please help us by encouraging your child(ren) to demonstrate their knowledge, understanding and skills at every opportunity given to them and to continue to work hard in lessons and on self-study tasks.

Our priority is to ensure that the GCSE grades students are awarded mean they can continue their education and move on as planned to the next stage of your life; start college, sixth form courses or an apprenticeship in the Autumn.  

Yours faithfully

Mrs N Cowan

Deputy Headteacher