Start of Term arrangements 2020 – COVID precautions special

As August draws to a close we are looking forward to having pupils back on site for the start of the Autumn Term. Over the last couple of weeks I have had a number of enquiries as to how school will operate and the nature of our COVID prevention preparations.

It is hoped the following FAQ sheet is useful.

Is School compulsory in September?
Yes. Schools in France are open, and we are following the directive from the Education Ministry. We start term on Thursday 3rd September.

Whose rules do you follow: the French Government or as a British School do you follow the British rules?
We follow the guidance given by the French Ministry of Education. The most recent advice came out this week.

What about pupils with underlying health conditions?
If you are at all concerned about an underlying health condition, then you should discuss this with your doctor. If the doctor says that your child should be absent, then of course absent they must be.

Will the School be publishing online lessons when the school is open?
We understand that some people are restricted in their movement as a consequence of quarantine and travel restrictions. In order to assist with learning, materials will be posted on Frog (our VLE) for pupils to look at while they are unable to attend. We are not offering remote/virtual school while school is open.

What happens if there is a diagnosis of COVID in the School Community?
Should we be unfortunate enough to have a diagnosed case of COVID-19 we will make parents aware and will follow the direction of local health officials as to the next steps. In such a situation there would be a very high likelihood of the school having to close at short notice for a number of days.

Please do let us know if you are suffering from COVID-like symptoms or if you have a family member who has tested positive. It is vital that we are able to make parents and guardians aware of the risk in our community.

Are you maintaining entry checks?
Yes. Each pupil and each member of staff will have their temperature taken on entry. A temperature of 38°C or above will mean a child (or member of staff) will be sent home and we would anticipate a medical check taking place immediately after.

My child seems unwell or is running a temperature before coming to school or the evening before school. What should I do?
Please do not send your child to school if they appear to be unwell. We would urge caution with all health-related concerns at this time. Please take a safety-first approach for the benefit of the community and keep your child at home.

Who wears masks?
Pupils from Year 7 and above are obliged to wear a mask at points during the school day. We strongly advise parents to provide their children with two masks per day.

What about Junior School, can’t Junior school pupils wear masks? If a Junior School pupil wants to wear a mask, then they can. It is not obligatory for them to do so.

All staff will be wearing masks although these may be removed when pupils are a sufficient distance from them to be safe. Teaching is more difficult when a mask is worn so at times (and only when safe to do so) a teacher may remove their mask.

How should masks be worn?
Parents are asked to discuss “proper mask protocol” with their children if they choose to or have to wear masks. There is a great deal of useful information to be found on We will reinforce the do’s and don’ts at school.

What measures are in place to keep children safe during the school day?

• Where possible we are observing the 1M distancing rule between children
• We are avoiding bringing large groups of children together
• We are wherever possible keeping year groups separate
• One-way systems will be in operation
• There are clear floor markings to guide pupils around on safe routes and to maintain safe distancing
• We will be encouraging pupils to wash their hands during the course of the school day
• The School has multiple hand gel dispensers
• The School has an enhanced evening cleaning regime so as to ensure that the School is disinfected each day.
• Teachers and older pupils will be wearing masks
• In the Junior School those who have PE during the day should come in their PE kit
• In the Senior School social distanced changing spaces are available.

How will lunch work?
We will offer a full cooked lunch. During the lunch period it is difficult for the 1M gaps to be maintained and masks will have to be removed. We will be staggering entry to the refectories and we will control the number of people using the dining facilities carefully.

What about bus users?
Bus users of all ages must wear a mask and where possible should observe the miss-one-seat rule.

Should we still wear uniform?
In the Junior School we will start the year with a slightly adapted uniform – boys are not required to wear ties or heavy school jumpers. Junior School girls should wear summer uniform. They do not need a cardigan. On days when PE is taught pupils may arrive and leave in their school PE kit.

In the Senior School we will be in “shirt sleeve” uniform. It is likely to be warm for some time, so school jumpers and ties are not required.

Sixth Form pupils should wear appropriate clothing for the professional workplace but do not need to wear ties. Button front shirts and blouses are recommended. Clothing that requires over the head removal is considered less safe.

One key element of staying safe is being able to have clothing washed on a regular basis.

Are you running a full programme of co-curricular activities?
As far as we are able, we will be running activities. Some activities will have to work with restricted numbers or using an amended approach. Details about the Junior School sign up will follow. The Senior School activities fair will take place on Friday 11th September.

What happens at break time?
The timings of break will be staggered in the Junior School so as to avoid large congregations of children. In the Senior School, year groups will occupy their own zone. Sadly, we aren’t quite ready to have football etc played at break time.

What happens at the end of the day?
We may need to stagger exit times so as to avoid large groups assembling.

What about quarantine measures?
Parents and Guardians are asked to consult with the relevant governmental websites to ensure that they have the most up to date list of countries that require quarantine. A good place for information is this website:

Parental Access to the School
Access to the school campus will be restricted for the foreseeable future. Details will be provided by the relevant Heads of School for particular events.

I am still not sure what I should do, or I still have questions – who should I ask?
We know that advice seems to be changing on a daily basis and that there are conflicting reports about do’s and don’ts. We follow the lead provided by the local and national authorities. We can try to answer your questions about the practicalities of life in school. We can’t argue about the conflicting views that are out there. Our underlying approach is that we will do all we can to provide a safe learning space that is also an inspirational learning space.

Nicholas Hammond


GCSE Results 2020 – FAQs

Tomorrow (20th August) is the release date for GCSE exam results.  As everyone will be aware this has not been a normal year and the following is hoped to be a useful guide to coping with the many conflicting reports about grading this year.

How have my grades been calculated?

Ofqual, the exam regulator, has announced that you will be given a grade based on work completed before the school went into lockdown including your January mock exam grades this is called the Centre Assessed Grade (CAG).  In May teachers were asked to provided Centre Assessed Grades (CAGs) and the plan had been to feed these through an algorithm that would have adjusted every school’s grades to reflect what might have happened in a “normal” school year. 

Ofqual has announced that most grades awarded this year will be based on the Centre Assessed Grade.

So, no algorithm?

Yes and no.  The algorithm has been applied to your GCSE result.  But the grade you see on Thursday will be either

a) The Centre Assessed Grade


b) The exam board grade (which is the CAG with the algorithm applied because that grade is higher than your original CAG submitted by the School in May.)

In other words – if your CAG would have been pulled down by the algorithm then you will get the higher school generated grade but if the CAG was brought up by the algorithm then you will be awarded the higher processed grade. 

The higher grade will always be the awarded grade.

I’m planning to move to another school in September and they want to see my grades.  What do I send?

Tomorrow we can give you your mock grades from January, your CAG from May and your final grade.  Most schools will want to see your final grade, and this is likely to be the best grade that you have.  If you have any concerns, then we will be happy to support you and can discuss your results with your new school.

I’m disappointed with my grade.  What do I do?

Firstly, talk to us and we can see what we can do to help you.  If you think you could do better than what you have been given there will be a full suite of retakes in the Autumn – GCSE exams will be offered in November.  The appeals system is still being worked out, currently an appeal can only be launched on procedural grounds.

Should I come in to collect my grades?

Yes, please do, it would be great to see you. We are open from 09:00am.  You can collect your results from the Exams Office in the Braille Building.

If you do not come to school and your grades do not arrive via email, then please make contact with the Exams Office. 

I would like to talk about my A level choices for next year.

Great.  Mr. Abdou and Mr. McCann are on hand to assist with plans for Year 12.

Are my grades worth less than other years?

No, don’t be ridiculous.  You worked for these grades and they are true reflection of your commitment and talent.  Be proud of all that you have achieved and use these as a springboard for future success. 

19 August 2020

Nicholas Hammond


A Level and GCSE results 2020 FAQs

This year the awarding of exam results has taken a number of unexpected turns.  The following is hoped to provide some clarification for parents and students who are in receipt of A Level grades or are awaiting GCSE grades.

A Level

I seem to have been given two sets of results, which are my actual results?

The exam boards have been instructed to make a final exam grade award on the basis of Centre Assessed Grades.  Centre Assessed Grades or CAGs are the grades that were submitted to the Boards in May 2020.  In due course you will receive a certificate with these grades recorded on it.

Can my grades go down as a consequence of this change of approach?

No.  The good news is that if the CAG is lower than the grade that you were given on Thursday of last week by the Board then the higher-grade stands.

Is my CAG the same as my UCAS predicted grade?

No.  Your predicted grade was given in September 2019 and your CAG was given in May 2020.  Your predicted grade for UCAS reflects what your teachers think you could get at A Level.  The CAG is a grade that reflects the evidence that you had provided in summer exams (2019), mocks and most importantly work done up until the time that school was suspended for the COVID shut down.

Can I see my CAGs?

Yes, CAGS were embargoed until results day, but you can see them now – contact the exams office for a copy.  Grades can only go up at this point.

What about university and college places?

If you were accepted by your first-choice university on Thursday, then that agreement still stands no matter what your grade is today.  If your grades have improved, then you may consider clearing/UCAS extra.  Please make contact if you are worried about this.

How has this affected the BSP?

Last week we were told that 29 CAGs had been downgraded by the exam boards.  Those students will be able to use their CAG as their final exam grade. Nine pupils had their CAGs increased by the exam board, their higher grade (the one given on Thursday of last week) will stand.

There is no change for the other pupils.

What is all this talk of university caps?

As the national picture has improved more students have gained the grades they require to move to their first-choice university.  Universities have been given permission to make more places available at their institutions to cope with this new influx of students.

What is the BSP’s A*- C pass rate now?

A*-C – 90.9%. 

A*-A – 40.09%

A*-E – 100%

What about other exams?

Media reports suggest that the International A Level and International GCSE grades have been changed in line with the A Level and GCSE grades (the BSP has always done the “home version” of the exams)

International Baccalaureate results were downgraded earlier in the summer and remain so.

Want more?

UCAS have provided a short video to explain the changes to A Level and the impact on university places

The view from an ex minister via the Times Educational Supplement (TES)

More from the TES including a statement from the Head of Ofqual


The GCSE grades will be made public on Thursday 20th August as planned.

The exam regulator Ofqual announced that the plan to apply an algorithm to the results submitted by the School in May (these grades are knowns as Centre Assessed grades or CAGS) will not take place.

What should I do on Thursday?

If you are worried about your grades then please do come into school to discuss them.  Results can be collected from the exams office – Braille Building from 09:00am on Thursday.

What if I am not in France?

Then we are ready to answer questions by ‘phone, video call or email.

Will the Ofqual algorithm be used?

It appears that we will only see the CAGs and the algorithm will play no part in this set of results.

Nicholas Hammond


A Level Success

This year has been a turbulent one for our students and none more so (it could be argued) than for our most senior students in Year 13. It gives me great pleasure to be able to report that this year our oldest students have excelled in their final year of studies and the school is enjoying one of its best ever years in terms of grades and university destinations.

A phenomenal 97% of students gained the grades to take them on to their UCAS first choice institution and next year we will see BSP alumni taking up places at Oxford, Warwick, Bristol, Glasgow, King’s London, Surrey, Southampton, Bath and Heriot Watt Universities to study a wide variety of academic courses ranging from Politics, Philosophy and Economics to History of Art and Civil Engineering, Neuro Science and International Business. Students who opted to follow studies in the creative subjects have been equally successful with places being won on prestigious courses at Cours Florent, Ecole de Théâtre, Chichester University and the London College of the Arts. Other students have taken up offers from institutions in Canada, Pakistan and the Netherlands. As is always the case we are delighted that two students will be continuing their studies here in Paris.

One third [now 41% following government intervention] of this year’s results were at A* and A grade and we were delighted to maintain our 100% pass rate. Seven students achieved a “clean sweep” of A* and A grades with two achieving A* in all of the subjects taken. In a year when the media had warned us that many grades would suffer it is particularly satisfying to see the hard work of these pupils and their teachers justly rewarded.

Nicholas Hammond