An Update for Year 11 Pupils and their Parents

Dear Year 11,

I hope that this letter finds you well and please accept my very best wishes for 2021.

GCSE Examinations

I know that many of you will be feeling anxious about last week’s government announcement that this year’s public examinations will no longer take place. Early next week the Department for Education and the exams regulator, Ofqual, are likely to be releasing their proposals for what will replace full-blown exams in the summer. The government have promised that whatever system is introduced, all sixteen year olds will be treated fairly, gaining qualifications which will allow them to progress. On our part, we can also offer a promise: that we will do everything we can to support you as we decide on centre assessed grades which are arrived at in a manner which is professional, fair and objective. The promise that you need to make to yourself is that you will continue to work flat-out, attending all lessons, working hard and completing all assignments.


Because we do not know how your GCSE grade will be determined this summer, we have decided that we are not in a position to award GCSE grades to your work from this point on, or to provide you with a progress report which includes an expected grade for each subject. Your teachers will of course still mark your work! They will comment on strengths and areas for development and are likely to make reference to assessment criteria and, where appropriate, use marks and percentages but not an overall grade. We hope that you find this helpful and appreciate the way in which it will help you to progress without being fixated on one grade.


Your PPEs should have been taking place this week. There are 200 exam desks set out in the sports hall but no pupils to attend! We do still however intend to offer some form of mock examinations on your return to school. PPEs are always important but you can understand that this year’s will take on a greater significance than normal. It would seem sensible to build revision into your ongoing class and homework so that you are well prepared for any eventuality.

Sixth Form Applications

Applications for the sixth form have reached record levels. The number from St Christopher’s is strong; the number from other schools is jaw-droppingly high! If you have yet to complete your application, now is the time to act. Follow the link on the school web site and fill-in the online application before it’s too late. Interviews for the sixth form will begin later this month. If you have already applied we will write to you soon to offer you a time/date for a telephone interview with a senior member of staff.


The key messages from this letter concern the importance of avoiding idle speculation about the awarding of GCSE grades (try not to worry about the things that you cannot control) and the reminder of the need for hard work. Approaching uncertain times in this way is the only guarantee of best serving your own interests.

As soon as I have more information about the future of your examinations I will write again. In the meantime, keep safe and well.

Kind regards,

R D Jones