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The Impact of Coronavirus on Students at The John Fisher School

- Information for University and College Admissions Teams.

In accordance with UCAS guidance, the following section outlines the specific impact of coronavirus on The John Fisher School. This link will be included in applications  under the guidance published here: https://www.ucas.com/advisers/references/how-write-ucas-undergraduate-references

The John Fisher School closed its doors to students on Friday 20th March 2020 as a result of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This closure meant that our students experienced some form of disruption to their formal education; students at The John Fisher School missed out on approximately 12 weeks of in person teaching time. Alternative provision was put in place for students through online platforms such as Show My Homework, Microsoft Teams and Zoom, however much of this could only be accessed by students who had consistent access to IT provisions at home. Some of our students were further impacted by their individual circumstances such as no access to ICT at home, sharing devices between siblings and even losing loved ones due to the virus.

School resumed for some of our students in June where they had access to one three-hour session for each of their A-level subjects. These sessions, although useful, only gave students access to their teachers in person for a short window and was not enough time for them to cover the teaching they had missed during the school closure. Not all students were able to access these sessions as some had to shield or they simply had no way of making it into school due to the distance they would need to travel to get to school safely.

Prior to the school closure, this cohort had only completed one set of Pre Public Exams (PPE’s). Unfortunately, we were unable to run our summer PPE’s schedule due to the ongoing health and safety concerns at the time. Since returning to school in September, students have completed internal assessments for the purposes of determining Predicted grades. These, combined with the PPE’s from January and GCSE Average Point scores, will be used by the school to issue predicted grades for students in our Year 13 cohort.

Our students were again further disadvantaged by not having sufficient time to prepare their university applications. During Year 12 we would normally run post-18 preparation activities and end with an enrichment and skills week at the start of July. These sessions are designed to support students with University applications, skills required for various undergraduate degrees and work experience. Normally, we invite an array of speakers into school to address topics such as personal statement writing, sessions linked to specific careers such as medicine, engineering, finance and sport. We facilitated virtual information events alongside recorded instructional videos, and have dedicated time and support in the autumn term to future applications, but we recognise that these provisions are inevitably different from our normal provision.

Our students still continue to be impacted by the Novel Coronavirus; recently a number of students in our year 13 cohort were asked to self-isolate after contact with one of their peers who tested positive for the virus. Still through all of this, our students continue to strive for excellence, adapting their way of learning and developing themselves during these worrying times. As a school we have taken measures to reduce the interruption to learning caused by the pandemic and are continually impressed by the resilience demonstrated by our students. We wish them the very best with their undergraduate studies.