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Spalding and Bourne Academy principal calls for 2021 students to have greater support




A head teacher is calling for greater support for Year 11 and 13 students who should be sitting their exams this summer.

Spalding Academy and Bourne Academy executive principal Lucy Conley says 2021 students have been disadvantaged.

The Government and Ofqual are running a consultation on how GCSE, AS and A-Level exams should be awarded.

Spalding Academy Executive Principal Lucy Conley is calling for greater support for 2021 pupils
Spalding Academy Executive Principal Lucy Conley is calling for greater support for 2021 pupils

Finishing on Friday, it states that teachers should take an ‘evidence-based’ decision on grades and is proposing that exam boards ‘provide guidance and training, along with papers which teachers could use to assess their students’.

Mrs Conley, who is the executive principal of the South Lincolnshire Academies Trust which includes the Giles Academy in Boston, said: “For the 2021 cohort the exam experience for Year 11 and Year 13 students has been far from ‘normal’, there has been a lot of disruption for these exams groups and there has been many elements of ‘lost learning’ since March 2020.

“Whilst I agree that it is the best action to keep all year groups engaged with learning until the end of this academic year, our 2021 exams students have been disadvantaged far more than the 2020 cohort and there needs to be recognition for this.”

Michele Anderson, headmistress of Spalding High School.Photo by Tim Wilson.SG101116-213TW. (3164750)
Michele Anderson, headmistress of Spalding High School.Photo by Tim Wilson.SG101116-213TW. (3164750)

However, schools have already been told to anticipate that the 2021 system for entering centre assessed grades will not mirror that of 2020.

Last year, teachers were asked to come up with a grade they thought a student would have achieved had they had sat their exams.

It is proposed that this will not happen.Under the new plan, the DfE and Ofqual propose for the grade to be based on teachers’ assessments of a student’s performance; “evidence of the standard at which their students are performing; it should indicate their demonstrated knowledge, understanding and skills”.

Mrs Conley, who has been pleased with the response to online learning, has also met with MPs Gareth Davies and Matt Warman, who cover the Bourne and Boston schools, to discuss this issue.

She said: “There needs to be the same support for the 2021 exam groups that we saw in 2020.

“The 2021 students due to complete their studies this year have seen more of the negative impact of this pandemic and we should be supporting these learners in Year 11 and Year 13 to progress on to the next stage of their educational journey.”

Spalding High School head teacher Michele Anderson is happy with the high levels of engagement through remote learning but is calling on parents to take part in the consultation.

Mrs Anderson said: “It is vitally important that students, parents and staff participate in the current Ofqual Consultation, which closes this Friday and have their voice heard on the full range of proposals set out by the Secretary of State for Education.

“There has been unprecedented disruption to provision for this year’s exam groups which looks set to continue.

“This must be taken into account by the Government, with decisions made and shared in a timely manner so that students, parents and schools have as much time as possible to act and prepare.”

Parent Victoria Richardson has praised the remote learning offered by Spalding Academy to her 12-year-old son Luke.

She said: “The work they have set has been good but it is the social aspect that he is missing.”

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