Exam Grade Guidance Update

We would like to thank all our parents and guardians who have been in touch with us both positively recognising the work the teachers are doing, and those raising queries. Thanks also to all of you for your ongoing support of the young people in our lives as they navigate these bewildering, often worrying times.

We would like to provide some clarity regarding intended future assignments and assessments for GCSE and A level candidates, as far as we are able to do so.

Unlike our local counterparts, as an independent school, we have the benefit of being able to select the examination boards most suitable for the needs of our pupils. This means that we are using a mixture of Welsh, English and International boards, and the guidance regarding establishing grades for this year varies in both content, and the timing of publication.

For pupils sitting examinations with CIE, we have already been asked to provide physical evidence of pupil attainment, including mock examination papers, and not simply to propose estimated grades. They have given us a number of weeks to gather this data and evidence.

We are highly aware that the summer examination season has been cancelled, and for very good reason. However, for some pupils, I am sure that they will be the first to admit that their mock examinations in January were not representative of their best work, or their capabilities, in all subjects.

These are unchartered territories. The examination boards themselves are not yet sure of what detail they require. Our determination, though, is that our children have the opportunity to achieve the results that they deserve, and this must be supported by evidence, so that the results are justified and cannot be called into question by the inevitable scrutiny. Parents and guardians will also wish to have total confidence in the grades that their children are being awarded.

To this end, we will compile all of the data that we already have: MIDYiS, and ALIS data (underlying ability); teacher predictions, mock examination results, UCAS applications, classwork, and an understanding of the level of commitment and effort that many of the pupils have put into preparing for the expected examinations.

For some pupils, in some subjects, we may already have all of the evidence that we need. However, for the vast majority, aiming for summer examinations, they have not yet ‘peaked’ in their performance, and so need opportunity to do so. Others have achieved well, but have potentially missed the chance to do even better.

Therefore, our intention is to provide the bespoke, individualised response that you should expect from Llandovery College. Rather than blanket mock examinations, we will take a kind, sensible, well-considered approach, that will vary by Faculty. The aim for all is to provide to the examination boards an assessed piece, at the best level each pupil is capable of achieving. In some subjects, this will mean writing an essay or project, in others, sitting a past paper. All these will be carried out by pupils in the safety and comfort of their own homes, with staff on hand to guide and support. Expectations will be clear, and will be personalised.

In our marking of these assessed pieces, we will be rigorous, but will also take into account the difficult emotional time that many of our families are experiencing, due to current World events.

Each child will, over the next few weeks, receive guidance from their teachers about what information we have, and what further work they will be guided to produce. Our intention is to complete this evidence gathering by May half term.

We do hope that this information allays some fears, and represents a thoughtful and positive way forward.