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Buxton Community School

Buxton Community School

Update from Mr Yates - 26.02.2021

Please see below important update from Mr Yates including further information about the return to school and exam grading for the summer.

Dear Parent / Carer 

I'm writing today with two important updates. Firstly, I promised to write as soon as possible with an update around testing students for COVID-19 and their return to school and secondly, there's been a recent announcement for year 11 and 13 students about the awarding of grades in summer 2021.  

Reopening school and testing of students  

My priority is to reopen school to all students as quickly as possible and as safely as possible. To do this, I've taken the decision to prioritise time and resources to shorten the initial testing phase as much as possible and allow all students to return to face to face education at the earliest possible opportunity.  

What this means in practice is that we intend to test all students for the first time over four school days between Friday 5th of March and Wednesday 10th of March. All students will then be able to return full time to face to face learning in the classroom on Thursday 11th March. This is also the date of return for the small number for whom consent has not been provided or who will be unable to attend their initial appointment.  

We intend to bring in small groups of students across the four testing days. Whilst with us, we will also provide opportunities for pastoral leaders and form tutors to meet and speak with students to make sure they feel confident to return and to work with them on the routines and expectations we have for all students when they come back to school.  

What this will look like for your child is that they will be given a specific time to arrive for a test. They will be held in a fully socially distanced, well ventilated large space whilst they wait for their test; they will then move through our testing centre and into a second space which is again fully socially distanced. They will then wait for their test results with their form tutors and pastoral leads, who will have the opportunity to check in with them, make sure they feel comfortable and safe about returning and work with them on the routines and structures they will follow when they come back to school. You should anticipate that your child will be on site for around 60-90 minutes in total before returning home. They will then return full time to face to face teaching at 8:50 am on the 11th March. If your child tests positive we will contact you directly and arrange for them to be collected from school; if they test negative, they will be released from school to travel home.  

On the days between Monday 8th March and Wednesday 10th March, remote learning will be provided for all students who are not attending school to be tested. For example, if your child is due to be tested on Tuesday 9th March then they should remain at home on Monday 8th and Wednesday 10th and continue with remote learning before returning to school on Thursday the 11th of March. We have taken this decision to allow us to carry out first testing for as many students as possible and as quickly as possible so that we can return to full time face to face learning as soon as we can.  

Testing sequence 

We will write with specific times and locations for students to attend early next week but the overall sequence looks like this: 


Testing – Fri 5th March 

Remote Learning – Mon 8th, Tue 9th, Wed 10th March 

Return to face to face learning – 11th March 


Testing – Tue 9th & Wed 10th March 

Remote Learning – Mon 8th, Tue 9th or 10th March (1 day only opposite to allocated testing day) 

Return to face to face learning – 11th March 


Testing – Mon 8th March 

Remote Learning – Tue 9th, Wed 10th March 

Return to face to face learning – 11th March 


Testing – Mon 8th March 

Remote Learning – Tue 9th, Wed 10th March 

Return to face to face learning – 11th March 


Testing – Wed 10th March 

Remote Learning – Mon 8th, Tue 9th March 

Return to face to face learning – 11th March 


Testing – Tue 9th & Wed 10th March 

Remote Learning – Mon 8th, Tue 9th or Wed 10th March (1 day only opposite to allocated testing day) 

Return to face to face learning – 11th March 


Testing – Tue 9th March 

Remote Learning – Mon 8th, Wed 10th March 

Return to face to face learning – 11th March 

Please support us by providing consent and making sure your child attends school for the allocated session. Please remember: your child will be in school for a 60-90 min period on the designated test day and you will need to make sure they can safely travel to and from school. 

If you have not already completed a consent form, please do so by following this link:  

Details will be provided next week with the specific time your child needs to attend on their designated testing day. 

Mini school will continue to operate through to the 10th March and mini school students with consent will be tested at the same time as others in the same year group before returning to mini school (dependent on a negative test). 

All students will receive two further tests between the 11th and 19th March and will then begin home testing no earlier than the 22nd March and only after their third in school test. 

Exam Grading for summer 2021 – Year 13 and Year 11 

The outline of the process for allocating grades for summer 2021 have now been published by the national bodies. Overall, I'm comfortable with the process that is being suggested and I'm very pleased that the people who know your children best will be in control of much of the decision making around the grades that your children will receive. I trust our teachers and other staff implicitly to understand the progress that your children have made and to be able to accurately and reliably assess to what level they have been working.  

However, as always, there is much detail still to be released by the exam boards and other bodies about the evidence they wish us to consider, the time frames we are working within and the detailed process they want us to follow before we submit our recommended grades.  

Please be patient; we will discuss with you and your children exactly what we need from them to make sure that we can provide a fair and accurate grade for them in each of the subjects that they have studied. We have been told that it will be several weeks before all of the information that we need will be available.  

In the meantime, we are focused on welcoming your child back to school, making sure we understand fully the impact of the previous few months on their progress and supporting them in rapidly filling any gaps in their knowledge and understanding that they may have been left with. It is also very important that your child understands that the work they will do between their return and the final date that we need to submit information to the exam boards, can still significantly influence the overall grade that they reach this summer. 

Our subject leaders, pastoral leaders and subject specialists have clear and strong plans to make sure they make the most of every moment of learning we have left, and they will be able to support our students with what they need to be as successful as possible in the last few months of the school year. 

In return, please make sure your child attends school. Please make sure they understand that what they do after they return could be crucial in securing an improved grade and the outcome that helps them move on to the next step in their life. Please do not let them tell you that there is no point attending school without GCSE or A-level examinations to aim for or that what they're doing will have no benefit: this simply isn't true.  

I also understand just how difficult this year has been for examination cohorts. Your child can feel confident that we will be able to support them in a meaningful return to school and improve their understanding and knowledge of the subjects they've been studying in the time we have left and before any grades need to be finalised. No matter what has come before or how short the time we have left may feel, together we can still make a real difference.  

I've attached to this letter some information from Ofqual that outlines the broad process that will happen over the next few months to allocate grades to students. Much more information will be released over the next few days and weeks and I will make sure that both you and our students are regularly updated with what you need to know. The most important thing your child can do is return to school full time from the 11th March with a positive attitude and a willingness to keep improving. I know this might be hard after such a challenging time, please reinforce the positive messages with your children and trust we will do our best for all our students. 

Take care

Craig Yates  - Headteacher