If a week is a long time in politics, a year is a lifetime in education (during Covid!). This term, following the re-opening of schools in early October, we have tried to allow as much latitude as is appropriate whilst maintaining the MoEHE guidelines. Our students have been magnificent in maintaining their bubbles, even when transiting to newly sanctioned activities.
Year 9 GCSE Options and Year 11 A level / BTEC Options evening were very well attended last month and the process of confirming subject choices for those year groups is ongoing. The eventual destination for all of the children is Year 13 and this year will see our first graduating Year 13 class. University applications are in process and Year 13 students have started to receive firm offers, mainly from the UK. However, we have students applying to Universities in the USA, Canada, Germany, Qatar, Singapore, Spain, the Netherlands and the UAE. Mr. Amaso, our University Counsellor is presently working with Year 13 students and will begin individual discussions with Year 12 students in readiness for their initial research into university destinations next term. He will also be speaking with younger students about careers and tertiary education options in due course.
Acceptance to University is predicated on examination results and whilst the UK Government continues to be optimistic about GCSE, A level and BTEC examinations in the summer of 2022 we are all aware that this type of reassurance was received in 2020 and in 2021, and on both occasions, examinations were impacted. To this end, we continue to prepare for CAGs (Centre Awarded Grades) in the case there is a spike, a new variant or some other related factor that impacts external assessments. The best advice I can give to Year 11, Year 12 and Year 13 examination candidates is to treat each assessment as if it is an actual external examination - because that is what they effectively became in 2020 and 2021.
Well done to everyone involved in the recent assessments. Reports will be available on December 9 and Parent-Teacher consultations will take place on December 12 and December 13. It has been a long, and at times gruelling term, particularly when schools re-opened, but safety restrictions remained. The children have reacted magnificently to these changes and they appreciate the small steps we are able to take towards re-establishing previous routines and opportunities.
The imminent holiday is well deserved and it is important that the children have a break. Parents sometimes ask for extra work to be provided for the 'holiday' but I would encourage everyone to stop and take a breath and not necessarily seek further Maths, extra Science or supplementary English to fill the fortnight's vacation. Having said that, Year 12 and Year 13 will have some modular A-level examinations in January so maintaining some revision is important. These are external examinations, run by the school but set and timed by Pearson Edexcel.
Thank you to all of our parents who have been most understanding and supportive. It has been great to see several of our old students re-joining the school this term - it feels like our children are coming home again. And, every time we look up and see a Qatar Airways aircraft overhead it is a sign that we are coming through this long crisis, step-by-step, together. If you are travelling, bon voyage. If you are staying in Qatar, enjoy a rest. If you are in Year 12 and Year 13, take some time out but don't lose momentum, and good luck with your January modular examinations.
Mr. Ken Haggarty