St John Plessington Catholic College

15-Nov-21 Yr 11 Exams

Dear Year 11 Families

I’m writing to you following the publication of guidance for schools on contingency arrangements for students entering GCSE qualification in summer 2022

The Department for Education and Ofqual have decided as a matter of policy that although the government is firmly committed to exams going ahead in summer 2022, there needs to be a contingency plan in place for the unlikely event that exams have to be cancelled again because of the pandemic. If exams have to be cancelled in summer 2022, students’ grades would instead be determined by their teachers, using a Teacher Assessed Grades (TAGs) approach similar to that used in summer 2021. TAGs would be based on teachers’ assessment of their students’ work. Detailed information on how TAGs would be determined in summer 2022 will only be published if exams are cancelled. 

In the meantime, teachers should teach and assess their students similarly to how they normally would, and in line with the guidance issued by the Department for Education and Ofqual, to gather the evidence they would use to determine TAGs, in case they are needed. 

Student awareness

Students must be told before they take each assessment that their performance in it would be used as part of the evidence to determine a TAG if exams are cancelled. Wherever possible, this information should be given sufficiently far in advance of the assessment to allow students time to revise and prepare.

Students should be told which parts of the subject content will be covered by the assessment, but they should not be told the questions in advance or be able to predict the questions from information given to them. This means that students should not, for example, be assessed using past papers from one particular year spread over three assessment points, as students would be able to predict the questions they would be answering in the later assessments. Teachers setting assessments after the advance information for the summer 2022 exams has been published, should take that advance information into account when deciding how to assess their students. They should make their students aware of the fact that they have done so prior to their assessments.

In exceptional circumstances, it might be necessary for assessments that were not undertaken in line with this guidance to be used to inform a TAG, for example where a student misses the later assessments because of illness. In such cases the student might not have been told in advance of taking the assessment that their performance might be used to inform a TAG. Guidance will be provided on this if exams are cancelled.

With this in mind, it is really important that your son/daughter revises seriously and thoroughly for the forthcoming trial examinations which are due to start on Monday 29th November including the Spanish speaking assessments. Mr Nunnery will be writing to you with precise information about the arrangements for these examinations. Please be assured that we are very much aware that our Year 11 students have not sat many examinations in formal exam conditions and we will support and encourage them throughout. 

Please take the time to read the following letter to students from Jo Saxton, Ofqual’s Chief Regulator:

There will be a meeting for Year 11 parents and students on Wednesday 1st December where we will provide further information, Mr Nunnery will send details very shortly. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact school should you have any queries or concerns.

Yours sincerely

Ms M Sharratt