Year 11 and Year 13 Exams: Summer 2021

Dear Parent/Carer

Last week, the Secretary of State for Education announced that all exams across England will go ahead in the summer of 2021. The government is clear that exams are the fairest and most accurate way to measure attainment. In this letter, we want to inform parents and students on how to prepare for exams effectively, when exams will take place and what students will need.

Exam Preparation

At The Purbeck School, we want to support our students by making sure they are using study strategies to support their revision, which work – based on educational research.

A group of cognitive psychologists from the USA, based in the University of Massachusetts, called ‘The Learning Scientists’ suggest six evidence informed approaches to studying, that can help students to revise:

  • Elaboration – explaining ideas in detail. •
  • Retrieval Practice – practice ‘remembering’ what they have been taught. •
  • Spaced practice – spacing out your studying over time. •
  • Dual coding – combining pictures and words to help you remember things. •
  • Interleaving – switching between the topics that you study. •
  • Concrete examples – using specific examples to understand abstract ideas.

Students and parents can download a booklet to give them more information about each strategy from our website:

Teachers from all subjects will provide students with more subject-specific strategies to revise in class and out of class during lessons over the next few weeks. This might include self-quizzing, using flashcards or completing past exam papers.

Student Information Verification

A letter detailing student exam entries will be sent out in January. It is important that students’ personal details are checked carefully to make sure that the name that will appear on their exam certificates is their legal name, and that the date of birth is correct, along with the exam entries. This needs to be signed and returned to school with any concerns clearly stated.

Students will then be issued with individual timetables. Any students with two exams scheduled at the same time will find this is resolved when a later timetable with seating is issued. These students will be supervised between papers.

Exam Time and Equipment

Students need to arrive outside the exam room 10 minutes before the start time. They should be dressed in full school uniform, or appropriate sixth form attire.

If a student is late for an exam then the school needs to be informed and the student brought into school as soon as possible. If the student arrives very late then the exam board need to be informed, and it is at exam board’s discretion as to whether the paper is marked.

Should a candidate be unwell at the time of the exam, then it is important that the school is informed but, whenever possible, the student attends the exam. A medical letter regarding the student’s illness is also necessary as supporting evidence if we need to contact exam boards.

Students need to bring all necessary equipment in a clear pencil case. This should include black ink biros, pencil, rubber, pencil sharpener, ruler, calculator, protractor, compass and coloured pencils, if needed.

Candidates may have a bottle of water in a clear container, with any label removed, and a sports type top (to avoid spillages) on their desk.

Candidates need to ensure that their mobile phone, any smart watches or other electronic device are not brought into the exam room – possession of prohibited devices in the exam room will lead to disqualification by the exam board. Wrist watches should be placed on their desk in view of invigilators.

Summer 2021 Exam Season

The summer exam series is from 26th May 2021 to 2nd July 2021. There will be no exams during half term (Monday 31st May 2021 – Friday 4th June 2021).

We start with GCSE English language paper 1 on Wednesday 26th May, and GCSE Mathematics paper 1 on Thursday 27th May. There will also be some Cambridge Technical and BTEC exams the week prior to half term as well.

The main bulk of the GCSE and GCE exams are timetabled after half term.

The provisional final GCE exam for year 13 is 25th June 2021. All year 11s have their final exam on Friday 2nd July.

Provisional exam timetables are on the school website.

Contingency Exam Series

There is provision for a contingency exam series from 28th June 2021 to 16th July 2021. This series will give students who have been unwell with, or had to self-isolate because of COVID, an opportunity to take exams in subjects that they have missed so that they can still gain a qualification in that subject.

All candidates should be available for these dates. Please do not book any holidays until after this date, just in case!

It will only be when a student has completed their last timetabled exam that they will be certain that they do not need to sit a paper during the contingency series.

Results Day

GCE Sixth form results day is Tuesday 24th August 2021

GCSE Year 11 results day is Friday 27th August 2021

On both these days, senior members of staff will be available for advice and guidance on next steps.

Post Result services

Information about access to scripts and reviews of marking will be on the school website. This includes the cost of each service and a consent form. Candidates need to give written signed consent before any post result service can be requested. If a review of marking is requested then it is possible that the mark could go down, which could result in the overall grade going down.


Certificates for the Summer 2021 exams will be available for collection from main reception from December 2021.

Contact us

If you have any questions regarding the examinations at The Purbeck School, then please don’t hesitate to contact our exams manager, Mrs Carine Lyons (

Kind regards,
Carl Morris Deputy Headteacher

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