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Headteacher’s letter November 12th 2021

Dear Parents and Carers

Arrangements for Examinations in 2022

Yesterday, we received further information from the Department for Education and Ofqual regarding next summer’s GCSE, BTEC and A level examinations. Dr Jo Saxton, Chief Regulator at Ofqual, has written a really clear and helpful letter and video for students that I know parents and carers will also value and appreciate. In summary:

  • Next year’s GCSE, BTEC and A level exams will be normal. This means that papers will not be seen by teachers in advance, students will sit their exams in normal exam halls, and they will be marked externally;
  • No later than 7 February 2022, all teachers and students will be made aware of any alterations to the 2022 summer exams that have been made to make them ‘as fair as possible’, following the disruption caused by the pandemic;
  • Grade boundaries will be adapted in 2022 to allow more students to get higher grades than before the pandemic;
  • In the (very, very unlikely) event of the 2022 examinations being cancelled for a third year running, ‘contingency arrangements’ are in place so that that year 11 and year 13 teachers would again provide ‘teacher assessed grades’, based on the work, assessments and mock exams completed by students.

This is exactly what we all expected and have been working towards with our year 11s and 13s. We look forward to the announcements about exam alterations for each subject by February. Once released, we shall weave this information into the Get Ahead (revision) Programme for all students in all subjects.

Our aim will be to prepare our year 11s and 13s as well or better than every school in the country. As a parent of children in year 11 and in year 13, I am very aware of how we feel as parents and carers, let alone the feelings we have as teachers and school staff.

Year 10 Work Experience

The full resumption of work experience for all year 10 students will take place in July. Mr Parker and the key stage 4 team will be leading on this separately. Nevertheless, I wanted to urge all parents and carers of year 10 students to help organise those placements sooner rather than later.

There is a degree of ‘first come, first served’ and we know that a really good placement can inspire and motivate students throughout the whole of their year 11 with a clearer idea of their career goals.

Taking the Temperature

This week I ask that families complete two (very) quick surveys. One about homework and the other about our new catering service. Each survey will take no more than one minute and help nudge us in ‘even better’ directions.

Quick COVID Update

We are pleased to note that case numbers amongst CNS students appears to have levelled off and therefore wearing face coverings will remain very highly recommended rather than mandatory at CNS. Face coverings remain compulsory on school buses (minus exemptions). Please continue to test biweekly and upload results so that we can monitor patterns and be sure that asymptomatic cases are being identified.

Community Request

I am happy to have been asked to invite all families to take part in a survey that seeks to establish the quality of health and care services in Chipping Norton. A copy of their letter is attached to this week’s letter and this link will take you to their survey. It is fair to say that many organisations are currently seeking to ‘check in’ with their community as we emerge from, or learn to live, with COVID-19.

And finally…

I wish to end by thanking all of the sixth formers and my colleagues for another late night as we hosted our sixth form open evening. We welcomed a record number of visitors from students currently attending other schools in year 11 and were pleased to note the growing reputation our (outstanding) sixth form (and school) has for very high expectations and rising standards.

Have a great weekend.

Yours faithfully

Barry Doherty

Headteacher

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