Parent FAQ Page
Frequently asked questions
Week beginning 20 April 2020
It is hoped that the following summary of FAQ from parents will be a useful method of sharing information.
For ease of access, the questions and answers are categorised below by year groups.
As a parent my children tell me they have very like work to do? How can I check up on what is being set by teachers?
The following email was sent to parents in Years 8-11 today and clarifies how you can monitor the progress of your children. It is important to show the same parental interest and level of checking that you would do when your children are physically attending school. We are encouraging all our young people to keep to the normal school timetable each day, Monday to Friday.
School Day Routine
I hope this email finds you and your family well in these difficult times. We look forward to a time when normal school life returns, but until then teachers are trying to ensure that learning online continues. To that end I would like to remind you of the suggested daily routine that was sent out when lockdown started. Obviously this can be adjusted to suit your needs but I would encourage parents/guardians to check that children have some form of ‘School Day routine’ and they are using their school email to keep up to date with tasks set and work submitted.
Work is being provided through our VLE, WHSCampus and Google Classroom, so pupils should be getting notifications to their school email account about what tasks are set and any assessments due.
I appreciate that demands on home Wi-fi and electronic equipment can be difficult to manage, especially with so many of us working from home too. If there are difficulties accessing work, email the relevant Head of Year who can let your child’s teachers know.
Updates on school can be found on the school website, Twitter and our Facebook page. Hopefully these will also help our pupils remain positive and I would encourage them to get involved in the weekly Wallace Challenge, however if you or your child would like to request an online/telephone counselling session please email the relevant Head of Year or complete an online form at familyworksni.com and we will ensure that something is put in place as quickly as possible.
Mr D Atkinson
My son/daughter is unclear about whether to revise for summer examinations which would normally have taken place in late May. What advice can I give him/her?
For students in Years 8, 9 and 10 the school cannot run traditional internal examinations in the normal way but individual departments will be setting core assessment tasks in late May or June. It is important that all young people have a sense of purpose in their work, that they feel it is counting towards an end goal. These core assessments will be designed with this as their aim.
For students in Year 11, they know that their goal is their GCSE examinations next summer so it is vital that they revise Year 11 work, keep careful notes which will summarise the 50% of the course content that they have completed this year in all subjects. Teachers will continue to set work during May and June which is part of the GCSE course. It is important that Year 11 students complete all set work diligently.
Where can I find more information on WHSCampus and Google Classroom?
Information on WHSCampus and Google Classroom can be found on the school’s website in the ICT section under Remote Learning Support https://www.wallacehigh.org/remote-learning-support/
I am very concerned that my son/daughter did not work hard at the beginning of this year and that the school will consequently set very low grades for him/her, when, in reality, with intensive revision, he/she would have done much better than previous performance might suggest.
The following email was sent by the Principal immediately after the announcement by the Minister of Education last week to all parents in Years 11-14. Following the email are two links from CCEA which outline the process the school has to follow in some more detail.
“Good evening and I apologise for sending an evening email but I am aware that there will be press and social media coverage of the Minister of Education’s announcement this afternoon at 4pm. Peter Weir and CCEA have now provided clarity on the way forward in the awarding of grades this summer.
I provide a short summary below of what I now understand of the process and I trust this is helpful. I shall continue to update you as I learn more and within the strict data protection framework within which the school is required to work.
The basic premises for the awarding of grades 2020 is that the school submits grades and rank orders based on information it holds. The Minister was clear that parents and students are not to be told what these grades are. I would reassure all parents and pupils that we are a data rich school and can easily draw together an holistic assessment of students which is fair and broad based.
Year 11 – it appears, with the exception of Yr 11 full GCSE Mathematics entries, the best option will be for all GCSE modules to be completed in Yr 12. We would intend to continue to award GCSE early entry in Mathematics. Some students next year in Yr 12 may well wish to resit the Mathematics GCSE they studied for, in one year, and it appears that they will be able to do so.
Year 12 – grades will be awarded based on a range of teacher judgement, internal data and CCEA will apply a formula to stabilise data across NI schools based on the last 3 years of data in each school of GCSE results.
Year 13 – grades will be awarded based on a blend of internally generated information from schools plus GCSE performance. The AS grades for 2020 are standalone grades for AS and will not couple with the A2 examinations. Students in Upper Sixth next year can either decide to sit the whole AS and A2 in one year or sit just the 60% ie the A2 modules. If they do the latter then they will be awarded an AS grade based on their A2 performance in the 60% of the A’level.
This is quite a complicated process and as we understand it more in school, we shall explain this and make decisions and give advice accordingly.
Year 14 – A’level grades will be awarded based on AS performance across NI and in individual schools combined with internally generated data in school and teacher judgement. It is clear that the grades for some students do improve from AS to A2 so students should not worry about this and many had entered for resits and this is all part of the formula used. CCEA will also apply statistical modelling to regulate the performance across schools.
I am fully supportive of the decisions that DENI and CCEA have taken in difficult circumstances. Please be assured that our focus on Wallace is the well being of and support for all our students. We know our students, their personal and medical circumstances, we are data rich and have a well developed target setting culture which aligns neatly with these regulations.
I trust this short synopsis is helpful. Apologies it is rather brief but I am trying to communicate with you as quickly as I can to ensure effective communication and reduce worry or misunderstanding.
Once I have had time to consult with Heads of Department and senior colleagues in more depth, I shall be in contact again.
Please reassure your son/daughter that they are in safe hands, we are a caring school with rich and detailed data at hand to provide an holistic picture of each young person.
Teachers will now wish to begin teaching of students in Yr 11 and Yr 13 from Monday in light of these announcements and further information will follow in this regard from teachers to these students.
My son/daughter is in Lower Sixth and has decided fairly unilaterally that he/she will only sit the A2 modules next year and allow CCEA to calculate the overall A’level grade from this 60% of the award. He/she also thinks that this means that Lower Sixth has now ended and he/she has no academic study for the remainder of this term.
Heads of Department are now planning the work with teachers for Lower Sixth for the remainder of this term and all Lower Sixth students should be fully engaged, working full days until the end of May. During this time they will be completing AS work to ensure they can sit AS modules next year if they so wish, and they will very importantly be beginning the A2 courses now. It is absolutely vital that all AS students are fully engaged in school work. Then during the month of June, as already planned, there will be a series of intensive UCAS preparation sessions when L6 students will plan, prepare and finalise their personal statements.