Frequently Asked Questions

Families, communties & students

Introduction

The results of the BEA survey on ‘Summer 2020 exams and assessment: Parental support and guidance research questions’ has formed the basis for these FAQs (frequently asked questions).

Please circulate this document as widely as possible with your networks, contacts and communties to enable black parents and carers to be able to make informed decisions regarding the education and welfare of their child. 

Last updated: 29 July 2020

Challenging GCSE/A levels grades  

  1. How do I find out about my child’s predicted GCSE/A level grades? 

It is essential that parents and carers are kept up to date with their child’s/children’s progress and predicted grades. These records are updated throughout the academic year and are accessible to parents and carers upon request. Email your child’s/children’s school, college or centre to request a copy of their progress report as soon as possible if you do not already have this information. 

  1. How do I challenge the GCSE/A level grades given by my child/children’s education setting? 

There is no current direct appeal process in place to challenge grades. This which means that pupils will not be able to challenge their GCSE/A-level results if they disagree with the result they have been given. The only proposed way of appeal is for schools, colleges and centres to challenge the equality measures and the procedure of the exam boards. The Government is still consulting on determining a final appeals process. 

  1. What if my child is home educated? 

Home schooled students or those on distance learning programmes will need to have been entered for their exams at a school or an exam centre as a ‘private candidate’. These students should also be provided a calculated grade but the centre must be confident they have seen enough evidence of the students’ progress. This may require you to provide evidence of work completed at home or with a tutor.

4. How do I express my concerns about my child/children’s education to the school/education setting? 

Parents and carers have the right to express any concerns they may have about their children’s emotional and academic wellbeing to their school or educational setting. This must be done via a telephone call and most importantly an initial or follow up email. 

  1. If my child is taking a vocational qualification, how will the grades be calculated? 

The guidance for vocational qualifications has changed this year. Further information can be found here: 

Contacting school/educational setting  

  1. How do I express my concerns about my child/children’s education to the school/education setting? 

It is a very concerning time for parents/carers and all concerned especially with the changes to examinations and schools opening.  Schools and educational settings will be prepared to support your child/children back after school closures.  It is really important that you share your concerns with your school/educational setting as soon as possible.  You can do this through email or letter and may be able to organise a meeting with the head of department of headteacher.     

  1. I am concerned about my child going back to school, can I keep them home? 

In order for schools to open, the National Education Union has suggested that schools pass the 5 tests that have been set for schools and education settings. These tests include: 

  • Lower number of Covid-19 cases; 
  • A national plan for social distancing;
  • Testing facilities in place for the school/education community including children, parents/carers and staff. 
  • Whole school strategy if/when a case occurs;
  • Protection for the vulnerable;

Government guidance can be found here. Your school/education setting must have a risk assessment in place to explain how the risks will be managed and how your child/children will be protected.  You can ask to see the risk assessment to see what measures are in place. 

**** The UK government has announced that if you choose to keep your child at home, you CAN BE FINED – it is important that you speak with the school/education setting regarding this.

Your school/education setting will have a risk assessment in place to explain how the risks will be managed and how your child/children will be protected.  You can ask to see the risk assessment to see what measures are in place.  We have also included a model letter for parents which can be used to get a clearer picture of what your child classroom will look like if you plan on sending your child back to school. 

Special Educational Needs (SEN) 

  1. If my child has Special Educational Needs (SEN), how do I get support at home and should my child have a risk assessment before they begin school? 

The DFE (Department for Education) states that any child who is SEN), has an Education Healthcare Plan (EHC) or is supported by social services is classified as vulnerable so schools and educational settings will have individual risk assessments for these children. 

These risk assessments should be shared with you before your child/children start school. Your child/children may be offered a place in the school/education setting and you should have regular contact too. If you have concerns, please contact your school or educational setting as soon as possible.  

  1. If my child has an Education Healthcare Plan (EHC) what protocol should I follow? 

If your child/children has an EHC plan, they are classified as ‘vulnerable’ by the DFE (Department for Education). This means that schools and education settings will be contact to support you.  If your EHC plan has not been completed, you can contact your school/education setting and ask the school SENCO (Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator) to complete it with you.

Your child/children may be offered a place in the school/education setting once an individual risk assessment has been completed.  The EHC means that your child will get the support they need. If you are concerned about the plan you can appeal it. 

Here is a link to the Government pages with with further information

Vulnerable families  

  1. If anyone in my household has an underlying health condition, should my child attend school? 

The government guidance has changed for families who are extremely vulnerable and clinically vulnerable and this can be found in these Government pages.

Although the death rates in the UK are lower, they are still higher than other countries in Europe, so many are cautious before choosing to send their child back to school. It is really important that you read the risk assessment for your school/education setting and also speak to your GP to get further advice. 

Please be aware that a recent report published in June 2020 by public health England and has found that people from black backgrounds have higher rates of diagnosis and death.

The full report can be found here

Resources  

  1. Where can I find online educational resources for my child/children to use at home? 

Your child/children’s school should have provided work packs or online resources for your child/children to access. If they have not, please contact your school to ask about these resources. They may be links on the school website. 

If you would like additional resources, here is a list of useful online resources you could access from home. Often you do not need to worry about printing resources and can work directly from the device. 

  1. How do I support my child/children’s learning without an internet connection? 

Local authorities and academy trusts will own the laptops and tablets they receive, and loan them to children and young people. You may or may not be aware that the government has specific programs offering individuals that have low income a free laptop. The question is, are you eligible to receive one?

The only way to find out is to call or get in touch with the website  Benefits dot gov and they will assist you in finding out whether or not you meet the eligibility requirements for your own state to become a laptop beneficiary. 

PCs For People is a nonprofit organization that gives away free refurbished laptops for those that need it the most. Qualified recipients can get laptops that are complimentary.

This organization donates computers that have Windows 10 licensed copies since it is a refurbishing organization registered with Microsoft. All you need to do is to get on their website and see if you meet their eligibility requirements to get a laptop for free.

The best part is that this organization even offers free unlimited internet plan for eligible applicants. Make sure you look at the list and see if you can avail of free internet from this organization. 

Supporting children/young people’s mental wellbeing at home

  1. How do I support my child/children’s emotional well-being at home and on their return to school? 

Being involved in the Covid-19 pandemic or any other any other serious incident can make children/young people feel overwhelmed, stressed or vulnerable. They may experience traumatic stress as normal life begins, so may display a range of emotions in response to this.  It is really important that they feel supported during this time and aim to keep communicating how they are feeling.  

Here are some help guides to enable you to support your child at home.  There are a range of strategies you could use and it all depends on what works well with your child/children.   If you feel very concerned about your child/children’s wellbeing, please speak to your GP as soon as possible. 

It is important to practise Relaxation, Deep breathing, Exercising, eat Healthy Food Sleep and Rest 

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