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Information for university and college admissions teams


Centre-specific impact of COVID-19 on students applying through UCAS for 2021 entry

This information is provided to explain the centre-specific impact on Year 13 students applying through UCAS for 2021 entry as a result of school closures in March to August 2020 and to contextualise the school’s provision in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Loss of teaching time and alternative provision
  • Students were given immediate access to a non-live, remote curriculum following the national school closures on 20th March 2020.
  • Teaching materials were provided to students through Google Classrooms. After a short period of consolidation, students followed a curriculum as close to ‘normal’ as possible, with expectations of three to five hours of curriculum work per day.


  • Most teaching materials in most subjects were non-live and broadly self-directed. There was some variation across subjects, with teaching composed of non-live video recordings, independent reading and guided activities.
  • Students were given homework tasks to submit and received remote feedback from teachers on their work. Teachers were available to discuss work through email and Google Classroom.


  • Prior to school closure, the school did not routinely use computer platforms to disseminate, share or receive work. As such, many students had little familiarity with these procedures. The school ensured all students had access to remote learning, though the frequency of these interactions varied.


  • From 15th June 2020, students were invited into school for one day a week. During this time, students continued their remote curriculum under supervision from subject teachers and pastoral teams.
  • Throughout the remainder of the academic year, students with gaps in learning resulting from adverse experiences of school closure will be targeted for additional pastoral and academic support.

Disruption to university application process

  • The school was unable to attend any Year 12 university open days, visits or talks. To mitigate, students were encouraged to attend virtual open days and some guidance was provided through an in-school assembly.
Impact on the information used to determine UCAS grades
  •  Formal internal assessments were scheduled for June 2020. Though it was not possible for these to be conducted in school under formally invigilated conditions, the assessments continued as remote tests released in line with a timed examination schedule. Completion rates were high across the cohort.


  •  In addition to data from the June assessments (sat remotely), UCAS grades have been determined by continuous assessment and supervised classwork, both prior to school closure and on return in Year 13.
  • The school has an experienced staff body and rigorous internal assessment processes. Data is situated against previous student trajectories and we retain a high degree of confidence in the rigour of our UCAS grading.
Further information can be provided if required:

General information on school context for university and college admissions teams

The Cherwell School is a non-selective, mixed comprehensive school of 2008 students based close to the centre of Oxford. There are 621 students in the sixth form, drawn from both the Cherwell School and a number of other schools across the county, predominantly from the non-selective state sector.
All students in the sixth form study two-year linear A levels. The majority of students take three A levels and the Extended Project Qualification, which is a core component of the Year 12 curriculum. A small number of students take a fourth A level subject, though this is unusual. We do not offer any vocational courses, GCSE retakes or AS levels, other than AS mathematics. Class sizes typically range from 18 to 25 students. Both prior attainment and A level results are above national average. The students are from a range of socio-economic backgrounds and approximately 7% of students are in receipt of the 16-19 bursary.
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