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KS3 End of Year Exams – Monday 23rd to Friday 17th June 2022

4 May 2022

Dear Parent/Carer,

KS3 End of Year Exams – Monday 23rd to Friday 17th June 2022

We hope you and your families are keeping well.  The purpose of this letter is to provide you with information about the KS3 End of Year Exams which will take place over a 3 week period from Monday 23rd May to Friday 17th June. 

The purpose of assessment at Holyhead is to allow us to see the effectiveness of the taught curriculum in each subject, and to help to identify the students’ individual strengths and weaknesses so that we can adapt upcoming teaching, and the curriculum as necessary. 

For students, assessments also provide valuable opportunities to build up their experience and skills in relation to how to revise effectively before they reach Y10 and the beginning of GCSE studies, as well as ensuring that key knowledge is revisited regularly to help them to retain this in their long-term (working) memory. 

At Holyhead, assessment at KS3 in Y7-9 follows a termly ‘mini-assessment’ model in the Autumn and Spring terms where subjects have the opportunity to break up the assessment of key knowledge and skills into shorter, more frequent assessments, or to focus on fewer, but longer assessments over the term. 

When we reach the Summer term, all subjects provide an end of year examination which will include content from this term along with questions from topics covered earlier in the year.  I have put together a guide for you below of key details about the exams and what will happen afterwards:

What will the structure of the exams be?

  • The exam will be between 45-60 minutes in length and will be completed in classrooms during lessons.
  • They will include at least a 15 minute knowledge testing section – this will be made up of short answer questions, multiple choice or similar type questions that will assess core knowledge and understanding of key subject vocabulary taught through the year. 
  • There should also be a 30-45 minute application section – the questions here will require students to apply knowledge of key concepts they have been taught, including extended writing questions where appropriate. 

What support is provided to help students prepare for the exams?

  • Students will be provided with topic lists by subject teachers in lessons and via Google Classroom which will help them to focus their revision.
  • They will also be given access to practice materials and questions to complete independently as homework in the weeks leading up to the exams. 
  • Teachers will be providing guidance on how to revise effectively in lessons, and this will include the use of at least one revision focused lesson to provide instruction on revision techniques, as well as revisiting key knowledge and skills. 
  • Lessons already have a regular focus on Retrieval Practice which challenges students to answer knowledge based questions from previous lessons, a technique which a strong base of research evidence shows is one of the most effective ways of revising and building memory over time.
  • Lessons through the year also include teacher modelling / guided practice to develop fluency with skills and question types, helping students to practice and build confidence with the types of questions they would be asked in the exams.

When will students sit the exams?

We have made the conscious decision to spread the exams over a 3 week period to prevent students from having to sit 14 exams in a 20 period week, which would have been the case if we chose to hold them all in one week. The schedule for each year group is below with exams taking place in lessons.

Year Subjects to hold exams w/b Monday 23rd MaySubject to hold exams w/b Monday 6th JuneSubjects to hold exams  w/b Monday 13th June

What will happen if a student misses their exam due to ill health/absence?

  • Any students who miss exams in the scheduled weeks due to absence will be given the opportunity to catch up on these.

What will happen after the exams?

  • Students will receive feedback from their exams and will carry out review activities in lessons focused on identified areas for improvement. 
  • Teachers will continue to plan opportunities for students to connect back with key knowledge through retrieval practice in lessons.
  • Parent/carers will receive the results of the exams in the Academic Profile reports which will be sent in July, with Year 7 parents/carers collecting these in person on the Year 7 Parents’ Evening to be held on Thursday 7th July.
  • Any subject content that is covered in the summer term after the exams, or is not included in the exams will be prioritised for ‘Holiday homework’ set over the summer, with teachers testing this in September.

How can I help to support my child in preparing for the exams?

There are lots of good resources on the internet or blogs about how to support your child with study habits and revision, so I have provided some links here to the articles I think are most helpful as well as advice and guidance materials we have compiled from partner organisations, InnerDrive, PiXL (Partners in Excellence) and GCSEPod for parents:

I thank you for your time in reading this and wish you and your family good health.   I hope the information provided here is detailed and helpful to you.  Should you have any further questions about the exams please contact your child’s Head of Year and/or Vice Principal for the year group.

Yours faithfully,

Mr D Knox

Deputy Principal