Decision to cancel Music and Sports Science examinations due to be sat on Thursday, 7th January and Monday, 11th January

As you may be aware, the Department for Education changed their guidance relating to the January examinations yesterday evening. Previously the Prime Minister had stated that examinations were to go ahead as planned. This position was reflected in a letter we sent yesterday. However, last night, the guidance changed, stating the decision to continue would lie with schools and colleges.

In the intervening time, we have been consulting with our colleagues both in school and across the Trust regarding the most appropriate course of action. We know that whatever our decision, it will not be welcomed by everyone. However, we must reflect on the local circumstances that we face here at Rye College and place the safety and well-being of our students foremost.

We recognise many of you will have worked hard to prepare for these examinations and will want to show everyone what you are capable of. It will feel very unfair that this opportunity has been taken from you when we could choose to go ahead with the examinations. Equally, some students, as a result of the COVID restrictions and isolation, may not have had as much access to teaching and resources as others. Therefore, it would feel equally unfair for us to insist you sit the examinations.

However, Government has been clear that students who do not have the opportunity to take the examinations WILL NOT be disadvantaged. The DfE have asked the exams regulator, Ofqual, to explore alternative approaches to providing students with the grades they deserve. Therefore, going ahead with the examinations would not materially advantage any student and may, on the other hand, place them at risk within the context of the current COVID infection rates.

We have clear and effective protocols that reduce the risk of infection within the school. We have worked very hard over the last few months to ensure students and colleagues have been safe as possible. However, we are conscious schools are ‘vectors for transmission’ and feel we should not ask students to come into school for these examinations potentially using public transport. Consequently, we have taken the difficult decision to cancel the Music and Sports Science examinations.

We can only apologise for the lateness of the decision and any feeling that you have been let down. We hope you recognise the decision has been made with your best interests at heart.


Mr. D. Downes

Head of College