Monday 22nd March 2021

Dear Parent/Carer,

Re: Year 11 alternative arrangements for summer 2021

You will have received a letter on Friday 5th March from Qualifications Wales in relation to the alternative arrangements for all schools in Wales in summer 2021. I am writing to you today to provide you with a further update on how these arrangements will be carried out for your child in Pontarddulais Comprehensive School.

The Headteacher, Mr Rees, wrote to you in January and provided a date for the next progress check, which was originally planned for March. However, in light of the announcement from Qualifications Wales, which included an updated timeline for schools and learners, we have needed to alter our assessment arrangements for Year 11. There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, pupils have been learning from home since the start of January with no face to face contact until last week. Therefore, limited time has been available to carry out any further quality assessments since the mock exams in December. Secondly, the updated timeline that has been provided by Qualifications Wales outlines the assessment window to carry out any additional assessments in school is between April and May. Finally, we believe that the limited time that Year 11 pupils have left in school should be used effectively with a greater emphasis on teaching and learning in order to prepare pupils for the summer assessments, which will be used as part of the evidence when deciding on Centre Determined Grades (CDGs). On Friday 18th June, the provisional CDGs, that will be submitted to the WJEC, will be issued to pupils and shared with parents/carers. An appeals process follows this date that has been explained below.

1. How Centre Determined Grades (CDGs) will be determined

CDGs in summer 2021 will be awarded on the basis of demonstrated attainment in areas of the qualification content that a pupil has covered. Whilst the approach to producing the CDGs will be holistic in its nature, the CDG will be awarded by the school using evidence of pupils’ work that is determined by WJEC Qualification Assessment Frameworks. Evidence that will be used is outlined in the Subject Assessment Plans for each qualification, an overview of the plans for each qualification can be found on the school website. All Subject Assessment Plans will be quality assured during the rigorous internal quality assurance process (further details below).

All teachers and assessors will make holistic, best-fit judgements, using all evidence, which are as objective and fair as possible and avoid bias. A range of evidence will be used for each qualification and the criteria for all qualifications will vary significantly depending on the course content and the assessment model outlined in the WJEC Qualification Assessment Frameworks. All CDGs will be moderated at subject and whole school level.

2. Summer Assessments

During the summer term pupils will have additional assessments in many subjects and these assessments may be used as evidence that contribute to the final CDGs. All assessment tasks will be undertaken in school during normal timetabled lessons, where possible. Assessments may take place over a number of lessons and all assessments will vary in duration. An assessment calendar is also included in the Assessment Pack that will be sent out with this letter and will also be available on the school website.

3. Access arrangements

Just as the case during normal examinations, access arrangements and reasonable adjustments will be made to allow candidates with specific needs, such as special educational needs or disabilities, to access assessments, meeting the needs of the individual without affecting the integrity of the assessment. All access arrangements must be agreed before an assessment takes place and should reflect the candidate’s normal way of working. Where a pupil has agreed access arrangements, such as a reader or scribe, the school will ensure that these arrangements are in place when all assessments are being taken.

4. Quality Assurance

We are required by WJEC to implement internal quality assurance processes to

promote consistency in grade decisions across the school, both within subjects and across

subjects. At each stage of the process a quality assurance check is completed by the relevant Head of Department and a member of the Headship Team. Before all CDGs are submitted to the WJEC a checking exercise will be completed by the Deputy Headteacher and the Examinations Officer. To see a more detailed overview of the school’s quality assurance process, please refer to the quality assurance flowchart on the school website.

5. Appeals Process

The appeals process for summer 2021 has three stages. The first stage is completed before results day and is arranged by the school. The second stage is after results day (August 12th) and is run by the Exam Board WJEC. The final stage can only be requested after stages 1 and 2 have been completed and is run by Qualifications Wales. The three-stage appeals process was included in the letter from Qualifications Wales that was sent to parents/carers on 5th March ‘Letter to Year 11 Learners’.

Stage 1 Internal Appeals (pre-result centre review) will take place during week commencing 21st June 2021. A request for a CDG to be reviewed must be made in writing to the School’s Deputy Headteacher (Complaints Officer). The Stage 1 Internal Appeals form can be found on the school website. Once an appeal is logged with the school a decision will be reached within 5 school days, if possible, and the pupil who is requesting the appeal will be notified of the outcome by week commencing 28th June 2021.

6. Support for pupils, parents and carers on the school website

To support pupils in preparation for the summer term, we have created a designated page on our school website for Year 11 summer assessments. The website will provide detailed information about each subject, including what evidence will be used alongside holistic judgement to determine the provisional CDG for all qualifications. Please click here to visit our Year 11 summer assessments page on the school website from Thursday 25th March, which is is the launch date of the website page:

On the website you will find the following information:

  • A welcome video explaining the summer arrangements in more detail;
  • Assessment Calendar for the summer term with dates of assessments for all subjects;
  • Deadline dates for controlled assessments/non-exam assessments for all applicable subjects;
  • Assessment Plan overview – this will outline the evidence that will be used to inform the Centre Determined Grade for each qualification;
  • The school timeline for the summer term showing all key dates;
  • Individual videos for some subjects – these will provide helpful tips that can be used when revising and preparing for assessments;
  • A one-page information sheet for each subject – these will outline the topics that pupils will need to revise for any forthcoming summer assessments;
  • Links to helpful resources and revision materials that can be used by pupils when preparing for summer assessments.

I would like to thank all school staff that have been working extremely hard behind the scenes to ensure that all pupils have all the information they need in order to help them prepare for the summer term.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank parents and carers for your continued support in working with the school to help motivate and encourage your child with home learning over the past 12 months. It has been an extremely challenging time for all pupils, parents, carers and staff. The Year 11 pupils have responded exceptionally well to the current situation and I am confident that with continued hard work over the summer term they will achieve academic success in their GCSE and vocational qualifications this summer.

If you have any further queries please get in touch with the school.

Yours sincerely,

Mr. A. Owens

Deputy Headteacher