May 12 2020
Further to the UK Government announcement and the guidance issued we are now in a position to update you about our return to College plans.
It is very positive news that schools in England are scheduled to partially reopen on 1 June. As you’ve no doubt seen, this first stage will apply to Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 children in primary schools rather than secondary schools. Secondary schools and colleges though are being asked to plan to allow for some ‘face to face’ contact for students in years 10 and 12, intended to supplement the ongoing online provision, also from 1 June. This staging process is designed to reduce the risk of the spread of infection. The situation for RIC students is then, at the moment, as follows:
Teaching for students in these year groups will continue to be online for the rest of this academic year and we look forward to welcoming them back to the Lower School in September.
Day students in Years 10 and 12
Conditional on how the data looks next month, it is possible that day students in Years 10 and 12 may well have an opportunity to meet physically with subject staff and personal tutors after June 1. This would be a ‘checkpoint’ for: the term’s academic work and progress; setting summer holiday academic tasks and, for year 12s, guidance on the UCAS application. It would also give we think some welcome human contact and assurance. We will contact you once we have a clearer idea of what this will look like although for the avoidance of doubt it will not be a a normal return to timetabled teaching for these year groups, either partial or full.
Full online tuition will continue to the end of the term for these students and we look forward to welcoming everyone back into school fully in September.
I know from the lessons I have seen that our year 12s and 10s are making good progress in their subjects but we will ensure they are not disadvantaged in their GCSEs and A levels next year by putting on extra classes and catch up sessions where necessary.
Years 11 and 13/14
Year 11 and Year 13 students will finish their existing GCSE/A-level courses at the end of this week as planned and teachers will be working on predicting grades. There is a programme of support for both year groups whereby year 11s can join A level taster lessons and year 13 students enjoy a virtual university experience to help prepare them for the next step in their education.
Boarding and international students
If Year 10 and Year 12 students are authorised to have ‘some time’ with their teachers this will amount to days rather than weeks. Combined with the likely quarantine period of fourteen days for international students, this makes a reopening for boarders this term impractical. Therefore, courses for these students will continue online, with the physical resumption of College planned for September 2020. Boarding students who are in the UK will of course be welcome to join any ‘checkpoint’ sessions with the subject staff and personal tutors we are able to offer if they are able to safely travel to the College for these.
Safety and confidence
Please find attached a short document that outlines the steps we are beginning to take to ensure that RIC is a safe environment for our students and staff to return to with confidence when the time comes. More detailed guidance will of course be issued well before our reopening to reflect changing government advice.
This is likely to remain part of our college day for the remainder of this term and in the autumn. It will be managed practically and effectively and may include: different mealtimes/break times; a suspension of some school trips; reduced class sizes; flexible timetabling; a review of extra-curricular activities; a maximum number of students and parents congregating at any one time and guidance on socialising in the setting and in the wider community, including any local travel.
Stay in touch
Given the situation, it’s natural you might have questions or concerns that you’d like advice on and please don’t hesitate to contact me or to speak to the Heads in different parts of the College. We will of course keep you in touch with our plans as they develop.
We look forward to welcoming our students back onto our campus as soon as we are able to safely do so. Until then, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Best wishes from the whole team at RIC.
A level and GCSE Results and Resit Arrangements- Covid 19 Update
In England, Ofqual is the public examinations regulator and it has issued a number of guidance updates over the last few weeks on how students in Years 11 and 13 will receive final GCSE and A level subject grades this summer.
When will results be available?
A level results will be published on 13 August and GCSE results on 20 August, as originally planned.
How will grades be awarded without examinations being taken?
Teachers will predict the grade they think a student would most likely have achieved in their subject if the summer exam had been taken, based on professional judgement.
Teachers will also have to place students in ranking order within grade bands. For example, if I have ten students taking History A level, I must list them in descending order of ability in each grade allocation. A ranking list must be submitted for each grade awarded in each subject. This will allow examination boards (Pearson Edexcel; OCR; AQA; CIE) to perform any moderation of grading in order to ensure the overall distribution of grades is consistent with previous years.
What evidence will teachers use in order to predict a final grade at GCSE or A level?
Teachers may use any reasonable form of academic performance data collected over the length of the course in order to predict a final grade. This may include mock examinations; internal testing; assignments completed in class or as homework; bookwork; previous exam results, ie AS level and performances in creative arts and Physical Education, and ‘any other records of student performance over the course of study.’
When will teachers submit their predicted final grades?
Schools will be able to submit predicted grades by 29 May at the earliest, and up until 12 June.
Can students continue to complete academic work which can be included as part of the evidence used to predict a final grade?
Yes, although teachers must be mindful of the context in which any work may have been completed.
Will students and parents be informed of the predicted final grades?
No. This is forbidden.
Could the exam boards change the grades teachers predict?
Can a student appeal a result?
There will be limited opportunity for appeals this summer, with students unhappy with their final grade(s) encouraged to take public examinations in the autumn. A proposed autumn examination schedule has not yet been published.
Will UK universities accept the August results based on predicted/final grades?
If a student takes A-level examinations in the autumn can they still attend UK university in September/October?
If a student does not have a place at a university they wish to enter based on their grades published on 13 August, it is highly unlikely that they will be able to attend a UK university in 2020 based on the results of any exams taken in the autumn, given that it takes many weeks for results to be issued.
If a student wishes to apply to UK university using autumn 2020 exam results they should re-apply through UCAS (by 15 January 2021). However, as we do not know when any of the new, proposed autumn exams will be taken or their results issued, there is a possibility that a candidate could apply through UCAS before knowing their results. Some UK universities offer January entry.
Can a Year 11 student unhappy with their August grades, start an A level course and take GCSE exams in the autumn series?
It is highly likely that many schools will show a greater level of flexibility this year. Many UK independent schools have already committed to honouring sixth form conditional places irrespective of August results.
When can I resit my GCSEs and A levels if I am not happy with the calculated grade I am awarded?
The government has committed to a resit, or perhaps more correctly a first real sitting, opportunity for students unhappy with their A level or GCSE grades awarded in August. We are told that this sitting will be in the "autumn" but as yet we do not know if this will take place in September, October or November.
Will universities treat me a resit student if I am not happy with my calculated grade and opt to take the autumn exams and reapply?
No. Early indications from universities is that you will not be penalised as a retake if you opt to take exams in the autumn sitting because you are unhappy with your calculated grade.
UCL for example say: "We are happy to consider applicants for 2021 entry should they wish to defer their assessment or are unhappy with the grades they are given in the summer examination result release. Applicants will be required to re-apply and will be considered in competition with other applicants for 2021. However, we will not consider sitting the examinations in the Autumn as re-takes and therefore applicants taking this route will not be disadvantaged in the application process."