19 May 2020
Dear Student (cc Parent/Guardian)
Further to my previous letter (dated 30th April), I am writing to inform you that whilst we still await absolute confirmation from Ofqual regarding the awarding of qualification grades, there is now sufficient guidance that has been released by both Ofqual and the awarding bodies to enable the College to determine how best to proceed, as I will set out below.
Since 23rd March, at which point the College ceased all onsite delivery and assessments for students, the Coronavirus restrictions have led to the cancellation of exams and affected the way in which a number of assessments would have been undertaken, for all students nationally studying vocational or technical qualifications.
At Plumpton College, the level of student engagement in your bespoke remote learning timetables since this point has been extremely pleasing as so many of you have worked hard to continue to access learning in a variety of forms to support your ongoing acquisition of knowledge and understanding, which is so important for your next level of study or to aid your progression into employment.
From an assessment perspective, the vast majority of you have also therefore been able to complete theory-based assessments relating to your course and in many cases, staff have been able to adapt your assessments (including some practicals) to enable these criteria to be met in other ways.
The methodology that the awarding bodies have now agreed is designed to be fair and consistent for all students and as far as possible, enable you to receive your results this summer, so that you can progress onto that next level of study or into employment.
The revised procedures for calculating unit and final grades therefore apply to all students who are completing their current courses this year and all those who are in the first or second year of a two or three-year course (who will continue studying at Plumpton in September).
Over the coming weeks, teaching staff will use a range of evidence to inform all individual students’ Centre Assessment Grades. This evidence base will differ slightly subject to individual awarding body interpretation and guidance, but will encompass the following:
i) Banked marks or grades for all completed units or individual assessments (including external assessments and exams) where the grades have been checked or verified by staff at the college.
ii) Internal assessment grades – for all work completed and marked but has not been verified.
iii) An evidence-based grade – that is estimated based on what you are most likely to have achieved had you been able to complete your assessments in the summer term as normal. For any students with an EHCP, these judgements will consider the likely achievement that would have happened with the reasonable adjustment or access arrangement in place.
In informing the above, the College is not required to use evidence generated after 20th March for the purposes of determining the Centre Assessment Grade. However, where these assessments have been completed and they offer no detriment to your overall grade (in other words, they do not pull your mark down), they will be included as part of the evidence base in point (iii) above and therefore will very much contribute to your overall Centre Assessment Grade.
It is equally clear that no students will be disadvantaged if you have been unable to complete work set after that date or have been unable to do so at the same standard as you were when you were attending college before 20th March.
As a result of this, I can confirm that the bespoke remote learning timetable that you have been following on Plumpton On Line (PoL) since the start of the lockdown will end this week, on Friday 22nd May. All students will be required to still complete any outstanding assessments as directed by your teachers or programme manager until the end of next week (Friday 29th May) and you should therefore remain in contact with staff and complete and submit work as required.
You will be able to continue to check Pro-Monitor over these next two weeks for individual assessment grades. After Friday 29th May, our teaching staff will complete the overall Centre Assessment Grades for each student, which will be submitted to the awarding bodies at the beginning of June.
All students will subsequently receive their final results either on 13th August (for Level 3 qualifications, alongside A’ Levels) or on the 20th August for other qualifications. Details of how you will receive these will be shared in due course, both on PoL and via email. Additional information regarding GCSE English and maths qualifications is already on PoL.
Unfortunately, the College will not be able to hold its annual awards ceremony for students, which was scheduled for Friday 19th June, but this will not affect you receiving your official results as set out above. We are exploring ways in which we can still hold an awards and celebration event for you all, ether virtually or later in the calendar year and I look forward to sharing details with you in due course.
In the meantime, I know that many of you have already indicated through your destination tutorials that you wish to return to college next year and study a different subject or at a higher level. Our Enquiries, Advice and Guidance team will be contacting to you in the coming week with details of your offer of a place for next year if you have not yet already received it. You should also soon be receiving details of the Summer Challenge 2020 which will set out a range of interesting ways in which you can start to prepare for your studies next year.
If you haven’t yet decided what your next steps will be or are now unsure of entering the job market due to the impact of Coronavirus, please contact us at any point in the coming months via the Enquires, Advice and Guidance team email@example.com. There is arguably no more appropriate time to continue your studies with us, and for us to work together to further develop your academic, practical and personal skills over the coming year.
If you have any questions at all about any aspect of your studies over these next two weeks, I would urge you to please join one of two webinars I will be hosting at 5.00pm on both Wednesday 20th and Thursday 21st May. I will be only too happy to answer your questions then.
We are planning to start the new academic year in September and are all excited about the prospect of having students back in college, as I know many of you are too. It is likely that with continued social distancing measures in place, and with staff and student safety first, your courses will be delivered through a combination of days spent at college and continuing with an element of online learning, but with an even greater emphasis on video lessons and tutorials that provide the same interactive learning experience as if you were in the classroom. I will share more details of that with you again in the coming weeks.
I have greatly missed having students here on campus over these past two months but have been inspired by the adaptability and resilience you have shown whilst remaining committed to your studies. I hope to see as many of you as possible back here at college next academic year, and wish all those of you who will be entering employment the very best in your future careers.
Since the original 400-acre College farm was bought back in 1919, Plumpton College has certainly seen a lot of changes.