A copy of this letter, and all associated forms, has been posted to those families affected by the vocational qualification external examinations.
Dear Parents and Carers,
Vocational qualification external examinations
Your child is due to complete an external examination for their vocational qualifications. This was originally scheduled prior to the lockdown announced by the Government on the 4th January 2021, and as such we are being continually updated about the best approach to take when arranging for children to take their examinations.
We will continue to deliver the vocational qualifications to those students who wish to complete their assessments. We want to support our learners who make the choice to take their assessments, particularly for those who have continued to work so hard in preparation.
We are confident that our procedures and risk assessments are robust and take the necessary steps to secure the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff. However, we do appreciate that many families are concerned by the most recent updates regarding the spread of Covid-19, and we recognise that some students, and their families, are uncomfortable with the prospect of attending school to carry out their examinations.
As such, we are providing our students with a choice as to whether they wish to attend school for their external examinations or not.
We understand that this is not an easy decision to take, and we know that our students will need to take some time to consider their options carefully.
Whilst the Department for Education have yet to confirm the arrangements for awarding grades for children studying these examinations, we have been informed that students will not be penalised as a result of opting not to take their assessments during the Covid-19 pandemic. There is recognition that this is an extraordinary set of circumstances and that students should not be held back as a result.
If your child does not choose to take their assessments, you must inform us of that decision by completing the slip below and returning this to us in the pre-paid envelope. It is essential that we are provided a written notice of withdrawal as we may be unable to declare your child’s absence as a result of extenuating circumstances.
You may have heard that testing for those without coronavirus symptoms is beginning across the country using new, quicker COVID-19 tests known as ‘lateral flow tests’.
Along with the other protective measures we are taking, these tests will help staff and pupils to remain in school/college safely. Up to one third of people who have coronavirus experience no symptoms. By testing we will help to stop the virus spread and help to keep our school open as safely as possible. The test is voluntary, but I would encourage everyone to take it.
We will be testing all staff and secondary school and college pupils who want to participate from week commencing 11th January 2021.
I enclose an instructional leaflet with some more information.
If you are happy for your child to be tested, please fill in the form attached and the enclosed consent statement (one per pupil) and return it to the school office. Your child must bring this consent form with them to school.
Those taking the test will be supervised by trained staff. The ‘lateral flow’ tests are quick and easy using a swab of your nose and throat. For under 18s, staff can oversee the swab process.
Results (which take around half an hour from testing) will be shared directly with staff and pupils participating. Where participants are under 16, parents or legal guardians will also be informed.
We know these tests work - in validation studies conducted by Oxford University and Public Health England, they were shown to be as accurate in identifying a case as a PCR test (99.68% specificity). The tests have lower sensitivity but they are better at picking up cases when a person has higher viral load, hence the need to test frequently.
Testing will be offered free of charge.
If your child will be participating in the Covid-19 testing programme, we ask them to attend school at least one hour before the examination is due to take place. This will provide enough time for the test to be administered, for students to receive their result, and for them to be ready for the examination.
Your child must bring their complete consent form with them. We will not perform testing on any child without a written copy of the consent form.
I want to thank you again for your continued support and patience during this unprecedented time.
Mr J. Anderson
Waverley Studio College