16 May 2023
As we approach the GCSE season, we wanted to provide you with some information regarding the Summer exams, special consideration and other key information.
We have collated FAQs by parents/carers and students to support you through this time.
Will I get study leave?
Some students/parents/carers have been asking questions with regards to study leave. At Erdington Academy, we have not had study leave for many years. Due to the intensity of the exam period, the majority of students are in exams in both morning and afternoon until mid-June; where students are not in examinations, specialist revision sessions are being put into place. As the exam period concludes, we will inform parents/carers of a date when students will only have to come in to attend voluntary revision sessions or mandatory exams as per their exam timetable.
What happens if I miss an exam paper due to serious illness, will I still be able to get my final grade, based on how I perform on the other paper(s) and coursework (if part of the exam)?
Yes, like previous years, exam boards can calculate full grades as long as you have completed at least 15% of the marks for your exam. Medical evidence must be provided for this. You must let school know you are ill and missing an exam(s) due to illness, by calling the school on 0121 373 1080.
What if I am so ill, I miss all of my exams for one subject?
Unfortunately, grades cannot be awarded when no papers have been sat and we will not be able to go back to grades achieved in formal assessments earlier in the year for summer 2023 exams. You would have to arrange to re-sit the exams at the next opportunity (autumn term or next summer).
What if there are circumstances during my exam that affect my ability to complete the exam paper?
You will need to apply for special consideration.
What is special consideration?
Special consideration is when an exam paper is affected by something that happens immediately before or during an exam or assessment that has an effect on a student’s ability to take that exam or assessment, or on how they performed. Examples might be the death of a grandparent the day before an exam.
What is the difference between special consideration and access arrangements (e.g., extra time for dyslexia or rest breaks for health reasons)?
Access arrangements are dealt with via our SEND team. Students with access arrangements such as extra time, small room, rest breaks will already have these in place. You have received numerous emails and reminders from tutors to apply for this. The deadline for applying for these has now passed. All who have applied have had to undergo a rigorous evidence-gathering process.
If my appeal for special consideration is agreed, how will my new grade be calculated?
- If I miss the whole exam paper
If you miss a whole paper or module, the final grade awarded will be based completely on the exam papers and any coursework that you did complete. The exam board would calculate this based on their knowledge of performance across the whole exam.
- If my performance is affected during the exam
If your performance in a paper was affected, only minor adjustments can be made to the mark awarded. The minimum adjustment is to add 1% to the final mark and the maximum adjustment would be to add 5% to the final mark.
Past examples we have seen are as follows
1% for stress or anxiety for which medication has been prescribed
5% for terminal illness diagnosis of the candidate
Exam boards consider that larger adjustments would jeopardise the standard of the examination.
Please note that approval for special consideration must be approved by the Principal.
If I was badly affected by a long-term health issue over the last two years, can I apply for special consideration?
No, special consideration cannot be claimed for missed education due to long-term health issues or missed education.
How does this affect vocational qualifications?
An awarding body’s decision to award special consideration in vocational qualifications will be based on various factors, which may vary from student to student and from one assessment to another. To apply for special consideration for vocational courses (BTEC etc) email [email protected]
When is the deadline for applying for special consideration?
Our internal deadline is 26th June 2023.
How do I apply for special consideration?
If the Principal agrees to support your application, you can apply for special consideration using the form available from [email protected]
How has the Academy prepared and supported me for my examinations?
As an Academy we have also supported you as much as possible through a range of activities: A series of mocks in the hall in November and March to get used to the exam-hall experience.
Assemblies to inform you about exam expectations, requirements and further support available.
All students have been invited to a variety of interventions either during the school day/after school as bespoke to the question level analysis from the mock periods.
Form time resources to support with study skills.
Revision guides provided at no cost in a variety of subjects.
Free subscription/access to online revision resources such as: GCSE Pod, Pixl lit app etc.
A revision evening for students and their parents/carers.
A variety of revision resources available on Satchel:one (show my homework)
A guide for students sitting exams
Before the exam:
Ensure you arrive in time for form time. If you are running late, please ring school and let us know so we can put arrangements in place.
Before entering the room, you will need to put your belongings in the cages in the Atrium. All unauthorised materials should be left in your bag e.g. watches, mobile phone, notes. Your mobile phone must be switched off. Please note that these cages will be monitored by CCTV. Once the exam hall is ready, the invigilator will call you in; please enter the exam room in silence.
During the exam:
Malpractice is subject to penalties and disqualification therefore:
Mobile phones, iPods, MP3 players, watches are not to be used and switched off;
No notes are to be taken into the exam;
No communicating with other students during the exam.
If you still have a phone on you or any unauthorised materials place it in the clear bag on your desk, an invigilator will collect it from you. DO NOT RISK having to be reported to the Examination Boards for malpractice and getting ZERO marks for having unauthorised material on you.
You must bring all the equipment you need; pens, pencils, rubbers, calculators etc. They must be in a clear pencil case.
You can bring a drink in, but it can only be water, in a CLEAR bottle and with the label removed.
If you leave the exam room before the end of the exam unaccompanied, you will not be able to return. There may be exams finishing at different times – please be mindful of those still working when you leave.
Invigilators are happy to help – raise your hand if you need anything during the exam. They are there to uphold exam regulations and to ensure your well-being during the exam. If you need assistance, please do not be afraid to ask.
If you have access arrangements, these will be in place for you. If you feel you need other assistance, please ask the SEND Team for advice – if you no longer require your access arrangements, please let us know.
Exams can be contacted by emailing: [email protected]
Please do speak to your form tutor in the first instance if you need any additional support for your exams. If you have any further questions, please ask.
Ethos & Culture
Students will be expected to follow their timetable and allocated sessions. We recommend that they carry revision materials with them in the event that they are given additional time in non-exam sessions to support the revision process.
The behaviour and expectations of students remains the same and failure to meet standards may result in removal from part or all of the planned leavers’ celebrations.
And finally – Self-Care
We know that examinations can be a challenging part of school life for both children and young people, and their parents or carers. Students’ wellbeing is our priority; staff are here to support students through this, and below are some websites which give some really useful advice:
Help your child beat exam stress – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
Exam Stress | Coping Strategies | DEAL | Samaritans
Exam Stress | How To Deal with Exam Stress | YoungMinds
Managing stress and building resilience – tips – Mind
Best wishes for your exams this summer.