We will be maintaining regular communications with our Year 11 students during this time, including the provision of bridging work for those going on to College and further study. You can find any letters and our full Year 11 Pledge on the Covid-19 response page, here.

Exams overview

Under the 9-1 GCSE reforms, most subjects now are assessed entirely through final examination at the end of year 11. Practical subjects will have a combination of exam and coursework, and deadlines will be provided by the subject teacher as these are different for each subject.

GCSE examinations take place in May and June of year 11. Coursework deadlines, language speaking exams and some practical subjects are assessed earlier.

Students take a full suite of mock exams in June and July of year 10, and December of Year 11. Teachers will use these to asses your progress and plan effective interventions. Core subject mocks take place in the exam halls in full exam conditions allowing you to practise your GCSE examination skills and reduce any uncertainty or anxiety for the real exams. 

Additionally, revision and study skill aids are sent home in the Autumn Term; and related sessions are embedded into the tutor and year 10 and 11 modules programme.


Students take part in end of year exams in all subjects from year 7 on. The school use this information to track progress, inform setting and option pathways, and prepare students for external examination.

In year 9, students take mid-year exams in all subjects in order to develop exam technique, check progress, set for core subjects, and identify candidates for targeted intervention.

In year 10 and 11, students take full exams in all their subjects in preparation for final exams.

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Examination conduct (how to behave in an exam)

All external GCSE examinations are governed by the rules of the Joint Qualifications Council (JCQ) who stipulate the expected conduct of all candidates entered for examinations.  It is very important that these regulations are adhered to.

Thomas Estley Community College will expect all pupils to support the smooth running of exams – which, in turn, will result in the optimal performance of all candidates. 

You must:

  • Arrive on time for your exam
  • Be dressed in school uniform
  • Bring required equipment such as pens, pencils and ruler etc.

You must not:

  • Communicate with other pupils in the examination room (this includes non-verbal communication)
  • Have any unauthorised material on your person (for e.g. mobile phones, notes, programmable calculators, smart watches) **
  • All candidates must remove their wrist watches. These can be placed on the exam desk, but must not be worn. 

The consequences for any pupil who breaches exam regulations are serious.  Thomas Estley Community College are obliged to report any incidences of malpractice to the relevant awarding body and resulting sanctions could range from disqualification from that exam or unit, to disqualification from all examinations with that particular awarding body.

** Mobile phones can either be handed to the invigilator for safe keeping or must be switched off and kept in your bag. To ensure that alarms/alerts don’t go off, remove the battery.  If in doubt – leave your phone at home.


Examination Documents (what information will I receive?)

Prior to the main examination period, candidates will receive a statement of entry.  It is very important that all details are checked on this.  Please check that:

  • Your name is correctly spelt (as this is the name that will appear on your exam certificates and must be your legal name)
  • Your date of birth is correct
  • You have an entry for all the subjects that you are studying
  • You have been entered at the right tier (i.e. foundation or higher)

If you have any queries with regards to any of the above it is essential that you speak with the Exams Officer.

In March of each year, candidates will all receive an individual examination handbook which will contain all sorts of important information including an individual candidate timetable. This timetable will inform you of all the dates and times of all the exams you have been entered for and will also tell you where you will be sitting.

Seating arrangements can also be checked on the Exams Notice Board on the main corridor.


Equipment (What do I need for my exam?)

You must provide your own equipment.  For most exams you will require:

  • A black pen
  • A spare black pen
  • A pencil
  • A pencil sharpener
  • An eraser
  • A ruler
  • A calculator

For other examinations (such as Maths and Science) you will also need a compass and a protractor.

Some design technology exams allow the use of coloured pencils for completing diagrams etc. Check what you need with your teacher.

If using a pencil case, this MUST be a transparent one. Exam packs will be available to purchase from the Library throughout the exam season, but please do not try to buy these on the day of your exam, as only limited stock is held.

Calculators must NOT be programmable.

Additional Information


The cost of examination entries is paid by Thomas Estley Community College. However, if you fail to attend an exam without a legitimate reason, the school reserves the right to recover the cost.  The only exception is where an examination is missed due to illness. In this case a medical certificate must be obtained from your Doctor and copied to the Exams Officer. 


I am late for my exams?

 - If the exam has not finished you will be allowed to sit the exam. If you are more than an hour late for your exam, the school will have to report this to the Awarding Body who may or may not accept your examination paper for marking.  If the exam has finished, then you will be unable to sit the examination paper.

I am feeling unwell?

 - If you start to feel unwell during an exam it is important that you inform the Exams Officer or a member of the Invigilation Staff.  It may be possible for you to move to a different seat or venue (though this cannot be guaranteed).  If you are able to get a note from your doctor to confirm that you have been unwell during the exam, it will be possible to apply for special consideration for you.

If am too ill to take an exam?

 - You must contact the Exams Officer on 01455 283263 to inform of your absence. To apply for special consideration for that exam, we will need a doctor’s certificate.


 GCSE results are available on the 3rd Thursday in August each year.  Results can only be issued to the pupil. If you wish to collect results on behalf of someone else, then that pupil must sign a note to indicate that they give permission for the issue of their results.

If you wish your results to be posted, then you must provide the Exams Officer with a stamped addressed envelope before results day.


What do I do if I am not happy with my results?

Firstly, we advise that you discuss your marks with your class teacher. It is possible to have marks reviewed in a number of ways, but it is important to consider that marks can go down as well as up. If you are very close to the grade boundary it may not be advisable to proceed with a review of marking.

Before the Exams Officer can process a request for a review of marking, you must sign a permission form.

If you have any questions regarding any of the examinations process at Thomas Estley Community College School, please do not hesitate to contact Mrs Backes, the Exams Officer, on 01455 283263.