Bishop Challoner Catholic College is a mixed, 11-18 comprehensive Catholic College with over 1200 students on roll, located in an area of Birmingham with high levels of social deprivation. We are a:
• Teaching School
• Maths Hub
• Science Learning Partner
• Computing Hub
Our initial response to the introduction of the reformed A/AS levels was that all students were to be entered for AS level examinations at the end of Year 12, i.e. students completing both new and legacy AS level qualifications. This was the position of the school in the summer of 2016 and the summer of 2017.
Following a comprehensive review of AS levels the school made the decision not to offer AS level examinations from the summer 2018 onwards. Instead, students joining our 6th form from September 2017 will follow a two year A level programme of study culminating in A level examinations at the end of Year 13. This decision was made following a consultation period with curriculum leaders and reflects the national trend in AS level entries.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, 13 teaching weeks were lost in Year 12. Work was provided to students remotely, some live lessons were able to be provided online.
The closure of school also meant that Year 12 end of year mock examinations were cancelled. This had a detrimental impact on student’s confidence and the ability for students and teachers to accurately assess the progress they had made. To ensure that teachers are in a position to provide accurate predicted grades for students, a higher than normal amount of internal assessments have taken place. This has been an additional burden on students, and some students have found that this has caused a strain on their mental health.
There has been significant disruption to our usual in-school university application process as a result of the closure of school. Under normal circumstances, Year 12 students would have a series of ‘drop down days’ where they would have the chance to meet with university representatives and receive valuable information on a variety of aspects of higher education. Students would also have assistance with registering with UCAS and their personal statements. Although relevant information was delivered to students remotely, the majority of hands on support had to be postponed to the first half term of Year 13. This has caused a delay to our usual application process and has added extra time pressure on staff processing UCAS applications and writing references.