Y11 Updates - NEW
The upcoming Year 11 Student and Parents' meetings - Further information & guidance on how to book your meeting:
What is the meeting about?
The following agenda has been established to help structure the discussions:
- General catchup and wellbeing check in
- Remote learning - sharing engagement data
- PPE results and current progress
- Reference Grade discussion
- Assessment Week (22nd to 26th February)
Who is my meeting with?
Meetings are mainly being led by Senior staff. However, where there are pre-existing working relationships, those staff may take the lead. The text message you received should tell you who your meeting lead is.
When are these meetings being held?
Meetings are being held the week beginning 8th February. There are many available appointments during the day and some in the early evening.
How do I book an appointment slot?
Please call Reception from Thursday 4th February from 9am. Our reception team will be able to book an appointment for you. If none of the allocated appointment times are suitable, then your meeting lead will contact you to find a suitable time slot.
How long are they?
The appointment slots last 15 minutes, to enable us to ensure we can meet with all our year 11 students and their families that week.
How do we meet?
These meetings will be held on Microsoft Teams. Soon after booking your appointment time a meeting will appear in your son's calendar on his Teams account.
Update: 2pm Friday 29th January 2021
The consultation process for the awarding of Year 11 exam grades for 2021 is almost at a close, and we trust that you have taken the opportunity to share your views on this via the link you were sent last week. The Senior Leadership Team, Heads of Departments and teaching staff have all submitted their views which have your son’s best interests at heart and in the hope of making the process more manageable for our 2021 leavers. Until a final announcement about exams has been made, there remains a lot of uncertainty about what may happen and how grades will be awarded. However, we do now understand that there will be a regulated period of assessment during the summer term, and ideally, we would want students to be working at their best when this period arrives. We are almost certain that students will be required to sit a number of assessments which will give them the chance to showcase their knowledge and skills. We await the final guidance following the consultation period with earnest.
We remain confident that we will also be able to use internally assessed performance, where we can, to support students’ awarded grades, and with this in mind, there will be an Assessment Week for Year 11 students, following the February half term holiday. During this week, students will be set assessments that will allow them to showcase their knowledge and skills, giving them a chance to improve upon their previous performance. We are currently formulating a concrete plan around this and will share it with you as soon as it is finalised.
We understand that the grades that your son achieved in the December Pre-Public Exams (PPEs) may not necessarily be indicative of his potential or his final grades. Please do not panic if this performance is not where you (or he) would ideally want it to be. We are grateful that we have this robust and timely snapshot of student achievement but are well aware that when these exams were taken, with six months to go, students are not the finished article by any means.
To aid progress, we will need to prepare our boys for whatever eventuality they may face, which is why we remain steadfast in our stance regarding remote learning: every student should be fully engaging with their lessons and taking every chance they are given to improve upon their prior performance. We know very well what our KNBS boys can achieve – however, without putting in the hard work, they will not get there. This is not a time to be resting on their laurels; it is the time for hard work and endeavour, to ensure that they fulfil their potential. Your support and encouragement for your son are hugely appreciated. Where students are engaging with their teachers, asking questions, submitting work and acting on feedback, we are seeing positive gains in terms of their performance.
Year 11 Parents’ Meeting Week
We are pleased to inform you that in the week commencing 8th February, you and your son will be invited to attend a Teams meeting, via your son’s account, to discuss his progress and next steps. To avoid the potential difficulties in setting up virtual meetings with individual teachers, and to facilitate a broader discussion, there will be one meeting with an allocated Senior Leader We will be on touch next week to arrange a 15-20 minute appointment with you at a time that is mutually convenient. We are fully aware of the constraints that parents have upon them during school and working hours, so we will endeavour to be as flexible as possible when arranging appointment times.
At the appointment, we will discuss, amongst other matters, the following:
- your son’s PPE achievement and his current performance
- his engagement with remote learning
- possible reference grade ranges
- preparation for the upcoming Assessment Week
It is important that your son is present at this meeting and that he fully engages with the discussion. It would be helpful if he has information about 6th form or college courses that he has applied for or is hoping to, as this can be useful in helping us to agree his reference grades.
Post-16 Destination References
We are starting to receive reference requests from post-16 providers (schools and colleges) as Year 11 students prepare for the next stage of their education, and we are happy to support our boys as they take this important next step.
As part of the process, we are usually asked to provide predicted grades for the end of Key Stage 4. When calculating any future grades, we will always be optimistic and supportive of your son, in an effort to create future opportunities for him. At the same time, these grades need to present a realistic picture; we would be doing your son a disservice if we claimed that he was likely to achieve grades significantly above his current trajectory of progress. We do, therefore, want you and your son to be involved in this process and for there to be an open and honest dialogue about what grade ranges will be shared with post-16 providers; we know how important it is for you and your son to feel that you have some control over the future.
We would personally like to thank you all for your commitment to supporting your son in what continues to be an exceptionally challenging academic year. We will continue to work alongside you to ensure that your son has every opportunity to fulfil his potential, regardless of what the coming months may bring.
Mr David Clayton
Update: 11am Monday 18th January 2021
While things have been very tumultuous these past couple of weeks, including the notice of most Year 11 exams being cancelled, we are pleased to report that the consultation with schools regarding the process for awarding exam grades is now underway. We are starting to find out more about plans relating to this but there remains a lot of uncertainty. We are currently scrutinising the consultation documents and will be making detailed representation on the behalf of students, staff, and families. Until the consultation period is over and final decisions are made, we continue to take a broad and balanced approach to Year 11 learning to ensure that we are not curtailing our boy's outcomes, regardless of how grades will be awarded.
All Year 11 students need to continue to fully engage with their learning by completing their lessons and uploading the tasks being set for them. As well as teaching new content, teachers are providing opportunities for them to demonstrate their capabilities, and it is important that they make the most of these by doing their very best. This continuation of learning allows us to provide regular feedback about how they can improve, which is vital preparation, not only for the whatever type of assessment they may face in the absence of exams but also for the pathways that they follow post-16.
On this note, we are currently preparing sixth form and college reference documentation, including those all-important 'expected grades', although this is somewhat different to normal under these more challenging circumstances. Students should be giving careful thought to what they want their next steps to be and should be making applications. Most providers keep their applications open for many months, but some have deadlines which may be looming – for example, King’s Norton Girls’ Sixth Form closing date is 22nd January, which is on Friday. Despite working remotely, we remain on hand to offer support and guidance relating to post-16 choices. Please do not hesitate to get in touch via your son's form tutor, Head of Year or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org if your son needs further help.
We understand how important the reference process is, so we want to ensure that we get this right, especially when so many things are up in the air right now. Once we have finalised our revised processes and protocols, we will be in touch to share these with you.
Update: 4pm Wednesday 6th January 2021 - Today's update comes with a feeling of relief as we welcome the Education Secretary's announcement that:
"Teachers, not algorithms, are to be trusted on exam grades."
It provides some reassurance that we will be able to avoid the chaos caused by the Government's approach to the awarding of GCSE grades last summer. However, we must now wait for the detail around how this will work. Once we have received this detail, we will share this information with you.
Until we have more information, we want to reassure our Year 11 students that the online teaching, videos, and assignments are being designed with teacher assessments in mind. We are determined to allow our boys opportunities to show us their very best. If they log into remote learning, engage with their teachers and complete these assignments, as many of them are already doing, they will be in a healthy position to move forward.
Update: 3pm Tuesday 5th January 2021
Further to our communication earlier today, what has now become clear is that GCSE exams, in their usual format, have indeed been cancelled. What is becoming clearer, although there remains no clarity on this, is that there will likely be some form of assessment in place of the exams, and we will be continuing in our efforts to prepare year 11 students for whatever the next few months may bring. It has been pleasing today to see that, despite the current uncertainty, huge numbers of students are continuing to engage with remote learning and their teachers, showing the ongoing commitment and resilience that we have come to expect from our KNBS boys. While none of this is as we would wish, be assured that we remain on hand to offer support and guidance, and we will update you of any changes when they happen.
Update: 8am Tuesday 5th January 2021
Dear Year 11 students,
I am sure that the recent and significant spike in transmission, leading to a national lockdown has left you feeling anxious. In our experience over the last 12 months the uncertainty is the worst thing, and last night's announcement from the Government left room for interpretation:
“In the circumstances, we do not think it is possible for all exams in the summer to go ahead as planned. We will accordingly be working with Ofqual to consult rapidly to put in place alternative arrangements that will allow students to progress fairly.”
This has been reported in the media as "exams are cancelled", however, unless they have more information than us then I think we should wait and see the detail before jumping to any decisions. For instance, at 22:54 last night I received an email from the DfE informing me that BTEC exams planned for January would continue.
For now, we must work on what we do know. The Government has not ruled out all exams yet, and we await their consultation and the further detail that we know will come. They have also set out an expectation that Year 11 students will access remote learning; therefore, we can make reasonable assumptions that this period of remote learning does matter. We suggest that you throw yourselves into your studies and show your teachers just how committed you are to your learning.
In turn, our staff will do the best they can to prepare you for what faces you in the summer and beyond. We will continue to cover the range of skills you may need, and we will provide opportunities for you to demonstrate the levels of performance that you can reach.
Allow us to take a moment to reassure you all that the December exams remain an indicator of strengths and weaknesses. They will enable us all to enhance your performance levels. They are not the 'go-to-grade' if the school is tasked with submitting estimated or centre assessed grades in the future. We have a good understanding of our students and we understand that you are likely to make significant progress between those December exams and the final exams you were scheduled to sit in the summer.
In summary, our advice is for you to engage with your teachers remotely, show them how committed you are, and we will update you as soon as we know more.
Mr D Clayton