Shaftesbury High School

Shaftesbury High School

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Letter to parents/Guardians of pupils in Year 11

8 January 2021 (by Robert Fitzpatrick (robert.fitzpatrick))

FOA Parent/Guardian of

All pupils in Y11


01257 249803


Our ref:



08th January 2021


Dear Parents/Guardians/Carers

At the point of writing, everything contained below is as accurate as possible. Should anything change, as it often does at short notice, we will endeavour to keep you as updated, as much, and as quickly as possible.

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on 4 January of a further national lockdown and recently announced updates for schools on the 6th, you will have heard that there will be changes to the way pupils are awarded their qualifications again this summer (2021)

We appreciate there will be many questions, and we will try our best to answer them. From what we know now, it is understood that GCSE grades will be awarded by teacher assessments. This, however, is not as straightforward as it would seem.

Several things need to be taken into consideration for teachers to arrive at a grade, from previous attainment through to the most recent recording of assessment. The pupils in Y11 have missed a lot of face-to-face teaching, and what little opportunity there has been, has been disrupted due to periods of isolation.

We want to ensure you all pupils will be supported by Shaftesbury, as well as our providers to ensure there is as much accurate assessment information as possible, as this will be required to evidence, and support teacher assessed grades.

We are currently looking at ways we can provide rigorous assessment information that will support pupils to achieve their grades and the attached guidance and expectations will help support pupils to eliminate as many gaps in learning as possible.

Currently, pupils will also have access to external assessments as planned, via our providers, however, we are awaiting further advice on how this will take place, whilst ensuring the safety of pupils. It may well be that they are rescheduled for when schools, colleges and training providers return to business as usual. 

We are also looking at the practicalities of running formal assessments via online mock examinations to support Y11 pupils demonstrate their abilities. As this is not the usual way of working, it may take a little time to set this up.

For now, we expect all pupils, whether in attendance to school, isolating or staying at home, to access the high-quality teaching that is available to them via the online learning platform attached to the school website.

You will appreciate that should pupils not engage in any of the work set, it would be impractical and indeed, almost impossible to award any GCSE grades to these pupils. It is therefore vital that all Y11 pupils engage in the work set for them.

As always, if you have any issues or questions that require answering, please feel free to discuss with your pupil’s key worker or you can contact school directly.

Below lays out the expectations for pupils whilst working from home. These expectations are drawn from government guidance supplied to schools:

Pupils are entitled to the same provision for lessons that they would receive if they were in school. As we operate on the individual needs of pupils, this will look very different from pupil to pupil.

Pupils in KS3 will have access to a full curriculum, where practical, including a minimum expectation of core subjects of Maths, English and Science. Other curriculum subjects will be tailored to individual pupil’s needs and it is expected that they access the subjects that they are directed towards.

We would expect adults to encourage pupils to engage as much as possible in the activities set by teachers. We do not expect parents/guardians to be teachers and deliver content however, it is possible that pupils many need some support to complete the work.

Staff will be available for communication during school hours only and is welcomed, however, please restrict this to school hours. No communications received beyond 4pm may not be actioned and any communications beyond 6pm will not be acknowledged until the next school day.


As a general rule, most activities will take approximately 20-30 mins depending on what it is. Some may take longer. The maximum time expected to be spent on any single subject would be 45 mins. This would include any directional/instructional communications and video etc.

All activities should stretch and challenge pupil’s knowledge and understanding. Some activities will reinforce learning, so may appear easy, others will be more demanding in order to stretch pupils knowledge base.

Most content has been directed to be designed so it can be completed electronically. Should a pupil desire to work on paper, this can be photographed and submitted as evidence. Any paper-based work that arrives in school will be left for a period of 72 hours before it is opened, and it is possible this may not be marked in the traditional way. As you will appreciate, this is not conducive to assessing progress, however, our teachers are very professional and will endeavour to provide feedback to pupils.

Pupils are not expected to sit for ‘live’ lessons at specified times, however, for the sake of routine, and for the benefit of pupil’s wellbeing, we would advise that a routine is established that pupils can adhere to.

We also appreciate that this may be difficult, and we do offer some flexibility for deadlines but please do not assume work can be ignored as this would be detrimental to pupils development and learning. Please discuss any issues with key workers, who will be in contact throughout this period and will be happy to offer any assistance they can.

Work provided for pupils will always be set in line with National Curriculum expectations. The level of these expectations will depend on the level pupils are working at. Work may appear to be ‘too easy’ however, a lot of assessment and hard work goes in to providing work at an appropriate level. If you have any concerns, please contact school to discuss.


Pupils’ access to work will be monitored by staff. If there are signs of non-engagement, procedures will be put in place for pupils to attend school. For this purpose, communication is key. If there are any issues please contact school in the first instance.

Yours sincerely