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Awarding of Grades in the Summer 2021 Examinations period

Tuesday 23rd March 2021.

Dear Parent/Carer,

The awarding of grades for students entered for exams in 2021.

As you may be aware, the government has stated that exams will not be held this year.  As a result, the Department for Education, national bodies, and the exam boards are currently working together to find an alternative way of awarding grades.

We appreciate that the situation regarding examinations may be stressful for students, particularly because there has been a great deal of uncertainty. We are, therefore, including a timeline for activity and decisions, provided by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ), which we attach below.  It indicates what will happen in the run up to August 2021.  Please be assured that we are monitoring the situation closely and will provide support throughout the process.

For GCSEs and our Vocational courses, teachers will assess the work and evidence produced by the students and agree the standard at which students have performed, and are performing, in order that the school can determine the grades. There is no overall guidance on what topics must be covered as students across the country are at different stages of their learning. Students will, therefore, only be assessed on what they have been taught.  The expectation is that students will have been taught sufficient curriculum content for them to access the next step in their careers.

A range of evidence gathered throughout the course can be used to inform the judgement.  This might include work already completed, mock exam results, homework or in-class tests.  The exam boards will also produce test questions, otherwise known as ‘mini assessments’ that can be used at any time by schools to help them form an assessment.  As part of the process, teachers will let students know which types of work and evidence will count towards their grade before the grade is submitted to the exam board. For some subjects – those that are coursework based (eg Art), or those requiring an additional speaking (eg English Language) or practical (eg Science) grade – there will be specific requirements.  They will be explained by the subject teacher.

It is important to understand that although staff may feedback on individual pieces of work, they will not be able to discuss the overall grade.

The submission date for grades to be with the exam boards has been put back as far as possible to ensure that teaching and learning continue for as long as possible.  It is very important that students should keep working hard, continue to engage with their teachers and look for support whenever it is needed.

We will let you know about the next stage of the timeline when we have received all the necessary information.  As indicated below, we are required to finalise our Assessment Policy in April 2021.  It will contain the finer detail to accompany the overview provided in this letter.

Please do not hesitate to contact the school if you have any questions and please be assured that, as ever, our priority will be to work on behalf of our students to enable them to progress successfully onto the next stage of their lives.


Yours faithfully,


Mr L S Newton





January 2021:

  1. External examinations were cancelled.
  2. Schools continue teaching and learning.

February 2021:

  1. National consultation on replacing examinations.
  2. Schools continue teaching and learning.

March 2021:

  1. Exam boards to publish a range of guidance and assessment materials.
  2. Schools continue teaching and learning.

April 2021:

  1. Schools to prepare their assessment policies.
  2. Exam boards to publish their detailed appeals processes.
  3. Schools continue teaching and learning.

May 2021:

  1. Exam boards support and review schools’ policies.
  2. Exam boards finalise systems for the submission of grades.
  3. Schools continue teaching and learning.
  4. Schools carry out additional assessments where required.

June 2021:

  1. Schools finalise and submit grades.
  2. Exam boards complete samples.
  3. Schools continue teaching and learning.

July 2021:

  1. Exam boards review and analyse outcomes.
  2. Exam boards quality control and finalise grades with schools.

August 2021:

  1. Week of 9th August: results days for both Y11 and Y13.
  2. Students can ask the school to check for any clerical issues or to appeal their grade with the exam board on their behalf.