Hats off to Year 11
School continues to feel increasingly normal as every week goes by – attendance is improving, lessons are purposeful, extra-curricular is returning and we’re praying that the potential for Covid disruption keeps fading further away. We’ve even started to see a little more of the pre-covid misdemeanours of lateness to lesson from a few younger students, a sign that things must indeed be ‘normal’ again.
However one thing that is far, far from normal is the experience of Year 11. If this were a standard school year then we would be just two weeks from the first formal exam. Students and staff would be working flat out to prepare. Parents, siblings and family pets would be fully aware of the stresses that the students were under. The culmination of the past two years’ work would be just around the corner, and I personally would be looking forward to the first exam. I always get excited by the start of the exam season; it’s the time when the students show themselves at their best and the whole school comes together to support Year 11. The atmosphere changes a bit as the massive exam machine kicks into gear.
But not this year. This year we are heading towards TAGs – Teacher Assessed Grades – based on a growing base of evidence produced every day in lessons. Across the whole curriculum students are completing assessments based on what they have been taught over the past two years, supported by learning support assistants and teachers. The process is pretty relentless and I am full of admiration for how well the Year 11s have settled to the task. We’re about half way through now and I am sure that much good work is yet to be created over the final four weeks. The marking load for teachers is pretty high, but speaking as a Yr11 teacher myself I am happy to say it’s worth it. I have always had a great deal of respect for the class of 2021 and it’s a privilege to be able to pitch in and work hard alongside them in these totally unpredictable circumstances.
A lot of information is going to Year 11 students and parents/carers today as we guide them through the complexities of the TAG process. I therefore just wanted to reaffirm that looking past all the paperwork and procedures, we are very proud of you, the Class of 2021, and are determined to help you get grades you deserve.
Ps Thanks to everyone involved in Year 10 parents evening yesterday – another successful virtual event with around 95% attendance!