Wednesday 6th January 2021
Dear students, parents & carers
National vocational exams during National Lockdown – January 2021
As you are aware, national vocational exams for 16-19 study programmes and some adult learning programmes have been planned to take place over the next couple weeks, starting from today, Wednesday 6th January 2021.
Following the announcement of the national lockdown by the Prime Minister at 8pm on Monday 4th January 2021, late on Tuesday 5th January 2021, we received the further guidance we had been waiting for from the Department for Education on whether the planned exams will go ahead. The guidance we have been given by the Government is that it is for the College to make the decision as to whether to hold the exams or not.
After very careful and detailed consideration, and the Secretary of State for Education’s Statement to Parliament this afternoon, we have taken the extremely difficult decision to CANCEL any further vocational exams planned to take place during Lockdown after today, Wednesday 6th January 2021 until further notice.
We know how hard so many of you have worked for these exams, that you will be disappointed not to take them and that some of you may still want them to take place. However, having heard from or spoken directly to many of you, we also know that some of you are feeling very concerned and anxious about attending college at this time or have vulnerable family members whom you want to protect, others may have had interrupted learning through needing to self-isolate during the past term or do not feel safe coming on to the campus at this difficult and uncertain time.
We are very sorry for the late changes and confusion around the status of the planned January exams. We have not take the decision to cancel them lightly, but we have now been told that Awarding Organisations will make alternative arrangements to ensure no learner is disadvantaged. Whilst the specific arrangements and details regarding the alternative arrangements have not yet been finalised or released by Ofqual or the Awarding Organisations we now feel confident that making a late and carefully considered decision to cancel is now in the best interests of all of our students. We will now be working closely with the Awarding Organisations and will update you when we have further information to share.
We know how difficult a time this has been for you and we are very sorry that students taking vocational exams have been hit hardest by the uncertainty that has surrounded exams because of the timing of Government decisions. We want you to be completely assured that the safety, well-being, continuity of learning and successful outcomes and progression for all of our students is our highest priority and we will continue to support you completely in the coming weeks and months to achieve your full potential.
If you need further support and guidance please do not hesitate to contact your tutor, a member of our Helpzone Team or a member of our Safeguarding & Wellbeing Team.
Finally, please remember that we expect you to fully engage in your scheduled teaching, learning and assessment activities to ensure you develop the skills, knowledge and behaviours required to achieve and progress. We expect that College information relating to individual student progress and attainment will be used to inform final grades for all student outcomes in some way, and so we are stressing the importance of focusing on learning and the completion of related work and assignments.
Principal & CEO
South Devon College