Letter To Parents 4th May 2021

Dear Parents and Carers,                                                                                                         4th May 2021

I hope you are all keeping well.  We continue to be extremely proud of the manner in which the students have returned to school.

I have two main reasons for writing to you; to give you a general update and to then explain to those parents who children who will be receiving exam grades this summer, exactly how this process will run.

New Block for our Computing T Level

The first update I have for you is about our successful T-Level bid. We are the first school in Dorset and BCP to be allowed to deliver these new courses and we are therefore very excited over this prospect. A T Level is the equivalent of 3 A Levels and they are courses which have a strong industrial placement element, which will fully prepare the students for a job in industry.  We have initially focused upon IT and Computing pathways, with Engineering and Childcare options hopefully to follow later. In order to cater for this provision, we have bid for a new custom-built classroom block and we are currently speaking to the KGV Charity about siting it upon the Redgra land at the back of the school.

The Big Ask Survey

Dame Rachel de Souza, (the new Children’s Commissioner), has launched ‘The Big Ask’ which is intended to be the largest ever consultation of children (4 to 17). It aims to find out children’s concerns and aspirations for the future, so that children can be placed at the heart of the COVID 19 recovery plan. Please share your views: https://www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk/thebigask/adults/.  

Y11 Step-Up Work

Whilst Y11’s last day in school will be the 28th May, their official final day of school is the 30th June, so therefore, for the three weeks after half term we will be setting A Level preparation work for the students to complete remotely. This will be delivered via Teams in new A Level groups that we will set up. We did this last year and the feedback from the students was very positive as it enabled them to have a head start on their new A Level courses. Those students who are going on to other institutions will also have the opportunity to complete this work and there will be a dedicated college preparation Teams page as well.

Ferndown Finals

Each subject leader has now defined which assessments they will use to determine their teacher assessed grade (TAG) and this information is contained within the school’s Sway presentation on our website: https://sway.office.com/U3y5JCJQB83Drf6P?ref=Link.

A practical example of how your child’s final grade will be derived is detailed below:

‘Astronomy’ has decided that they will use the November mock exam, a test sat in class and the Ferndown Final as their base method for determining their students’ results. What will then take place is that each teacher will then go through each student, one by one, to check whether this grade fairly reflects their ability. If it does not, then they will use their professional judgement to change the intended weightings of each piece of assessment, to ensure that it does. This will safeguard that each student receives a fair grade.

  • Where the data is consistent, this process will be an easy one. E.g. for a student (in the Astronomy example above) who has received a 4, 4 and a 5 in the three listed assessments – this would just require the teacher to decide whether the final TAG would be a 4 or a 5.
  • The process will become more difficult when the data is not consistent e.g. a student who has received a 3, 3 and a 6. In this circumstance the teacher will have to decide if the 6 is the reflective grade or whether, for that student, a 5 would be more accurate.
  • We are anticipating that some students may find themselves in the situation of having grades as follows; a 6, 6 and a 3. And this is where my assurances that mock grades will be used as a safety net comes into play. In this example it is clear from the grades that this student has been adversely affected by lockdown and the Ferndown Final 3 is not representative. In this case the teacher would probably award a 6 or 5, using their knowledge of the student and their professional judgment to do so.

So the previous data (November Mock in particular) has been used as a safety net but this does not mean that each student is guaranteed to receive their mock grade, what is guaranteed is that this mock grade will be taken into account to ensure a fair overall grade is awarded.

Triple Lock

What will then occur is that all of the teacher’s grades will then be moderated and standardised – on the upcoming 28th May INSET day, to ensure consistency. The school will then moderate every grade again, centrally, to ensure no subject has been too lenient or too harsh. At this stage teacher assessed grades (TAGs) will become centre assessed grades (CAGs). These CAGs will then be sent to the exam board, who will then carry out a further moderation process themselves, which may result in some further grade changes.

This will ultimately mean that the TAGs (that staff set) will have then gone through three checking processes in which they become CAGs before they finally become the grades that your child will receive from the exam boards on results day.

Go4Schools Will Be Locked

The school will be using its Go4Schools programme to be the repository for these grades (CAGs) and therefore we will be hiding Go4Schools from students and parents in Y11, 12 and 13 from this Monday.

Results Day

Results day is on the 12th August, where all students will receive their final grades in the school hall (more details to follow) and it is when we will also open up Go4Schools again, so that you will be able to see all of your child’s data.

Stay safe,

Philip Jones