Information about preparing for and sitting exams
During the approach to the exam season, revision and preparation dominates our time and teachers and parents/carers need to help all of our students to prepare for the exams ahead.
Each student receives a personalised exam timetable which includes the venue for all exams and the seat in which they will be sitting. We recommend that students check the seating plans before every exam so that they know exactly where they will be; this approach can reduce stress on the day.
Please be aware that no equipment will be handed out in the exam rooms. All students are expected to bring to every exam black biro-style pens to write with, pencils and a ruler in a clear case, as well as any subject specific equipment required such as a calculator. The requirement that a black ball-point pen is used comes from the exam boards. This means a biro-style pen; gel pens and ink pens are not permitted. Please see details at the foot of this page regarding equipment that can be purchased from our Maths department. Pens are always available for students to purchase from our Library and our Prefects run a resources stall outside of room 0309 at break and lunch-times.
All bags will be stored in a locked room away from the exam room. Phones and other internet enabled devices (including watches) are not permitted in the exam room and we strongly suggest these are left at home. If they are brought into the college, it is the students’ responsibility to store them as we will not be collecting phones at the start of exams. Any student with a phone or internet enabled device in the exam room, even if it is turned off, will be subject to disqualification.
Before and during exams
Students must arrive fully equipped for the exam 10 minutes before the start time stated on their timetable. To reduce stress we will aim to start every exam promptly following the reading of the JCQ guidelines:
You must not become involved in any unfair or dishonest practice in any part of the examination. You must:
- not sit an examination in the name of another candidate.
- not have in your possession any unauthorised material or equipment which might give you an unfair advantage.
- not have possession of a mobile phone or other unauthorised item or materials, even if you do not intend to use it. If you do, you will be subject to a penalty and possible disqualification.
- not talk to, attempt to communicate with or disturb other candidates once you have entered the examination room.
- follow the instructions of the invigilator.
- speak only to an invigilator if, during an exam, you have any questions. You must raise a hand and wait for an invigilator.
- in any unexpected circumstances such as a fire alarm, simply follow the invigilators’ instructions.
Official documents published by the Joint Council for Qualifications regarding exam rules and requirements are available via the link below:
We have recently invested in brand new exam desks in order to improve the exam experience for students. Please be aware that these must not be written on or vandalised in any other way. Failure to follow this instruction will result in a student being charged for the desk and their invitation to the Prom revoked.
Parents/carers can support their child in preparing for the exams by keeping them well fed, watered and rested! Visualising the exam process and being organised at this time can improve exam performance.
Students will follow their normal college timetable until advised otherwise. Part way through the exam season, when it becomes impractical to continue with the normal timetable, it will be replaced with a schedule of revision sessions and exams. Please be aware that all students are required to wear full uniform at all times when they are in the college until the end of the summer term, even after their leavers' assembly has taken place.
If you have any questions about exam entries, please contact our Examinations Manager, Miss Evans. If you have any other queries, please contact the appropriate subject teacher; Mr Smillie, Head of Year 11 or Mrs Fisk, Pastoral Support Manager.
Year 11 Support
In order to support Year 11 students we have arranged the following sessions from 2 November until the Christmas break:
|3 - 4 pm||Learning Cafe|
The learning café is an opportunity for all Year 11 students to come to a relaxed and productive environment and complete work or revision in order to prepare thoroughly for the next set of PPEs in February and the main examinations in the summer. This takes place in the Year 11 common room and the adjacent computer room. A group of Year 11 students have also offered to run this provision on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons for students that have not been requested to attend targeted intervention sessions. Students must inform their parents or carers if they are staying after college in the learning café as this is an extra-curricular provision and registers will not be taken.
Selected students will be required to attend targeted compulsory intervention for identified subjects on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, or for Mathematics on a Friday. Parents and carers will receive a text message if their child is required to attend any of these sessions. These sessions are crucial to closing any knowledge gaps, improving examinations skills as identified in the PPEs or to target specific areas identified by the subject teacher.
Following the completion of the PPEs in February, we will begin our comprehensive revision programme. Details of this will be shared in the New Year so that students can plan with their parents / carers as to which sessions they will attend.
Please remember that the Year 11 Parents’ Evening will take place on Thursday 10 December, between 4 pm and 7 pm. This is an extremely important opportunity for you to discuss your child’s academic progress with each subject teacher and gain information about how you can best support them to prepare for the forthcoming examinations. These appointments are likely to be run remotely via video so please keep any eye out for the information that will be sent closer to the time.
If you have any questions about how best to support your child, please contact Mr Smillie, Head of Year 11, or Mr Sutherland, Vice Principal.
Preparation for Post 16 Education
It is around this time of year that students should be considering their next steps beyond GCSEs. To support students in this we are holding a series of events through which students and parents can explore life in the Sixth Form at The Spires College and the subjects on offer.
On Thursday 12 November, from 3 pm to 4 pm, Year 11 students are invited to go and see departments and subjects that they may be interested in studying beyond GCSE level. Departments will provide information about their subjects at Post-16 level and will be available to answer any questions. Mr Davies, our Director of Sixth Form will also be giving a presentation in the hall at 3 pm for students to learn more about the ethos and culture of the Sixth Form at the college and to help them to understand the application process. A Sixth Form course brochure will be given to students on this afternoon.
On Wednesday 18 November, from 4 pm to 7 pm, you are invited to attend our Virtual Sixth Form Open Evening. Our online appointment booking system allows you to book ten minute appointments to talk with subject leaders and Sixth Form teachers. You can book appointments for any subject that you and your child want to find out more about. You will have the opportunity to find out about the course, the entry requirements and ask any questions for yourself. We would encourage your child to be with you for these virtual appointments.
The online booking system will open at 9 am on Friday 6 November and will close at 4 pm on Tuesday 17 November. Should you wish to make any changes after this date please contact the Administration Team, via the main college number below or by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
To book your appointment please visit: https://www.thespirescollege.com/parents/parents-and-tutor-evenings
Log in using your child’s forename, surname and date of birth. You do not need to download a specific programme to enable the video call to work, and the video call can be viewed on a mobile phone, tablet, laptop or computer. You can use the link on the confirmation email to log in again to access your video appointment up to one hour before your appointment time.
A list of courses and subject teachers is detailed below. You will need this list to be able to make your online appointments.
If you do not have access to the internet, please contact the Sixth Form team who will be happy to arrange a telephone appointment on your behalf.
There is a film explaining the nature of Sixth Form study and the culture within the Sixth Form at The Spires College on the Sixth Form page of the college website: https://www.thespirescollege.com/sixth-form/welcome
Further to this, a member of the Sixth Form team will meet with every student in Year 11 to discuss their next steps and provide personalised support.
Sixth Form Open Evening Courses and Subject Teachers
Mr T Britten
Mr J Long
Mrs E Hammond
Miss J Cox
Mr J Somers
Level 3 Certificate
Mr J Pritchard
Mrs S Ray
Miss L Madge
Food Science and Nutrition
WJEC Level 3 Diploma
Miss S Knight
Mr A Toorneini
Mr D Kelly
Mrs M Higginson
Mrs S MacCormick
Mr J Thomas
Mr A Harris
Mr R Davies
Mr J Parry
Miss N May
Mr R Spearing
Mrs H Menhinnitt
Mr R Farr
General Sixth Form Enquiries
Mr R Davies and Ms T Tunnard
You can print out this blank timetable to help you plan your revision: Blank Revision Timetable
There are some good revision tips on these websites:
The materials from our Revision Workshop can be downloaded via the following links:
Our Exam Booklet contains lots of information and tips. Every Year 11 student will be given a booklet, either at or after the Year 11 Tutor Evening in October. The booklet will be available to download closer to the time.
Exam dates will be published soon. The exact examination dates for the summer series are yet to be confirmed by the exam boards and Department for Education. Please be aware that there is discussion about moving the exams back from the traditional May and June dates so do not commit to other events until the dates are confirmed. When we know anything, we will let you know.
When the date has been confirmed it will be published here. Year 11 students will all attend their final assembly in the main hall and, after the assembly they will be dismissed from college for the day. They will then only attend college for their remaining exams or for any pre-arranged revision sessions. Please see the section below regarding uniform.
Students must wear full uniform at all times when they are in college. After you no longer need it, please bring in any good quality items of uniform that you would like to donate to be used by the pastoral team. You can leave your donations with the reception staff.
GCSE results day is 26 August 2021. Students can collect their results from college or arrange for them to be posted by providing a stamped addressed envelope to our exams team. Results cannot be given over the telephone or collected by anyone else without the express permission of the student to whom they belong. Students who wish for someone else to collect their results must give written permission with details of the person who will be collecting them. The person who collects them must bring photo ID.
More details will be available closer to the time.
Final School Photograph
As long as coronavirus restrictions allow, Fizz Photography will take our Year 11 Group Photograph and individual photographs in the spring term. More details will be available closer to the time.
Year 11 Prom
As long as coronavirus restrictions allow, we hope that our Year 11 prom will go ahead this year. More details will be published when they are available.
Attendance to the Prom is dependent upon students demonstrating appropriate behaviour during their last year at college as well as attending the required amount of extra study sessions.
Leavers' Hoodies will be available to order in the spring term. More details will be available closer to the time.
National Citizen Service
Each year, many of our students take part in the NCS programme, which is a youth programme like no other. It is designed specially for 16 and 17 year olds, and the experience will help give a clearer idea of what participants want for their future.
On the NCS programme participants mix with a new crowd and take on fresh challenges together. Along the way, they get a taste for independence and pick up skills that will help them reach their future goals. They are given a platform to have their voices heard and pursue a passion project. The four week programme includes a residential activities week with activities such as windsurfing, kayaking, high ropes, SUP boards and problem solving challenges, with the focus on developing confidence, leadership and team work. There is a second residential week, spent living at Plymouth University, learning essential life skills such as budgeting and cooking and providing a taster of independence. This week includes workshops covering subject such as health and wellbeing, anxiety, presentation skills, communication skills and a creating effective personal statements. The other two weeks are spent planning and executing a project in the local community.
NCS are unable to visit schools at the moment so they have produced a film introduce the programme. You can view this film via the following link: Link to NCS film
There is also more information on their flyer, which you can view using the following link: NCS Flyer
Over 500,000 people have already completed an NCS programme. You can find out more about this and sign up on the NCS website: https://wearencs.com/summer