Update on January exams

Dear Parent or Carer 

You may have seen the recent media coverage about the planned vocational qualifications set to take place this January are being allowed to go ahead at the centre’s discretion. However, despite this announcement, the Department for Education has confirmed that this summer’s GCSE and A Level examinations will not be taking place and will instead be replaced by teacher grades. 

Regrettably, and after careful consideration, I am writing to inform you that I have taken the decision not to allow the scheduled OCR Cambridge Nationals in Sports Science and Creative iMedia to take place next week (11 January 2021) on health and safety grounds, which I believe, at this current time, should take priority over these examination sittings.

The Prime Minister’s decision to close schools on Tuesday 5 January 2021 (apart from to vulnerable students or the children of critical workers) was based on scientific and medical advice and the fact that there are increased transmission rates in children of primary school, secondary school and college age. 

Reassuringly, there are two more opportunities for your child to sit these examination components. We feel that the summer 2021 and January 2022 examination sittings will be more advantageous as we will hopefully not be in the midst of a national lockdown and school closures due to a significant rise in Covid-19 infections regionally and nationally. This has obviously had an impact on our preparations for the examinations. 

I also think that given that 75% of Sports Science and iMedia is assessed on coursework it is important that we concentrate on this larger proportion of assessment at this time after which we will prepare our students thoroughly for their future examination sittings. 

OCR, the awarding body, made the following announcement yesterday: 

Our priority is to ensure students are not disadvantaged. We know students and teachers have been working hard towards the January exams and many will want to take the opportunity to sit them.

If your students do not take our exams this January, there are options:

  1. There may be an opportunity to take their assessment at a future date. If this is not possible due to arrangements still to be announced for this summer, we will work with the DfE and Ofqual to make sure they are treated fairly.

Please follow this link: 

I would like to offer my profuse apologies to both our hard-working students and dedicated staff who have been working together in preparation for the examinations, and to you as parents or carers: this decision was certainly not taken lightly and was made in everybody’s interests. The hard work undertaken by our students is not wasted and when it comes to revising for the other scheduled examination sittings, the knowledge and skills acquired in this period of study will, I’m sure, serve our students well. If the summer examinations do not take place, I am confident that the examination board will ensure that your child will be assessed fairly and that they will not be disadvantaged.

Yours faithfully 

Mr G Moffatt


Ash Hill Academy