Covid Impact Statement
COVID Statement – Applicants 2021 Information for university and college admissions teams
A Level students at SMSJ have lost a significant amount of teaching time due to Covid-19. The school closed to students on Monday 23rd March 2020, 14 teaching weeks prior to the end of the academic year. Our A Level students had no live lessons at all during this period of time, they had to work entirely independently on work set via Google Classroom and Class Charts. There was no access to practical work during this time. They had assessments in June 2020 to enable their teachers to gauge their engagement with the distance learning set and the results demonstrated that many had struggled to cope with the effects of the lockdown and the expectations placed upon them to study unsupervised after only 25 weeks of teaching prior to lockdown. In July, just prior to the summer holidays, our A Level students had only 2 hours to ‘touch base’ with each of their subject teachers before going home for a further 6 weeks. There were only limited opportunities to extend the students’ knowledge and understanding beyond the curriculum and all super-curricular activities were cancelled. We made available to the students any on-line opportunities that became available over lockdown, such as JSTOR, MASSOLIT, EtonX and Digital Theatre+. However, all provision was dependent upon the students having access to IT facilities and a quiet space to study in the family home which did not apply to all of our students.
This A Level group will be SMSJ’s first set of A Level results and yet the students’ predicted grades are reliant more than ever before on teacher judgement due to the limited opportunities for assessment of this year group. Due to the lockdown period there has been very limited opportunity for moderation of assessment data. There had been a lot of preparation to guide the students through the UCAS process. However, the UCAS week could not run due to Covid restrictions and so the workshops were delivered on-line with varied attendance from students.
Since re-opening to students from the week commencing 7th September 2020, SMSJ has been hit particularly hard by the Covid-19 epidemic with students and staff being sent home to isolate with suspected symptoms on an almost daily basis. Staff and student absence reached a critical level after one month to the point that the whole school closed for 3 days to staff and students for a deep clean and has only re-opened on a rota basis to the majority of students for the 2 weeks leading into half term. This has incurred an increased level of stress and anxiety for our students and staff. It is clear that Covid-19 is continuing to have a significant impact on our A Level students in spite of our best efforts to provide them with a consistent education.