2nd October 20
Dear Parents, Guardians and Students
This week marked the official start of the academic calendar with the first round of Milestone Tests for Year 13 and Year 11. Next week, Year 12 will sit their Milestone Tests and other year groups will follow suit after. The Milestone tests are the first formal assessments replicating public exams that our students will have taken in school in the last six months. Undoubtedly, these will be challenging for most students, but I have no doubt that our students will soon overcome their nerves and see that these formal tests are essential in giving them a clear picture of what they should focus on to progress. We want our students to be fully engaged in their learning and to take responsibility for it too. These tests are the starting point and not the end of the assessment cycle, and will provide valuable information on how to study more effectively. Milestone Tests are also vital as evidence of our students’ performance and last year provided invaluable data for the centre assessed grades (CAGs) when exams were unfortunately cancelled.
This year, the Milestone Tests will lead to a Progress Day Review within two weeks of the tests. The purpose of the Progress Day is to allow Personal Tutors to work with their tutees on a one-to-one basis to review their progress. This happens at intervals throughout the academic year so that our students are given regular opportunities to reflect upon their progress and set their own targets in order to realise their progression goals.
This month sees the UCAS application process for Year 13 and IFP students get underway in earnest. Our potential Oxbridge and medicine candidates are submitting their applications as we speak and the first UCAS application was sent yesterday! Applicants with a later application deadline are now reviewing their draft personal statements and finalising their university course selections – good luck! Their expert teachers, Directors of Studies and the Head of UCAS and Careers are key people in this process and are supporting our students at this important time.
We want to make sure our communication with parents and guardians is as transparent as possible and we will be sending a short report over half term which will give a snapshot of where your child is at this moment in time. The parents’ evening event in mid-November will be a good opportunity to further discuss your child’s performance and progress. We will send out further details on how we will be facilitating this event at a later date.
Thinking about the key academic events ahead, I would like to highlight that students studying on the BTEC or IFP programmes will have public exams in January 2021 and attendance at these exams is critical. We hope our students will be taking a rest over the Christmas holiday but will also take time to prepare effectively so that they can secure some excellent results from those sessions. With travel restrictions currently in place and the need for quarantine, we are grateful to parents who are supporting us in our efforts to keep the DLD community safe and secure from Covid-19.
This month is also a month for celebration: firstly, we will be celebrating Black History Month which is part of our Inclusion and Diversity agenda. Secondly, we are finalists in the prestigious ISA Awards for ‘Innovation in Pupil Voice’, and we hope to celebrate a clutch of awards at the ISP Independent Schools’ Awards next week.
Marie-Do Reza, Vice Principal (Academic)