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The Buckingham School

The Buckingham School

Examination Update - Headteacher's Letter of 7 January 2021

Dear Students (and their Parents and Carers)

I am writing to you about public examinations this January and this summer.

BTEC Examinations for Year 11 and Sixth Form – January 2021
This week, on the evening before an examination, we were placed in the situation of having to decide whether to run a BTEC examination in the morning. The decision to run the BTEC Business examination pleased some, but caused concern amongst others.

Senior staff, including teachers of the subjects in question, have met last evening and discussed the remaining BTEC examinations this January. A consultation between SLT and the teachers of those students concluded with the following:

  • The remaining BTEC and LIBF examinations this January will not take place at TBS

The rationale behind this is down to the disruption that you have faced and the turmoil and further anxiety that has arisen in January. We have consistently tried to offer you clarity in the face of uncertainty and the teachers and SLT are unanimous that this decision is in your best interests.

We would like to reassure those of you who took the BTEC examination yesterday, that you will not be disadvantaged. A public statement has been made to this effect.

GCSE, A Level and BTEC Examinations – Summer 2021
We are very aware that those who were due to take examinations in the summer will now be very anxious and we are concerned about this. Although the Prime Minister has confirmed that the summer examinations will now not take place, we still await details about what will happen instead. The Secretary of State has announced in the House of Commons yesterday that, “we will trust teachers,” but has not clarified what that means. We will of course update you as soon as we do have any clarity.

What is clear, for so many reasons, is that you must continue to work as hard as you can. Based on our experience last summer, if it is decided that teacher assessed grades will be used, then teachers will take into account a range of evidence. You will need to remain fully engaged in your studies throughout the remainder of your courses, continuing to build your portfolio of evidence through working closely with your teachers. As always, we expect you to take ownership and pride in demonstrating your progress and commitment to your courses.

Careers advice and guidance will continue to support the high quality pastoral provision already in place, to continue to develop the whole person and secure their most suitable career pathways.

Year 11 and 13 Mock Examinations
We are working under the assumption that formal teacher assessments (i.e. mock examinations) will take place on our return to school and will help to inform decisions regarding grading. Our current plan is that the mock examinations will go ahead as currently planned, in March. Until then, teachers will continue to deliver remote lessons and this will naturally include mock-preparation. You will continue to receive a full timetable of remote learning.

Thank you for your patience. As a community, we have faced so many different challenges since March 2020. What has defined this school’s recent success is the spirit that has been shown by all, and you, our students, are a credit to your families, your school and your community as a whole. We are as committed as ever to developing the “you”, and you are defined by so much more than examination grades. As a school, we seek to develop the next generation of people who will be resourceful, resilient and well-rounded in spite of disruptions and challenges faced.

We will continue to update you as more guidance becomes available. Our first priority will always remain the best interests of our students.

With my very best wishes
Mr A McGinnes, Headteacher