Headteacher’s Blog 16th July 2021
would like to thank all parents and members of the wider community linked to Notre Dame for your
support, spoken and unspoken, of the way that staff in school have responded to the different
hurdles faced this year. I and my colleagues really appreciate the many messages of support that we
have received and we have been grateful for the feedback too where things have not been working
for you and your families.
The summer term is always a time when we mix saying goodbye to some members of our
community and planning for the new year ahead which will also include welcoming new people. We
have said goodbye and wished luck to the students who are leaving us and we have been planning to
welcome students who are joining us in Y7 and those joining from other schools in Y12.
We recently had our new staff induction day and it was exciting to see in one room the new
colleagues who will be working with us next year, bringing fresh eyes and their unique gifts.
However, what comes with that is the sadness of saying goodbye to some colleagues who will leave
us at the end of term.
We say goodbye to Mrs Garbutt, Mr Griffiths and Mrs Croft who are all moving on from our Maths
department. We also say goodbye to Mr Knowles (PE teacher), Mr Scrupps (English teacher). Mr
Pollard is moving on from our SEND team where he has worked as a Learning Support Assistant. We
will also be saying goodbye to Mr Doherty (Teacher of RE and Head of Year) and to Mrs Bullars
(Deputy Head Teacher).
These colleagues are moving on for a range of reasons with many promotions, a start to teacher
training and some related to family and being nearer home. In all cases, these people have made a
difference to our school through their presence and have worked with colleagues and students in a
year that has often asked us to step out of our comfort zone. They have done so magnificently.
We also have some colleagues who are retiring this year after many years of outstanding service to
our school. Mrs Silvester (6th form administrator), Mrs Ashton (Science Technician) and Mr
Dowdeswell (History teacher and former SENDCO) will all be moving into the next chapter of their
lives, having brought so much of themselves to their work in this school for many years.
In my role, I have of course worked particularly closely with Mrs Bullars and Mr Doherty and I will
deeply miss their enormous talent and in both cases their combination of integrity with a healthy
sense of fun. Mr Dowdeswell has also been a wonderful source of encouragement and advice
through my career, living his faith so clearly in all he does. Parents and students will have their own
memories of different colleagues on this list and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them
all sincerely on behalf of everyone who has worked with them, students, parents and staff.
For all those members of staff and for our students who are moving on to new beginnings, I share a
short blessing from a wonderful book that I received as a gift.
Awaken your spirit to adventure
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm
For your soul senses the world that awaits you
have already received about results day and the start of the new academic year. It is not new
information, I just share it so that it is in one place for convenience.
For everyone who has some time off in the coming weeks, I wish you a really good break.
Message from Mr Coats:
The final monitoring report of the year was published on Wednesday. Your child was given a paper copy to take home on Wednesday and we also published a copy on Bromcom. If you have not yet seen a copy of your child’s monitoring report, you can access it on MCAS (My Child At School) which is the parent app for Bromcom. If you haven’t yet downloaded the MCAS app we would urge you to do
so as soon as possible. If you need any assistance with passwords and logins, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Messages from MFL:
Well done to three of our Spanish Y12 students who have contributed greatly to our
community and shown excellent initiative and skills.
Natalie Sanders, Vaila Smith and Joe Flannery planned and delivered a starter task for a Y7 Spanish class on two occasions in order to get some experience with being in front of a class and with using their language abilities. They were very professional, organised and our Y7 students really enjoyed their well-planned lessons. İBuen trabajo chicos!
Mrs Greenwood- Quy
A big thank you and congratulations to all students taking part in the Languages Euro 2020 competition, 1st prize James Curran, 2nd prize Emanuel Asefa and 3rd prize Stephanie Cooray. There were some great entries and it was difficult to choose the winners! Every entry will get a positive for their contributions, well done!”
Research insight from the Social Sciences Department:
Y12 Personal Investigations
On Wednesday 10th July, the Y12 Psychology students planned and carried out a Personal Investigation as part of their Psychology A-Level. The purpose of the experiment was to explore whether gender (male or female) would affect helping behaviour.
This experiment required dedication and planning from all of our Y12 Psychologists and teachers and was a truly positive end to the year. Thank you to all involved and we wish you all a restful summer break.
The following research was conducted in the common room area of Notre Dame Sixth Form between 11:40 – 12:20.
Accident 1 – Female victim – Age 16
Paper recycling box (overflowing)
5 second accident – fell to the ground, got back up, started to pick up paper
2 x bags
Accident 2 – Male victim – Age 16
Textbook, bag, and plastic box of colouring pencils (several colours)
10 second accident – fell to ground, got up, started to pick up pencils
During the experiment
Confederates (Psychology students) sat in different areas of the common room. They were given a recording sheet to record the following:
1) Frequency of help
2) Frequency of those who looked but didn’t help
3) Frequency of those who did not help
After the experiment – Students debriefed using debrief form to ensure ethical guidelines were adhered to.
Would we accept our experimental Hypothesis of More observers to a (non-serious) staged accident will offer help to a female victim compared to a male victim.
Would we accept our null hypothesis that There will be no difference in the number of observers that offer help to a female victim and the number that offer help a male victim.?
Our descriptive statistics showed the following results:
Further analysis in terms of Statistical testing was used. The Chi-squared test of significance revealed that our data was not significant. Therefore, we accepted our null hypothesis that there was no significant difference in the amount of help offered to a male/female victim. This was contradictory to previous literature into helping behaviours and gender which was very interesting!
The students in allotment club made a salad and dressing to go alongside it.
The students picked their first radishes, some of them trying them for the first time.
Start of term arrangements (including on-site Covid testing)
Wednesday 1st and Thursday 2nd September are training days. No students in
Friday 3rd September
1st day in school for all Y7 students and Y12 students
joining us from other schools.
Students in Y7 and Y12 students joining from other
schools will all arrive for a 9am start and will have
their Covid test during the morning.
Students in Y11, Y13 and those joining Y12 from
Notre Dame will receive a letter with an
appointment time for a Covid test during the day.
They will come to school for their test only
Monday 6th September
All students in school, arriving for a 9am start as
Y8, Y9 and Y10 students will have their Covid tests
during the morning
The plan above is slightly different from the one I outlined in my last Blog as we are able to run testing so that Y7, Y8, Y9 and Y10 students do not have to have a staggered start, but come in to school for the start of their first day at 9am as normal.
The reason we need to ask students in Y11, Y13 and those joining Y12 from Notre Dame to come in on Friday 3rd September for a test only is because it is the least disruptive way we can manage to ensure all students have had the offer of one on-site test on or before their fist day in school. Any other approach requires staggering the starts further and we have tried to avoid that.
You will receive letters about testing before the return in September and the letter will include a consent form for you. We can only provide the tests with your consent. Thank you in advance for your continued support.
Plans for A Level and GCSE results days
This is a copy of the information on the letter that you will have received if you have a child who is getting GCSE or A Level results this summer.
A level: Tuesday 10th August 2021
GCSE: Thursday 12th August 2021
How will I receive my results?
We will run a similar arrangement to last year, with results being sent to you electronically at home, but with members of staff in school on hand in case of any questions or support needed.
Results will be sent via email to students’ school email accounts at 8am on results day. This will simply list each subject and final grade.
A second email will be sent shortly afterwards that will contain a break down of the evidence that was used to arrive at the grades awarded as described in our Centre Policy. This will contain a reminder of the monitoring trajectories that we used and the grades scored on individual pieces of assessed work during the summer term.
If you have forgotten the login details to your school email account, you will need to phone the exams line to make an appointment to come into school with identification. We will not be able to give out login details over the phone.
Alternatively, you can come into school before the end of term.
How can I access support?
It is important to us to be able to provide you with any support that you require on results days. This may be support with your next steps, pastoral support or to answer any questions that you have about the appeals process or autumn exams…. or you may just wish to chat to someone!
Our phone lines will be open at the times stated below so you can phone up to book an appointment to either come into school and have face to face support or book a telephone appointment. We have extra phone lines set up on results day so you can get through to us as fast as possible and we can support you.
Dedicated exams line – 0114 2632206.
The phone line will be staffed the following times:
Tuesday 10th August 2021 – 8am – 3.30pm
Wednesday 11th August 2021 – 9am – 3pm
Thursday 12th August 2021 – 8am until 3.30pm
Friday 13th August 2021 – 9am until 12noon
The Appeals Process if you think something has gone wrong
If you believe that something has gone wrong that we don’t know about, there is a clearly defined appeals process.
This is set out in the two documents produced by JCQ. You have links to these documents in the letter which was sent to you.
We have included below a helpful summary that we hope will answer the majority of questions you may have about the appeals process.
How were my / my child’s grades arrived at this year?
Grades this summer were based on Teacher Assessed Grades (TAGs). TAGs were submitted to the exam boards by us as a holistic assessment of students’ performance in a subject, following a rigorous process of assessment, moderation and quality assurance.
These grades were then approved by the relevant exam board, following external quality assurance checks.
In some cases, the TAGs we submitted may have been reviewed by the exam board, who may have then asked us to submit an alternative grade. However, any changes to the grades we submitted were done by professional teachers or reviewers; this year no grades have been changed as a result of an algorithm.
What do I do if I’m not happy with my / my child’s grade?
All students have the opportunity to appeal their grade if they meet the eligibility criteria (see below). It is important to note that an appeal may result in a grade being lowered, staying the same, or going up. Therefore, if a student puts in an appeal and their grade is lowered, they will receive the lower mark. It is important to understand that any appeal must be made by the student, rather than the parent.
There is also the option to resit A levels in the autumn, which may be preferable to some students. The design, content and assessment of these papers will be the same as in a normal year.
What are the grounds for appeal?
There are four main grounds for appeal, as dictated by the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ). They are:
• You think we have made an administrative error: an example of this would be putting the wrong
information into a spreadsheet.
• You think we have made a procedural error: this means we haven’t properly followed our own process, as approved by the exam board. An example of this would be where you’ve been told you should have received extra time for assessments but this wasn’t given in a certain subject.
• You think the academic judgement on the selection of evidence was unreasonable: you think the evidence used to grade you was not reasonable.
• You think the academic judgement on the grade you were given was unreasonable.
What does ‘unreasonable’ mean?
‘Unreasonable’ is a technical term in this context and means that no educational professional acting reasonably could have selected the same evidence or come up with the same grade.
This means that just because other forms of evidence may have been equally valid to use, the selection of evidence is not unreasonable. Because of the flexibility of the approach this year, every school and college will have used different forms of evidence.
It also means that the independent reviewers will not remark or grade students’ evidence. Instead, they will look to see whether any teacher acting reasonably could have arrived at the same grade.
What will be the outcome of an appeal?
At either stage of the appeals process (see ‘What are the two stages of an appeal?’ below), a student’s grade may go up, stay the stay, or go down. When placing an appeal the student will have to sign a declaration saying that they accept the fact their grade may go down and they may get a lower grade than their original TAG.
What’s a priority appeal?
Priority appeals will be handled more quickly than other appeals, where possible before UCAS’s advisory deadline of 8th September.
Priory appeals are only open to A level students starting university this autumn, who have missed out on the conditions of their firm or insurance offer.
If you decided not to confirm a firm conditional offer and to go through clearing instead, JCQ cannot offer you a priority appeal.
When making a priority appeal, students will have to include their UCAS number so it can be confirmed that it is a genuine priority appeal.
A Level students – What should I do if I don’t get into my first choice of university?
Firstly, don’t panic. You can make an appointment to speak to someone in the sixth form team about your options.
You can do this by phoning the exams line at school on 0114 2632206 and making an appointment to come in and talk to us. You may wish to go through clearing, or to sit the autumn exams or
summer exams next year to try to improve your grade. If you are going to appeal your grade, you must let your university know you are appealing.
They will then let you know whether they will hold a place for you pending the outcome of an appeal (note that universities are not obliged to hold a place for you; this is at their discretion).
What should I do before appealing?
Students must read the JCQ Student and Parent guide before appealing, which will be available on the JCQ website by results days. The JCQ website is www.jcq.org.uk
We would also strongly encourage you to speak to us before embarking on the appeals process. We will ensure you have the correct paperwork, that the grounds on which you may wish to appeal lie within one of the four main grounds for an appeal, and that you understand that the process may result in your grade going both up or down.
What are the two stages of an appeal?
All appeals, on any of the grounds above, must first go through a centre review. At this stage, we will check for any administrative errors, and check that our policies and procedures were followed correctly. Our policy has already been approved by the exam boards, so we are only ensuring that we followed this properly.
The outcome of the centre review will be communicated to students when made.
At the centre review stage, if we find that a grade should go up or down, we will ask the exam board to change it. They will then consider this request.
Following the outcome of a centre review, students may still choose to pursue an awarding organisation appeal.
They must fill in the form below, which we will then send on their behalf to the exam boards. Students and parents cannot send appeals directly to the exam board themselves – it must come from us. The outcome of the awarding organisation appeal will be communicated to students when made.
How do I make an appeal?
Following results days, we strongly recommend that any students wishing to request a centre review should first contact the school to discuss this. We will ensure that you have the correct form and ensure that you understand the different grounds on which a centre review can be made. This is important so that delays aren’t caused by forms being incorrectly completed. We will also do our best to answer any questions you may have. To speak to someone in school please phone the exams line on 0114 2632206 to arrange to speak to a member of staff.
If you request a centre review, we will also send you a copy of the form to request an awarding organisation appeal with the findings from the centre review so that you can go on to request an awarding organisation appeal if you believe you have grounds to do so.
What are the deadlines for priority appeals?
We need to have received all request for priority centre reviews by 13th August. Completed forms must be either handed in to the school reception or emailed to email@example.com by 4pm on Friday 13th August.
We will attempt to complete the centre review by 20 August*. If students wish to progress this to an awarding organisation appeal, they must send the completed form to us by 23rd August for priority appeals.
*At both stages of the appeals process, there may be the need for specialist, expert input (e.g. subject teachers, SEND knowledge). This may not be possible in August. In such cases, we may have to wait until the start of term, but in all cases we will respond to priority appeals as quickly as we can, and these will take priority above non priority appeals.
What are the deadlines for non-priority appeals?
Non-priority appeals are any A levels, GCSEs or vocational qualifications, where a firm or insurance university place is not pending.
The deadline for submitting a centre review for non-priority appeals is the end of the school day on September 2nd 2021. Completed paperwork should be handed in to the school reception or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by 4pm on 2nd September.We will respond to requests for non-priority centre reviews in the order that we receive them and as quickly as we are able around the constraints of the holiday period. We will make our best efforts to complete and communicate the outcome of all non-priority centre reviews to you by Friday September 10th 2021.
Our deadline for submitting non-priority awarding organisation appeals to the awarding organisations is Friday 17th September 2021. In order to meet this deadline we would advise all requests to be with us as soon as possible and no later than Monday 13th September 2021.
Appeals received after these dates may still be considered but we cannot guarantee meeting exam board deadlines.