Examinations 2021

Dear Parents/Carers and BTEC students

Following the Prime Minister’s 4th January announcement of a new lockdown and the news that schools, colleges and training providers will close to the majority of learners, Pearson the BTEC awarding body and other vocational qualification providers have  been working with the Department of Education (DfE) to understand what this means for the BTEC/Vocational exams scheduled for January. The DfE confirmed on 4th  January that they expected scheduled vocational exams to go ahead . However, last night (5th January) they updated their guidance to give schools, colleges and training providers the choice to offer students vocational exams, should schools and colleges judge it right to do so. Following this announcement and after many meetings this morning we have therefore decided NOT to go ahead with the BTEC/Vocational exams for the Year 10 and Year 11 students in January /February for the following reasons:

  • It is totally unfair to cancel GCSE exams and not BTEC exams as it not a level playing field and I feel that some students would be at a disadvantage.
  • It is unfair to discriminate about the importance of GCSE versus BTEC exams by cancelling one and not the other as this gives the impression that one is more valuable than the other. This is not the case as they are both as important.
  • Our current Year 10 students have only started the BTEC course in September and this year group has been most affected by having to self-isolate and therefore have missed physical face to face teaching.
  • Due to the Government decision of students having to learn online we have not been able to have the Year 10 students in this week and before any exam situation for any child we provide a full face to face exam conditioning programme where we ease worries and anxieties and do some last minute intensive work with them and we have been unable to do this.
  • We do not want to put any student at a disadvantage by making them take an exam they did not feel fully prepared for because of the current circumstances and also the anxiety caused by us not knowing what exactly was happening.
  • Ofqual have agreed if schools take the decision not to run the BTEC examinations then they will not be at a disadvantage.
  • For Year 10 students there will be opportunities to take the examination in Year 11.
  • For Year 11 students there are going to be other evidence sources to generate the grade (including any examinations that they have completed).

You can appreciate that some of the decisions I am having to make at the moment are not easy. I do not want any of my students to be at a disadvantage and I have to think through every possible scenario to ensure the decisions will ensure they get the best possible grade they can. I do feel that my decision is best for the young people and I hope I have your support with this.

Many thanks for your patience and understanding. I know there are a lot of communications, but I have to let you know as soon as something changes because it is so important for our young people.

Please take care and stay safe. If there are any questions about these examinations then please contact Mr Koltan jkoltan@boteler.org.uk

Yours sincerely

Beverley Scott-Herron

Headteacher

Sir Thomas Boteler Church of England High School by STB