The GCSE exam season has come to an end for most of our Schools, I want to thank everyone across our whole organisation for playing a part in ensuring GCSE exams could take place. The last few years have been really challenging for GCSE exams and no exams happened last year and the wider impact of that was the lack of JC Q inspectors and trained inspectors who could ensure the openings of new exam centres. Last year we trained staff in all regions and open exam centres in all regions to ensure that our pupils could sit GCSEs in a safe environment. All Schools nationally have faced challenges with exams this year with the lack of trained invigilators/exam officers and inexperienced teams in the exam board could not provide the training advice to the pre-pandemic level.
We had a number of challenges for this year’s exam series which were influenced by the pandemic and in November 2021 we were informed of the contingency plan, which was going to be expanded further in February and a clear decision was not made on the GCSE exams until February 2022 by the DFE, and the additional pressure on schools from multiple mock exams was not something that anyone in education had experienced before and as an organisation, we managed to support our students through all the scenarios. The wider impact of the pandemic resulted in a much longer wait for schools to be JC Q registered and some schools in April/May missed out on JC Q inspections to become an exam centre because the inspector had covid. We worked relentlessly to ensure that all our pupil’s access arrangements were in place for their exams and that they were not disadvantaged in any way, and staff nationally supported in transporting students, invigilating and preparing students for exams.
I also want to take the opportunity to thank all staff who ensured that GCSE exams could go ahead by adapting their lessons, taking students on trips who were not in year 11 and working around the examination teams. I will be in touch next week to discuss the results they and the appeals and re-mark process.
Our preparations for the 2023 exams have started today and over the next year, we are hoping to prepare schools, staff and students for the 2023 exam series. All exam series provide a number of learning opportunities and if anyone has any suggestions on how we can be more efficient in our approach to exams next year please do get in touch?
Thank you all for your support