7th January 2021
Dear Parent/Carer of Y11,
Like you, I was waiting for some clarity about what will happen to exams this year as both my children are in exam years and neither will now sit exams! Unfortunately we do not yet have absolute clarity about what will happen for them – but we do know that Teacher Assessment will be the central process this year, as last.
I have emailed all Y11 students today directly to let them know that this means they need to make the most of this chance to build evidence of what they can do, in all subjects, ready for assessment. It is possible that this year their work will be compared with others in others schools or areas as we try to make sure the grades awarded are fair – and it is likely that we will need to run some form of assessed activities for them as a way of gathering evidence alongside using all the work and evidence from all their lessons. This means that the best thing we can all do as parents of students in these exam year groups is exactly the same as in any normal year; make sure they are focussed, attending lessons (online) and doing the work set. To help with this:
Try to make sure they stay in a routine, getting up at a similar time to normal, getting enough sleep and eating well
If you can, then allowing them a quiet place to work in the house is really helpful
Keeping an eye on their social interactions – normally I discourage too much social media time, but in lockdown I think helping them to have some time to stay in touch with friends is important – just monitor it and make sure their exchanges are friendly and they are avoiding any negativity
Talk to them regularly about schoolwork – and about the things they like, their friends, their plans for the future – so that you can keep an eye on their mental wellbeing and so that they do not withdraw too far into isolation, especially now
Don’t let them panic if they can’t get online or if the internet is slow – they can walk away, try to re-join after a few minutes or even catch up the lesson later.
Finally, even with this uncertainty, the most important thing is that they do not give up – every lesson still counts, possibly more so – but to some extent the anxiety that exams can cause is now relieved, so with patience and hard work, they could turn this into an incredible opportunity.
Y11 have attended online extremely well so far – huge thanks to all of you for making that possible for them. You are all doing a great job, keep it up, try not to worry about the things beyond our control at the moment, and stay safe.