We would like to thank all our students for the positive feedback and fantastic engagement in our new way of working and studying from home. We appreciate how well you have adapted to this significant change.
On 10 May, the government announced its broad plans for easing the country out of lockdown. This included the possibility of colleges offering some face-to-face support to students in the equivalent of year 12 from the beginning of June.
CWA will be prioritising students who may need practical assessments to enable them to progress to further learning or employment. We are currently looking at how we may be able to safely do this in a targeted and prioritised way and will communicate directly with these students. For the vast majority of our students, learning will continue online for the remainder of this academic year.
Access to IT/internet
Please be reassured that your inability to complete online work won’t prevent completion of your current course or impact on your opportunity to progress next year. The Government has instructed exam awarding bodies to take a flexible approach to qualification grades this year and we expect to get further clarification on this in the coming weeks.
Qualifications and progression
University Applicants: Student Finance is recommending that you get your financial applicants in ASAP https://www.gov.uk/student-finance
The Government has announced that this year’s summer exams, including A levels, GCSEs and other qualifications, as well as all primary assessments, have been cancelled. They’ve also made a commitment to ensure that affected students can move on as planned to the next stage of their lives, including going into employment, starting university, progressing to further courses at college or starting an apprenticeship in the autumn.
- For students on vocational or work-related courses, such as BTECs
Completed modules and assessed work to date will be used in calculating grades, although the exact way in which this is done will be different for different types of qualification and awarding body. It’s important to note that the Government is asking awarding organisations to show ‘the maximum possible flexibility and pragmatism to ensure students are not disadvantaged’ when calculating these grades.
- For GCSE and A-level students
Students will be awarded a calculated grade. This will be produced from a range of evidence provided by teachers, including performance on mock exams and non-exam assessment, combined with data from the exam boards. It’s important to note that for those students who wish to, there will still be the opportunity to sit your exams as soon as possible after schools and colleges re-open, and there will also be a process in place to allow appeals against the calculated grade. A level students have already been contacted via Buzz and LEARN with further details on how their grades will be calculated.
Calculating and awarding your qualification grades
Students and parents/carers will naturally want to understand how their grades will be decided.
Awarding bodies have been working with government, Ofqual and colleges to put in place arrangements which recognise the exceptional circumstances and look to minimise any potential detriment to students and apprentices. Their aim is that learners receive results that are neither advantaged nor disadvantaged compared to learners in previous or subsequent years. However, there are hundreds of different vocational and technical qualifications and so no single approach to awarding qualifications will work. We now know that courses will be slotted into one of three categories:
- Courses which are primarily about progression to further or higher education courses, including GCSE’s, Functional Skills, A Levels, many BTEC courses. The majority of CWA courses will fit into this category.
- Courses which are described as mixed purpose for progression to further courses or employment
- Courses which demonstrate occupational competence / licence to practice (eg Vet Nursing)
Many of you will be on category 1 courses and we have been given clear advice by the awarding bodies on how grades will be calculated for these courses. Your teaching team will inform you of how they will be doing this for your qualification. There will be no requirement to sit exams or complete assessments for modules not yet covered and this won’t affect your final grades.
For those of you undertaking courses in category 2, assessment requirements will be adapted (e.g on-line or remote tests / assessments or waiving or reducing normal work experience requirements).
For students on category 3 courses, the outcomes will be delayed until it is possible to enable you to sit practical exams as required by the relevant professional body.
Many apprenticeship end point assessments are likely to fall into either category 2 or 3.
The categories of most courses have now been confirmed and we will notify you through your teaching teams of specific details for your course in the coming weeks.
We expect most level 3 course outcomes to become available on 13th August 2020 and most level 2 outcomes on 20th August 2020, although this may vary for some awarding organisations. Level 1 grades should become available soon after students successfully finish their course.
We are also awaiting further information about the process for handling appeals against grades awarded this summer and arrangements to take assessments in the autumn if you are unhappy with the grades achieved.
There’s a lot of complexity with vocational qualification grades and still a lot of unknowns but please be reassured that we will communicate updated information about specific courses as it becomes available.
You can get further details on the arrangements for awarding grades in A level, GCSE, vocational and technical qualifications here.
Many students have already completed the required work experience for this year. However, some of you may have arranged, but not yet undertaken, it and some students won't have arranged it yet.
If you’ve already arranged it, there may still be a chance to complete it before the end of the academic year, depending on how the coronavirus restrictions develop. Make sure you've recorded your plans on the Student Portal. If you don’t get a chance to complete your planned work experience, don’t worry; your work experience co-ordinator will discuss this with you at a future date.
If you haven't yet arranged your work experience, as soon as the current coronavirus restrictions are lifted, please move forward with getting this in place. If you have any queries, contact your work experience co-ordinator.
Remember, we are here to support you in completing your course. We will be in touch with our students individually with further updates. Information about studying from home can be found here. In the meantime, get in touch with us with any queries:
- Course queries - your course tutor
- Work experience – your work experience co-ordinator