As we approach the GCSE season we wanted to provide you with some information regarding the Summer exams, special consideration and Covid arrangements.
This FAQs sheet is to ensure that you understand how the summer exams will work, now that the exam boards have issued their guidelines in relation to Covid and Special Consideration.
Will I get study leave?
Some students/parents/carers have been asking questions in 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 into attend voluntary revision sessions or mandatory exams as per their exam timetable.
How have exams been organised to ensure that Covid disruption is minimised?
Exams have been carefully planned so that there is a minimum 10-day gap between different papers of the same exam. This is so that if a student tests positive for Covid, and is unable to sit a paper, they will be out of isolation by the time the next paper comes along.
So, if I miss an exam paper due to Covid or other illness, I’ll 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, exactly. This system has been in place for many years and exam boards can calculate full grades as long as you have completed at least 25% of the marks for your exam so you won’t be disadvantaged. This has been especially adjusted this year to make it easier to gain a grade (usually you need to complete at least 50% of the exam)
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 1 subject?
Unfortunately, grades can’t 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 2022 exams. You would have to arrange to re-sit the exams at the next opportunity (autumn term or next summer).
What happens if I test positive for Covid when I am supposed to have an exam?
If you have tested positive for Covid, you will not be able to sit papers at the time you are infectious.
Can I still sit my exam if I have Covid but don’t have symptoms?
No, unfortunately we don’t have the facilities for this and cannot risk other students being infected as per the national guidance on Covid and exams.
So, if I do have Covid on the day of an exam paper, or have to miss an exam paper for another reason, what do I do?
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, testing positive for Covid on the day of an exam, or an epileptic fit during 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?
a. 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.
b. 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.
I was badly affected by Covid / other long-term health issue over the last 2 years. Can I apply for special consideration?
No, special consideration cannot be claimed for missed education due to Covid, 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 27th June
How do I apply for special consideration?
If school agrees to support your application you can apply for special consideration using the form available from [email protected] I’m really worried that the disruption over the pandemic will still have a negative impact on my grade
While we cannot promise you will get the grades that you are hoping for, we are expecting students to come away with good grades this summer. There have been a range of other changes that have been made this year which should help you maximise your chances of getting the grade you deserve. These include;
- Generous grading in comparison to the June 2019 examination series (the last year of real exams). A higher proportion of top grades and passes will be awarded nationally than in
- Advance information on the focus of examinations for most subjects (e.g. reduction in content for some subjects)
- Provision of support materials (formulae and equation sheets) and changes to coursework requirements in some subjects)
How have the Academy supported me?
As an Academy we have also supported you as much as possible during the challenging exam period with a range of activities
- A series of mocks in the hall in November & 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
- Specific online area on the Academy webpage which included personalised narrated PowerPoints from key staff
- A variety of revision resources available on Satchel:one (show my homework)
A guide for students sitting exams
You will receive a hard copy exam timetable with date and times for your exams. Bring this with you to your exam as it will have room/seat number on. It will also have your candidate number on – You will need to include this on your exam scripts.
Arrive at least 15 minutes before your exam. The invigilator will call you in when they are ready. If you are running late, please ring school and let us know so we can put arrangements in place.
Mobile phones must be switched off and placed in your bag. The invigilator/teacher will give instructions where bags must be kept. Do not keep it in your pocket. If you wish you can hand unauthorised material to the invigilator. This must be done before the exam starts.
Any watches must be placed in your bag – clocks will be visible to everyone in the exam room. Smart watches to be switched off and placed in your bag.
Remember black pens, remove labels from water bottles and clear pencil cases
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
Malpractice is subject to penalties and disqualification therefore;
- Mobile phones, iPods, MP3 players, Smart watches not to be used and switched off
- No notes to be taken into the exam
- No communicating with other students during the exam
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 don’t be afraid to ask! (such as extra paper, stationary, toilet break) If you do require a toilet break, you will be escorted by a member of staff
If you have access arrangements, these will be in place for you. If you feel you need other assistance, please ask the Exams Team for advice – if you no longer require your access arrangements, please let us know
Exams can be found opposite reception or contacted by [email protected]
Please do speak to your form tutor in the first instance if you need any further support for your exams. If you have any further questions, please ask.
Best wishes for your exams this summer.