Update 3: 08/04/2020
Covid-19: Academy21, Estimated Grades – Process and Timescales
Please find below detail on our process and activities over the coming weeks to provide estimated grades for the Academy21 year 11 cohort who should have been sitting examinations this summer. Over Easter and through into May we are collating all available data and where we are able, we will provide estimated grades to you on Friday 22nd May. We are reviewing data on over 450 year 11 pupils and collating that information in readiness to disseminate it to you all.
Before that, on Friday 24th April, we will write to some of you to highlight those young people who may have joined us late in the academic year and for whom we currently expect to grade ‘N’. This to provide you with enough time to determine your own assessments for those pupils, or, alternatively, to enable you to refer them to Academy21 until 22nd May to enable us to run further assessments with them on your behalf, and subsequently provide an estimated grade to you.
As a provider of alternative provision to schools and local authorities across England and Wales all pupils enrolled with Academy21 remain on roll locally. With that in mind and having reviewed the process as set out by Ofqual, we see little point in providing an Academy21 student ranking. In effect, because this would have little meaning with regard to the ranking you have been asked to provide as a school/centre. We will be pleased to consult with you around this issue should you have any concerns.
As we have a large cohort of year 11 pupils this year, we do not intend to respond to requests to provide individual pupil grade data ahead of the timescales described above. This is to ensure a unified, consistent and thorough process and approach is undertaken for ALL of the young people we support.
We thank you for your co-operation, patience and support during this time and hope you and your families stay safe and healthy.
Update 2: 24/03/2020
Academy21: Covid-19 & Year 11 Assessments
Later this week we expect to get further detail from Ofqual and the examination boards as to the range of data they will be assessing to reach final estimated grades for each pupil due to sit examinations this summer. Our understanding is that they may look at KS2 data and historic performance data through KS3 and 4 settings, in addition to the estimated grade data we will provide after the end of May.
We will, therefore, as stated earlier today, provide further teaching and in-class assessments to support the final estimated grade we provide. This to ensure we provide as many opportunities as possible for your learners to achieve the best grade possible. Many young people may have left revising until later than advised and may not see improvement until the final weeks before the exam. It is important also to note we are extremely cognisant of the anxiety that testing can place (and particularly in the current national context) on many of the young people we support and so assessments will, wherever possible, be delivered through breakout room tasks during lessons, much like they would have been doing anyway through past paper questions and practice.
After the end of May we will submit those grades directly to the school or local authority service for onward submission to the exam board. We will not share those grades with parents and we will not provide any estimated grades for any student before the end of May, whether they have remained in classes with us or not. If you choose to share that information with parents or carers, be advised that we expect that data to form only one part of the exam boards’ overall grade assessment. They may, for example, use historic data, therefore our grades may not reflect the final award received.
Academy21: Covid-19 & Year 11 Assessments
I wrote to you last week to highlight that our provision will continue on uninterrupted. I also at that time mentioned that we would communicate further this week with our response and approach for your year 11 pupils currently enrolled with us and in light of the cancellation of all examinations this Summer.
Following the announcement on government plans with regard to Year 11 final exams, Academy 21 stand ready to support schools and clients with estimated grades based on pupil performance while attending A21. To ensure fairness, this data will be based on past performance and a range of assessment tasks to be carried out between 23rd March and the 22nd May 2020.
Estimated grades, based on the above, will be supplied to clients in the necessary time frames to meet exam board requirements, while taking into account the time needed by centres to compare our data with their own existing data. Should exam boards issue further guidance about estimated grades, we will of course adhere to it.
Clients needing estimated grades in advance of our June release can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org before the upcoming Easter holidays to discuss requirements. These enquiries will be dealt with between 20th April and the end of May.
Academy21: Business Continuity during Covid-19 Pandemic
Please find below a letter we have sent to all lead mentors.
It is important to note that our service continues on with no interruptions. At this point in time we await further detail from the DfE with regard to the process for examinations/awarding grades for those young people who were due to sit examinations this Summer. We understand that the DfE will be elaborating further in the coming days and as soon as we have had that information we’ll ensure it is communicated and that all understand what that process will be. It is important to remain calm and to ensure that education continues for the vulnerable young people we are supporting and that we minimise disruption in what is clearly going to be a difficult Spring and Summer term for them.
Our focus right now is on the young people you have placed with us. In terms of communications with students in class, we are extremely conscious that their levels of anxiety may increase. So, our teachers are reassuring them that we will continue to teach them and that schools and exam boards will be deciding what action to take over the coming weeks and everything will be done to ensure they are not unfairly treated. At this stage the best thing they can do is to continue their courses as planned so that they are in the strongest position possible, whatever transpires. In light of that we will continue with English spoken language exams as planned.
No doubt there will be more to follow and of course we will be communicating regularly with our clients as events unfold. That will enable us to co-ordinate pupil communications with you to ensure anxiety levels are considered throughout and that any confusion is kept to an absolute minimum.
You can download the letter here.
School closures due to Coronavirus
The government published its Coronavirus action plan on March 3rd 2020. Whilst it continues in its eﬀorts to contain the virus the action plan outlines likely actions if, as expected, it is forced to move onto the next phase of its response: Delay. Should this happen the “planning assumptions include the possibility of having to close educational settings in order to reduce the spread of infection.”
Academy21 has reacted swiftly and prepared a support package that prioritises Year 11 and core subject provision to enable your school to continue to teach in the event of a school closure.