As you will be aware, the government announced earlier this month that GCSE and A level exams will not take place this summer. I know that this news will have caused you disappointment and anxiety. You have worked very hard under extremely difficult circumstances. You have suffered months of disruption due to the pandemic and need your achievements to be fairly recognised.
I am writing to reassure you and to explain what will happen next.
Ofqual (the organisation that controls examinations and qualifications in England) is carrying out a national consultation on how grades should be awarded. You can read more about the consultation here. Students and parents are welcome to give their views. The consultation concludes on 29th January. We already know that your grades will be worked out by your teachers. They will look at a range of evidence including assessments that you complete in school or remotely, mock examinations and some tests devised by the examination boards, which will be taken in May/June. Ofqual will check that teachers are making fair judgements.
We will keep you updated when we know more detail, following the consultation period.
As you can see, there is no such thing as a free grade. You need to ensure that your teachers see the best possible version of you. Over the next few months, please continue to attend all lessons, whether you are at home or in school as well as any extra sessions or interventions that are arranged for you. Complete all your work on time and to the highest standard you can and try your hardest in every assessment.
This will help you to improve your skills and achieve the best possible result in the summer. If there are any concepts that you are unsure about, you should ask your teachers for advice.
You are the class of 2021. Your grades matter. You will be competing for college places, apprenticeships, university places and employment opportunities in years to come so it is vital that you do your personal best. Be conscientious and determined. Your family and teachers ask no more than that.
We promise you that:
• Your grades will reflect the fantastic efforts that you made so far and will continue to make.
• You will have regular opportunities to demonstrate your learning and progress in each of your subjects.
• You will get feedback on how to improve and continued support to do so.
• Your grades will be decided in a fair and objective way and checked carefully before they are submitted.
• You will be supported to progress to the next stage of your learning at college or university, or into an apprenticeship or employment.
Important as your grades are, we also want you to be safe, happy and well. We want you to be good to your family and friends and never lose your optimism for the future. The best times are yet to come. So, over the next few months, work well and work hard. But please also be good to yourself. Eat at the right time, make sure you get lots of sleep, remember to do some of the things that make you happy and make time for your family.
And remember, you are not alone. You are a treasured member of the Star family.
Together we are strong. We are Star.
(Mufti) Hamid Patel CBE