In an average year this is the point in time in which most year 11’s are getting ready for their exams, proms and futures. However, in the world of Covid this is no ordinary year!
The cancelling of exams has meant that year 11 now no longer can have study leave agreed by schools. Historically from approximately May half term until the official year 11 leaving date (Normally the last Friday in June, so this year 25th June 2021) schools would have used the S code (study leave) for students who were not on site. Students may have been coming into school to complete exams or to study with classmates but otherwise would not have been seen regularly by teaching staff.
This year the Government has strongly suggested to schools that the final half term for year 11 is used to support them with transition to post-16 education or employment opportunities. Although it has acknowledged that this may not be full-time there is still an expectation that schools will cater for their year 11 students post-May.
Activities suggested by the DfE include:
- Video based lessons and recovery programmes available via the Oak National Academy
- Supporting access to “The Skills Toolkit” which provides free courses for young people to help them learn new skills or prepare for a new job. These can be accessed via the National Careers Service The Skills Toolkit | National Careers Service
- Visits to further education providers, perhaps through taster sessions for their chosen college courses.
- Support for students who have not, as yet, secured a post-16 college or training course to determine what they may like to do post 16 and supporting them to access these courses or apprenticeships.
- Providing support to complete apprenticeship applications and prepare for work
- Supporting students to access work experience (assuming restrictions allow) in preparation for post-16.
- Providing career advice and enrichment activities e.g. interview practice; completing an application form etc.
Where schools already have a sixth form on site it may be that timetables can be amended to begin year 12 work earlier and “fill in the gaps” which may have been caused by online/remote learning during GCSE.
The legislation that governs compulsory school age has not changed and therefore safeguarding responsibility for year 11 students will remain with schools until the 25th June 2021. Schools should therefore consider how they code y11 students during the May to June period.
Where an agreement is in place that the student will not be attending then the C code (other authorised circumstances) or another appropriate code could be used for attendance registers. However, where the expectation is that the student will attend, and does not, school must un-authorise these absences using their normal processes.