Year 11 Letter – how we are supporting your daughter

Posted on 25th September, 2020

Dear Parents & Carers of Year 11,

We are writing to you today to let you know how we are planning to support your daughter at this extraordinary time.  We are aware that some pupils in Year 11 are anxious about their GCSE exams, so we hope that this letter will reassure you and your daughter and explain the plans we have put in place to help them.

Curriculum & Revision Evening

As you know we ran a virtual Year 11 Curriculum and Revision Evening last week, which can be found on our website at​.  The purpose of this event was to  to explain the GCSE courses that your daughter is studying and help you to support them in their revision.  We strongly recommend that all parents and carers of Year 11 visit this event and watch the videos provided.

Diagnostic Testing

We are currently undertaking diagnostic testing in all subjects to determine your daughter’s current skill and knowledge level as required for each course.  This process will then enable us to put targeted intervention in place to support each pupil and help them to progress to their target grade and beyond. 


We will then be using the current diagnostic test data to deliver our first track to parents on Friday 9th October.  This track will consist of a current attainment grade, the grade that your daughter is currently achieving; a predicted grade, which if she continues to work as she currently is we believe she will achieve in the Summer exams; and an attitude to learning score for each subject.  This is graded from 1 – 4, with 1 being the top score.  We encourage you to support your daughter to become a “Dynamic Learner”:

ScoreExplanation of score
1 – Dynamic learnerSustained evidence of independent study away from the classroom Exemplary focus at all times Active and sustained participation in most lessonsAll HW is completed to the best of their abilityConsistently fully equipped for classStudents consistently review and manage their own learning, including practising exam-style questions unprompted Students are demonstrating the skills necessary for success in the sixth form


Following this track the Students will be preparing for their first set of PPEs.  PPE stands for Pre-Public Examination which is the equivalent of a mock exam.  These will take place in the first week back after Half Term.  The PPE is an excellent opportunity for students to improve their exam technique and practise working under timed conditions.

There will be two sets of PPEs here at St Ursula’s, one in November and the second set in February.  The November PPE exams will be used to inform our Track 2 data and the predicted grades that will be submitted to Sixth Forms.


Some of your daughters will already have attended a Masterclass.  These take place on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, after school.  These sessions are for targeted pupils who have been identified by a Department as needing extra support to improve in specific areas of the examination.  The Masterclasses are vital to improve your daughter’s grades.  You will receive emails explaining that your daughter has been selected to attend a Masterclass and you daughter should have this added to her Journal.  We have started this programme earlier than usual in order to help pupils prepare for the first round of PPEs. 

Saturday Revision

Shortly we will begin running Saturday Revision sessions.  These can sometimes be for targeted groups, or some times a whole cohort.  You will also receive an email if your daughter is selected for a Saturday Revision session.  Again, these are starting much sooner than in previous years to provide more support for the students at this difficult time.

Recovery Curriculum

Teachers and Heads of Department have put a lot of time into developing a Recovery Curriculum for each subject.  Gaps in student knowledge have been identified and in class intervention has been taking place since the beginning of term to plug any gaps the pupils may have.  We are also revisiting and interleaving prior learning regularly  in line with current metacognition research.

Changes to Specifications

As you may be aware there have been some changes to the GCSE specifications due to the impact of lock down.  In some subjects the content, or amount of NEA (Non Examined Assessment) has been reduced.  Some of the changes have not yet been finalised by Ofqual and the Exam boards however teachers are keeping pupils informed of all updates in their lessons.

RAP Meetings

Staff at St Ursula’s meet for weekly RAP meetings.  This stands for Rapid Action Plan and teachers with specific concerns about under-performing pupils come together to work out strategies to help pupils move forward.  If your daughter is discussed in a RAP meeting you will receive a letter explaining the ways we think you could help her at home.  Please work with your daughter to help us implement the suggested strategies.

Face-to-Face Meetings

In some cases the Senior Leadership Team may meet face-to-face with pupils to help keep them on track.  We may also invite parents to join us at these meetings and we will of course adhere to strict social distancing when this takes place.


We will also be identifying underperforming pupils to follow a mentorship programme.  This involves pupils being allocated a specific member of staff that they meet with each day in order to encourage and support them.  These pupils will also receive a positive report card to keep track of their aims and successes.

As always, if you have any questions or queries please do not hesitate to contact us at

With best wishes,

Ms N Johnson

Director of Curriculum & Assessment