Academic Life at Bedales

Course changes

Nationally, changes to the A Level and GCSE syllabuses in some subjects have been made, acknowledging that many students across England and Wales did not have access to online learning during school closures and that assessments in some academic areas are extremely time consuming.

Currently, changes include flexibility within Dance and Drama regarding the watching of live performances, and shorter student performances to recognise the reduced rehearsal time available. In Languages at GCSE the oral exam (25%) will become an ‘endorsement’ and marked by teachers and our language assistants in the same way that the English Language GCSE Speaking & Listening or A Level science practical components are already assessed. In A Level Design –Product and Design – Fashion there is an increased focus on the process rather than the final piece. In Art, for the 6.2 students there is no exam and they will be assessed on their coursework only.

We have also reviewed our BACs in the light of changes to GCSEs and we will be extending the teaching time into the Summer term in some subjects to ensure that our students are not disadvantaged. We will be prioritising the completion of the practical aspects of all subjects, whilst ensuring all our qualifications are academically rigorous in preparation for Sixth Form. BAC ‘Assessment Week’ will not be run in its previous format and we will spread those timed assessments over the Spring and Summer terms in order to maximise the teaching time and to reduce pressure on each student. Revised course booklets will be published in October when we have been able to complete consultation with our external moderators and we have a more concrete sense of the impact of lockdown on each BAC class and each individual student.

Daily schedule and preparedness to learn

The timetables, room allocation and scheduling of events is likely to change and the daily morning tutor time will be the opportunity for the tutors to communicate any changes and ensure that students have everything they need ready for class each day.

Students will need to take increasing responsibility for organising their equipment so that they have the correct folders, pencil cases, and charged device ready for each lesson.

Learning spaces

There will be changes to the ways we use the Memorial Library, classrooms, laboratories, studios, workshops and performance spaces which will take into account the ways they will be used by different groups.

In general, we are working to minimise the amount of movement between lessons so there may be temporary changes to classes, rooms and sets whilst we are at ‘Amber’ (see reference to the traffic light system above) but will ensure that practical experiments, performances and creative work, physical activity and exercise, and collaborative or group work is facilitated from the start of term.

Subject changes

In some cases, it might be appropriate for students to change their subject programmes depending on their experience of the last few months. We are conscious that some of our joining students and some of our students from last term have missed a significant part of some courses or prior learning. We are committed to help them catch-up or transfer to another suitable subject, or to reduce their curriculum loading if it is the right path for the student. The tutor team will be reviewing their students’ programme at the start of term with them and will be in touch with parents to consult on and confirm their choices.

Assessments, Reporting and Parents' Evenings

From September, the students’ Rewards and Conduct entries will be available to parents on the portal. This will give you more immediate feedback on how students are making progress, their level of achievement and what actions we are taking to support them and to help them reach their full potential.

Initially, Parents’ Evenings will take the form of a telephone call with tutors after the half-termly reporting and reviews have been completed. For our Sixth Form students, this will be done with individual subject teachers and the student’s tutor.

There will be timed assessments for Block 5 and 6.2 in the first part of term in order to identify any students who need additional exam access arrangements and to help find areas where we need to place additional focus. The schedules for these will be confirmed as soon as possible and will be shared with parents.

Distance learning

We recognise that in some cases individual students will not be able to be back on site immediately at the start of term due to changes to quarantine requirements.For these students in the Blocks we will have a predominantly asynchronous timetable of small group teaching lessons on Microsoft Teams alongside study coaching to support, mentor and guide independent study. In the Sixth Form, we will use a combination of live streaming from some lessons and individualised tutorials from others to ensure students can rejoin their normal classes on return.