Covid-19 Disruption to Education
Entry Information for University and College Admissions Teams
Applicants for 2023-University entry are a cohort whose GCSE education was severely disrupted in Year 10 by the 20 March to 3 September 2020 lockdown and then again in Year 11 by the January 2021 until March 2021 lockdown. Therefore, they only received in-school teaching of GCSE courses for less than 3 terms across the 2 years and were not able to sit public examinations. This is not the ideal grounding for transition to A level work.
In the 2021 lockdown, our students were provided with on-line, real-time lessons as per the normal school timetable. However, our catchment area covers many rural areas with poor bandwidth provision, and also areas of low deprivation according to ACORN and POLAR measures. Therefore, not all students could necessarily access remote learning effectively. The school did ensure that laptops were made available where necessary and additional resources were provided to the disadvantaged. Also, as our Sixth Form attracts students from other schools in these areas of deprivation, we have a proportion of our cohort that may have not had such comprehensive support or similar access to remote learning.
Students have been closely tracked as they adapt to A level workload and those identified as falling behind expected achievement continue to be more closely monitored through an Academic Support Programme involving additional tutor or Sixth Form Management Team interventions and one-to-one meetings. Additional mentoring and counselling support are also provided to vulnerable students struggling with the ramifications of the Covid pandemic.
Unlike last year, many aspects of our in-school programme of Post-18 education and support have been able to be held in person this year but many supra-curricular activities and visits have remained virtual. Therefore, this cohort have still missed out on crucial on experience to help develop and support their applications.
Our internal Post-18 Gateway Examinations that have replaced AS took place in mid-June, giving these students there first experience of formal examinations. These exams normally form an important part, together with a teacher’s holistic class knowledge of a student, of UCAS predicted grades. Due to their lack of exam experience, students were given the opportunity to provide academic evidence for a possible increase in their current projected grade after Gateways by sitting subject tests in a formal testing week this September.
To assist with lost learning, the school has invested in additional staffing for this cohort to increase the number of lessons in each A-level subject from 9 lessons per fortnight to 10 lessons throughout this academic year.