Brakenhale School Sixth Form – Newsletter
Friday 27th March 2020
A Message From the Sixth Form Team
I hope you are staying safe and healthy at this very strange and uncertain time. I am sure that this situation is made all the more difficult for our Post 16 students with questions surrounding grades, university courses, and work to complete. Hopefully this weekly update will help give some useful information and alleviate some concerns. I won’t claim to have all of the answers (the government don’t even have those just yet!), but with so much information flying around I am hopeful that putting the relevant information to our Sixth Formers in one place might help in some way.
Most importantly, please remember to stay safe and listen to the government’s advice on social distancing to reduce the speed of the virus. I know how difficult that is going to be for our young adults, but it is really important everyone supports the NHS by slowing the spread of COVID-19.
If you have any questions regarding calculated grades, UCAS choices, the work you are being set, or anything at all, please just let me know on JDuffy@brakenhale.co.uk.
Accessing School Work
Google Classrooms is our primary source for setting work – it is incredibly important that you have access to this as if you don’t, you are really going to struggle to get your work done. Please email us if you can’t access it and we can help you remotely.
Click on the 9 tiles on the top right of your gmail, then click ‘Classroom’, and you’ll see all of your subjects. All work is set there for you to complete. I can’t overstate how important it is that you are continuing with your work as close to normal as possible – more on that in a second….
Latest Information From The DfE
What we do know:
• All A Level, As, and BTEC exams have been cancelled for the summer 2020 series.
• Year 13 students will be awarded ‘calculated grades’ from teacher assessments, whole-school historic achievement and individual student’s prior attainment. The ‘calculated grades’ will moderated externally by exam boards to ensure the grade distribution follows a similar pattern to previous years. Please remember that the grade teachers submit is not guaranteed to be the grade you receive. It is only one piece of information that exam boards will use to calculate your grade.
• Year 13 ‘calculated grades’ are expected to be released before the end of July 2020.
• Year 13 students will have the option to sit an exam in 2021 if you are unhappy with your ‘calculated grade’.
• Year 13 BTEC grades will be awarded in the same way as A Level exams, as ‘calculated grades’. The sampling process has been put on pause for now, but students should still continue with the assignments that they can complete.
What Information We Are Waiting to Hear:
• Dates of the 2021 exams – We await the information about when and how this can happen for students unhappy with their ‘calculated grades’.
• If students sit exams in 2021, will these grades override any ‘calculated grades’, or will their best grade stand?
• Exactly what evidence will be required from teachers to conform ‘calculated grades’, and what the process will be. We are still awaiting the finer details of this from the DfE.
Please rest assured that we will do everything we can to support our students and ensure that they are not disadvantaged by the current situation.
We do, as a Sixth Form community, need to work together on this, and over the page is what we need from students and parents/carers over the next period of time to ensure our students are going to continue to be successful.
What Students Need To Do Now:
• All year 13 students need to keep working at home, and continuing revision/work on their subjects. It may be that you are not happy with your ‘calculated grade’ and want to sit an exam in 2021. If you haven’t completed the work set or continued to revise, you are putting yourself in a precarious position.
• Year 13 BTEC students need to be handing in the evidence that is asked of them. Firstly, you need to complete the course as best you can, secondly, we do not yet know what evidence is going to be requested yet. The more evidence we have, the better informed your calculated grade will be.
• Year 13s who are off to university should be completing wider reading around the degrees they are going to study. Universities sometimes provide reading lists, but failing that, have a look at the course page, look at the topics you will be covering in year one, and get ahead of the game!
• Year 12 need to be completing the work set by teachers for both A Levels, and BTEC subjects. It is incredibly important that they continue to do this.
• Year 12 A Level students will be sitting exams when we are back at school in place of their As Levels; they will need to pass these to continue on those courses into year 13. This has not changed since the beginning of the year, and students need to be clear on this. If students are not completing the work set or completing their revision, they are at risk of underperforming in these exams and therefore having to resit the year, or drop courses. This is because the content in year 13 is more difficult than that of year 12 – if students can’t pass year 12, it is extremely unlikely that they will pass year 13, and so it is not in their best interest to carry on with courses if they are in this situation.
• BTEC students need to complete as much of the work that is set as possible. If this does not happen then students risk falling behind. This will need to be made up in year13 – just get it done now while you have the time!!
What Parents/Carers Can Do Now:
Students need encouraging, now more than ever, to complete the work that has been set for them. If parents/carers could check that the work is being completed then that would really help.
Teachers and the Sixth Form team are emailing students where we are worried that work is not being completed (or completed to the required standard), but parental engagement would really help us. If possible, checking the Google Classrooms with the students and ensuring that work is completed is the single best way we can be supporting students at the moment.
• To Firm and Insure your university offers, the original deadline of the 5th of May has been extended by two weeks to the 19th May. This will give you more time to consider all your options and information available.
• UCAS are very active on Twitter, and they update several times throughout the day – if you have twitter you should follow them!
• We will start sending information out to students regarding personal statements and university applications once things are a little more settled. You will have a Unifrog registration email in your school email inbox – please could you sign up and register as per the instructions in the email.
Thank you again to all of our students, parents, carers and teachers for your support through this difficult time. We will continue to try and update you with as much relevant information as we can, but I’m sure you will appreciate that it is not ‘business as usual’. It is really important that with this enforced time away that students remain ‘intellectually sharp’ and continue with their work and reading. It’s a bit like a professional athlete – our students need to keep up their ‘training’ to remain ‘game ready’ and ‘match fit’. If they do not maintain their intellectual and educational fitness now, it is going to be much tougher when they do return for exams, or go off to university or further training.
Thank you again – stay safe, and if there is anything at all you need from the Sixth Form team please email JDuffy@brakenhale.co.uk.
The Sixth Form Team