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Parent Bulletin 23/04/2021

Please see the latest parent bulletin from Mr Solly below...

Dear Parents and Carers,

When the sun is out at UCC during the summer term, school feels even more positive and calm - this has certainly been the case this week. We have made a really good start to the summer term and I have been impressed with the approach from students and colleagues across the school during this first week. 

This term brings with it another set of novel circumstances, with the obligation for grading decisions falling to schools for GCSE and A Level examinations. The profession has continually adapted throughout the pandemic and this is the latest in a series of new expectations for schools to deal with. Just as we broke up for the Easter break JCQ, Joint Council for Qualifications, released more guidance on the determination of grades for GCSEs for Summer 2021. JCQ stated that every school will now submit a Centre Policy which sets out the processes centres such as UCC will follow for determining grades, in an appropriate, consistent and fair way. Following submission, awarding organisations will review our Centre Policy and will accept and agree our processes. Awarding bodies could raise concerns with a Centre’s Policy and the approach proposed in relation to any aspect of the process and may arrange a virtual visit to provide further support and guidance where questions remain about a Centre Policy.  Awarding organisations will quality assure our processes, in addition to our own internal moderation, which will be extremely thorough. 

Awarding organisations (exam boards) provided support materials to schools during Easter to assist in the determination and submission of grades. This included questions, mark schemes, exemplar materials and grade descriptors. Schools have been disappointed by the lack of ‘new’ questions; most are taken from past papers for schools to choose to use in considering evidence for student performance in the GCSEs they are studying. Exam boards have started to publish question materials on their websites so the public will be able to access these, you can find them on the relevant board websites:


Pearson (Edexcel)

It is important to remember that Awarding organisations are responsible for determining final grades and awarding qualifications to students on results days in August. We fully understand that the summer term is always an anxious time for exam year students. With this new approach being so different this year, and different to summer 2020, this is a challenging time for students, their parents and colleagues in school. Our aim is to give students the opportunity to show what they know, understand, or can do, and to provide opportunity to show improvement. In a year affected by a pandemic no approach would be perfect, including this one - although it is better than if our Y11 students were required to sit the exams as normal. This quote from Maya Angelou resonated with me for this half-term ahead, “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” Our message to students has remained consistent in that they should revise carefully and act on feedback to achieve their very best, just like they have throughout this turbulent year.

Year 11 will have their official last day in school on May 28th. Mr Sievewright is co-ordinating the events of that day to ensure they are able to celebrate in the normal fashion.  Beyond May 28th, schools are expected to provide some form of provision for the 2 weeks after the Whitsun half term break. We are in the process of liaising with our post-16 partners to give students access to materials that will help them prepare for Year 12. We will offer Y11 the opportunity to either access these materials from home, or come into school and work in a computer room to engage with them if they do not have appropriate provisions for this at home. We will also offer students the opportunity to book 1-1 meetings with colleagues in school to discuss transition into post-16, careers advice or just a general wellbeing conversation. 

Your children will have noticed that the rebuilding work has started for the restoration and enhancements to the facilities damaged by the fire.  Whilst the fire was a devastating event and we have been required to complete a huge amount of additional work to recover from it, in the long term we will benefit from superbly refurbished facilities, and this is an exciting prospect to look forward to. 

Have a great weekend.
Take care and stay safe
Mr Solly