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Buxton Community School

Buxton Community School

Update from Mr Yates - 01.04.2021

The following information was emailed out to parents/carers on the 1st April.

Dear Parent / Carer

I promised to write to you with an update on some Y11/Y13 specific issues and how the next couple of months will unfold for our young people. I have visited all of Y11 this morning to share the updates below and Mrs Cruse has updated the Y13 groups too.

We finally have some of the statutory updates from JCQ and other bodies about how the Y11/Y13 grades will be awarded in the summer. It is much as we anticipated and the preparatory work we have been carrying out for several months to make sure we are ready means I am confident that the exam board systems, coupled with the outstanding work of BCS staff will make sure that you child receives the grades they have earned this summer.

As you can imagine, assessing each student in each subject in the way we have been asked to is a staggeringly complex task and it is critical that we get every decision absolutely right. We will make sure that we have all the final pieces in place ready for when students return after Easter and there will be a comprehensive set of documents available to you explaining the process that we will undertake and what the students will experience. However, I thought you would appreciate a few broad updates on some key elements as soon as possible.

  • The final grades awarded will reflect your child’s holistic performance in each subject over the whole of the courses they have been studying. However, to support making the most accurate and appropriate judgement possible, Y11 and Y13 students will be assessed in a number of ways over the first few week after they return. The students have been told how and what they will be assessed on. I want to reassure that although some will be in the form of tests, many other types of assessment will also be used and we will absolutely not be trying to replicate the experience of a summer of GCSE or A-level examinations. These assessments are important but will only form a part of the evidence we will base our final grades on. It is important that your child attends regularly throughout the next half term as the work they carry out will all contribute to their final grades.
  • Please take care with the COVID restrictions over the break, although things are looking much more optimistic, if a child presents positive with COVID or is a close contact with someone else who tests positive, they will still need to self-isolate for 10 days. Although we have mechanisms to deal with this kind of occurrence, it would clearly be better for your child to be in school throughout the assessment period I have outlined above. Please do all you can to stay safe.
  • Please do not ask for the marks and grades of the assessments students will be participating in after the break. Teachers must not share marks or grades from the coming assessments or other evidence used as part of the final gradings. I have explained this to students today. I have also explained that teachers can and will continue to support students in improving their learning over the last few weeks. It is the detailed grades and marks we cannot share.
  • The government recognises that because of the deadlines they have set around submitting grades to the exam boards, that Y11 and Y13 students are likely to have finished meaningful learning in late May. This is also true here at BCS and I have decided that the Y11 and Y13 students school year will end on May 28th at the latest. This will in effect become their “leaving” date. What happens next depends on the pathway each student has chosen
    • Y11 – You have applied for a place at BCS Sixth Form. Students who have applied for a place with the Sixth Form from September will be brought back in to school after the May half term for 3 weeks until June 25th to join us as sixth formers and move in to Y12. We will work with them on transition in to Sixth Form, they will be taught key knowledge and skills in their new subjects to set them up for September and they will be supplied with some bridging activities to work on over the summer. We know they have had a difficult year and we want to make sure that they receive the best preparation possible for the next steps in their time at BCS. I am genuinely excited by the opportunity we are able to offer and I think it will really help secure a strong start as sixth formers at the end of difficult year. The initial response from students has been very positive and they are really looking forward to being the new Y12.
    • Y11 – You are not staying with BCS in Sept 2021. We will continue to support all our students with careers advice and guidance, learning support and pastoral support should they need it.
    • Y13 – there will be a number of opportunities for Y13 to continue with their preparation for university or other next steps in education. Mrs Cruse will update with further details
  • I am sure you will not be surprised to hear that the events of this year mean that it is not possible to hold our traditional Prom events for Y11 or Y13. I wanted to let you know as soon as possible to avoid any unnecessary expense or uncertainty. We will find a way to mark the leaving of each year group and I we will let you know what we have in mind closer to the time.

There will be much more information to come and I will make sure you are updated as soon as possible. Thank you all for your continued support for the school and the work we do. I would also like to thank you for the amazing job you do as parents support your child through everything that 2020-21 has thrown at them.

Take care

Craig Yates - Headteacher