• FAQs – Summer exams, Special Consideration and Covid arrangements

    This FAQs sheet is to ensure that you understand how the summer exams will work, now that the exams boards have issued their guidelines in relation to Covid and Special Consideration.

    How have exams been organised to ensure that Covid disruption is minimised? 

    Exams have been carefully planned so that there is a minimum 10-day gap between different papers of the same exam.  This is so that if a student tests positive for Covid, and is unable to sit a paper, they will be out of isolation by the time the next paper comes along.

    So, if I miss an exam paper due to Covid or other illness, I’ll still be able to get my final grade, based on how I perform on the other paper(s) and coursework (if part of the exam)? 

    Yes, exactly. This system has been in place for many years and exam boards can calculate full grades as long as you have completed at least 25% of the marks for your exam so you won’t be disadvantaged. This has been especially adjusted this year to make it easier to gain a grade (usually you need to complete at least 50% of the exam)

    You must let college know you are ill and missing an exam(s) due to illness, by calling the college on 0115 851 5000. 

    What if I am so ill, I miss all of my exams for 1 subject? 

    Unfortunately, grades can’t be awarded when no papers have been sat and we will not be able to go back to grades achieved in formal assessments earlier in the year for summer 2022 exams.  You would have to arrange to re-sit the exams at the next opportunity (autumn term or next summer).

    What happens if I test positive for Covid when I am supposed to have an exam? 

    If you have tested positive for Covid, you will not be able to sit papers at the time you are infectious.

    Can I still sit my exam if I have Covid but don’t have symptoms?

    No, unfortunately we don’t have the facilities for this and cannot risk other students being infected as per the national guidance on Covid and exams.   

    So, if I do have Covid on the day of an exam paper, or have to miss an exam paper for another reason, what do I do?  You will need to apply for special consideration.

    What is special consideration? 

    Special consideration is when an exam paper is affected by something that happens immediately before or during an exam or assessment that has an effect on a student’s ability to take that exam or assessment, or on how they performed. Examples might be the death of a grandparent the day before an exam, testing positive for Covid on the day of an exam, or an epileptic fit during an exam.

    What is the difference between special consideration and access arrangements / Learning Support adjustments (e.g. extra time for dyslexia or rest breaks for health reasons)?

    Access arrangements are dealt with via our Learning support team. Students with access arrangements such as extra time, small room, rest breaks will have already have these in place. You have received numerous emails and reminders from tutors to apply for this. The deadline for applying for these has now passed. All who have applied have had to undergo a rigorous evidence-gathering process.

    If my appeal for special consideration is agreed, how will my new grade be calculated? 

    1. If I miss the whole exam paper 

    If you miss a whole paper or module, the final grade awarded will be based completely on the exam papers and any coursework that you did complete.  The exam board would calculate this based on their knowledge of performance across the whole exam.

    1. If my performance is affected during the exam

    If your performance in a paper was affected, only minor adjustments can be made to the mark awarded.  The minimum adjustment is to add 1% to the final mark and the maximum adjustment would be to add 5% to the final mark.

    Past examples we have seen are as follows

    • 1% for stress or anxiety for which medication has been prescribed
    • 5% for terminal illness diagnosis of the candidate

    Exam boards consider that larger adjustments would jeopardise the standard of the examination.

    I was badly affected by Covid / other long-term health issue over the last 2 years.  Can I apply for special consideration?

    No, special consideration cannot be claimed for missed education due to Covid, long-term health issues or missed education.

    How does this affect vocational qualifications?

    An awarding body’s decision to award special consideration in vocational qualifications will be based on various factors, which may vary from student to student and from one assessment to another. To apply for special consideration for vocational courses (BTEC etc) email  [email protected]

    When is the deadline for applying for special consideration? 

    Our internal deadline is Tuesday 28th June (4 days after the last day of exams)  

    How do I apply for special consideration? 

    If college agrees to support your application you can apply for special consideration using the FORM link available from  [email protected]

    I’m really worried that the disruption over the pandemic will still have a negative impact on my grade

    While we cannot promise you will get the grades that you are hoping for, we are expecting students to come away with good grades this summer.  There have been a range of other changes that have been made this year which should help you maximise your chances of getting the grade you deserve.  These include;

    • Generous grading in comparison to the June 2019 examination series (the last year of real exams).  A higher proportion of top grades and passes will be awarded nationally than in 2019.
    • Advance information on the focus of examinations for most subjects (e.g. reduction in content for some subjects)
    • Provision of support materials (formulae and equation sheets) and changes to coursework requirements in some subjects


    As a college we have also supported you as much as possible during the challenging exam period with a range of activities

    • A series of mocks in the hall in January to get used to the exam-hall experience
    • Catch-up fund sessions for small groups
    • College study spaces open from 7.30am to 6pm for those students who find it easier to study in the building than at home.
    • Easter revision sessions in some subjects
    • A supervised study space in B3.7 opened up for first time
    • 1:1 counselling and wellbeing sessions, support via personal tutors and support from our subject specialist teachers.

    Please do speak to your tutor if you need any further support for your exams.  If you have any further questions, please ask.


    Best wishes for your exams this summer.



  • Bilborough College outperforms private sector for first class degree performance at university

    Newly released figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) show that former Bilborough College students who graduated from university last summer went on to achieve a higher proportion of first-class degrees than the average for those who had previously attended private schools.


    A total of 43.4% of Bilborough College students from the most recent cohort to graduate from university achieved first class degrees compared to an average of 40.7% for the independent sector and 37% for the state sector.  Of those who went to Russell Group universities, 97.4% achieved either a first or a 2:1, compared to 94.3% for the independent sector and 92.1% for the state sector.


    Of that Bilborough College cohort, 120 students came from areas with the lowest HE participation rates, who also outperformed the national averages both for first class degrees and for firsts and 2:1 degrees combined.  The entire independent sector only sent 570 students from areas with the lowest HE participation rates in total out of over 30,000 students who went to university from this sector.  This demonstrates that Bilborough College is a true engine of social mobility for the region.


    Dave Shaw, Principal at Bilborough College, said: “This is a significant achievement for those Bilborough College students who go on to university.  We are extremely proud of our outstanding examination results, and in many ways these figures represent an even bigger success as they show that we have helped our students to develop the necessary independence, resilience and perseverance to succeed beyond the age of 18.  These are skills that will serve them well in the workplace and in wider aspects of their lives, as well as in exams.  We are proud that Bilborough College, which serves students from Nottingham, Derby and beyond, provides such a positive benefit to the local community.”


    This latest positive news follows on from Bilborough’s recent successful bid to build a new teaching block to cope with the increase in student numbers that the college has seen over the last few years.  A new 10-classroom building housing Maths, Physics, Electronics and Esports is scheduled to open in September 2023.


    For more information contact David Shaw on 0115 8515843

    Notes to editors: Bilborough College is a specialist, publicly funded sixth form college located on the west side of Nottingham in a purpose-built study campus. It has approximately 1900 16-18 year old students on individual programmes of study centred around A Levels and Applied General Qualifications.  The large majority of students go to university, including many to Oxbridge and the Russell Group, where data suggests that are more likely than average to complete and achieve first class and upper second class degrees.  The remainder go into higher level Apprenticeships, employment or further training. The college is part of Better Futures Multi-Academy Trust (BFMAT) which is sponsored by Coventry University and is the only MAT to have Sixth Form Colleges and sixth form education as its focus.



  • Bilborough students impress local leaders and feature on BBC East Midlands Today

    A group of five Bilborough College A-level Geography students played a key role at the recent Young People’s Green Growth Assembly event at East Midlands Conference Centre, organised by the Midlands Engine. The students presented their ideas to a group of local business leaders, politicians, and experts. They found the event exciting, empowering, and challenging, and a great opportunity to make their voices heard. The students were enthused and energised by the event and even featured in a piece for the TV on the BBC East Midlands Today programme.

    Simon Holland, Course Leader for Geography at Bilborough College said, “We are passionate about offering our wonderful students opportunities to go beyond the basic exam specification and prepare them for life. In Geography we have developed a wide range of such projects and links. I also think the experts, politicians and business leaders also got a crucial insight into the views and concern of young people about the future and how this can be made brighter, greener and more sustainable for all.”


    Sir John Peace, Chairman of the Midlands Engine who organised the Assembly said, “Our region is already at the forefront of delivering world-leading low carbon innovation. The Midlands Engine Young People’s Green Growth Assembly has demonstrated the huge appetite, of our Midlands Engine partners and our region’s young people, to go even further and take steps right now to shape a greener, cleaner and better future. The discussions we’ve had here today will be essential to inform how we mobilise and deliver this plan – a vital milestone in our region’s journey to net zero.”

  • Bilborough College to get new state-of-the-art building to meet growing demand.

    We are delighted to announce that Bilborough College has been successful in its bid to the government’s Post-16 capacity fund for a new £3.2 million extension to the current site to provide additional teaching and study space for students. This national fund was established to help manage the additional 260,000 16-19 year olds anticipated to be in education in the coming years. Demand to the Capacity Fund was high, and the £83 million pot was significantly over-subscribed, so it is testimony to the strength of Bilborough’s bid that the college was selected.


    Since Bilborough College moved onto its current campus in 2005, student numbers have continued to increase and in the last 3 years alone, the college has grown by more than 150 students. The college is consistently over-subscribed, with students from around 90 feeder schools, and has had to establish waiting lists over the last few years to manage its numbers. Whether it is the excellent results, the exceptionally wide range of courses on offer, the nationally-recognised extra and super-curricular opportunities, or the mini-university feel of life on campus, it is clear that Bilborough College offers an aspirational opportunity for young people in our region.


    The college’s Principal, David Shaw, was delighted to announce the news. “Securing this new build means that students who wish to access our excellent provision over the coming years will not be turned away due to high demand. It allows us to put in the new classrooms, specialist equipment and additional study spaces which will boost the life-chances of our local students and create more pathways to high-quality university and apprenticeship destinations. Now that the bid has been formally approved, we are moving forward with our plans to get the new build up and running as soon as possible.”


    Skills minister Alex Burghart said: “Every young person should have the opportunity to gain the skills they need to reach their goals and go on to have successful careers. This investment will boost capacity so we can make sure there is a place for every 16 to 19-year-old, giving them access to the high-quality learning facilities they need to succeed.”


    Notes to editors: Bilborough College is a member of Better Futures Multi Academy Trust located on the west side of Nottingham. It has approximately 1900 16-18 year old students studying either A Level programmes, BTEC Level 3 Diplomas or a combination of the two. Approximately 75% of its students go on to university – a large proportion to research-intensive universities such as the Russell Group – and the remainder into higher level Apprenticeships, employment or further training.


  • National recognition for Bilborough College super-curricular programme 

    We were delighted to be recognised in the national media as a leader in super-curricular activities.  “Super-curricular” activities develop and further extend learning in a subject area.  These might be competitions and Olympiads, online courses and MOOCS, work with visiting practitioners, and trips which bring the subject to life. It’s all part of Bilborough’s excellent preparation for university. Find out more about making the most of super-curricular activities here.


  • New COVID-19 guidance announced for start of academic year 2021-22


    We hope that you have enjoyed the summer break and are ready and enthusiastic about the new academic year.  As restrictions have been eased, many of us have been starting to experience those things we have been missing for many months.  As you are probably aware, there have also been significant changes to guidelines for schools and colleges which are summarised below. 

    Summary of new guidance

    These are explained in detail on the attached slideshow  Info for Students Sept 21 – Covid19 Safety Arrangements –  Please read these slides carefully so you know what to expect when returning to college in September. 

    Aim 1 – less disruption to face to face teaching

    The new guidance prioritises face to face education, which is especially important given the disruption students have faced during the pandemic.  There remains risk everywhere, every day, in all that we do and thankfully, for the majority of young people, COVID-19 is a mild to moderate illness.  Time lost from education also has a significant impact on pupil’s heath, wellbeing and life chances and so we must balance these risks. 

    Because of this new focus, we will no longer send home close contacts of Covid-19 automatically which should significantly reduce the number of students needing to study at home.  Equally, there will be no more ‘bubbles’ or social distancing requirements to allow for normal student interaction to take place.  Students and staff will be able to choose whether or not to wear a mask and we will maintain good ventilation and other hygiene measures.  However, if you do have COVID-19 symptoms and /or test positive, you must isolate as before until your period of quarantine is over and notify the college as soon as possible (07801173168 / [email protected]

    Aim 2 – reducing the risks through testing and vaccination

    We know that vaccination is effective in protecting people against COVID-19 and that more and more people have been vaccinated.  Now that vaccination has been opened to 16-18 year olds, we are strongly encouraging all students who feel comfortable getting a vaccination to do so as this will further protect students, staff and our wider families and friends. 

    We also know that lateral flow testing can pick up asymptomatic people who did not even know they were infected, and that this can limit or halt transmission.  We are therefore offering on-site ‘assisted testing’ for all students who consent to this at the start of term (see slide 4 on guidance PowerPoint).  One you have completed the on-site testing programme, staff and students are encouraged to self-test and report regularly at home (using the tests that we supply)

    Limitations of guidance

    We have seen what has happened in Scotland where schools and colleges returned before those in England and Wales.  Numbers have risen steadily, and we know the same could happen here.  We’ll continue to do all we can to reduce risk and provide a safe environment, within the new guidelines, but we will make further changes should they be necessary.  If you are especially vulnerable and / or have been unable to have a vaccine, we can take other specific measures to protect you so please speak to your tutor or to student support who will be able to refer you to someone who can help.  

    Info for Students Sept 21 – Covid19 Safety Arrangements 

  • Channel 4 News visit Bilborough College for national vaccination story

    After featuring in an August 2020 item on results day*, Channel 4 news were back at Bilborough College this week to talk to our confident and reflective students about the merits of vaccinations for 16-19 year olds, and a new government campaign to encourage take-up.

    Current Y13 student Dapo Edun, made some great points about how lucky we are in the country to be being offered a vaccine that other countries in the world are struggling to access.  Meanwhile, Gabrielle Aikulolw explained clearly why some students do have reservations and how reliable and trustworthy information is needed for young people to have the confidence to take up this offer.


    You can watch the piece by following the link below –


    It was great to see the college looking so vibrant in the sunshine as we enrol our next cohort of new Y12 students, and we are delighted that Channel 4 chose Bilborough College for this piece.  It is a great learning opportunity for our students to put themselves in front of the camera and they did themselves and the college proud.  We know that Channel 4 love meeting our students because they always have something interesting to say and are able to say it so well.


    *If you would like to watch last year’s national news story, you can find the link here.

  • Congratulations to the Class of 2021!

    Students at Bilborough College are celebrating outstanding results, rewarding the huge effort they have made since the start of the pandemic. Students have had to adjust to learning by live-remote lessons during lockdowns to complete their courses while still demonstrating high levels of learning and understanding. As well as having to cope with the pressures and stresses of a pandemic, there have also been bubbles, self-isolation and Covid-testing to contend with, and the disappointment of cancelled exams – all of which have contributed to two challenging years of education.

    All schools and colleges have used the Teacher Assessed Grades (TAGs) methodology this year to reward students for their holistic performance over a range of pieces of work. Bilborough College students achieved the highest A-level ever pass rate this year of 99.8% and the highest ever proportion of A*-C grades of 82.6%.  We also saw 100% pass rates on all our BTEC courses, rewarding the hard work and assignments completed by all our BTEC students.

    David Shaw, Principal at Bilborough College, congratulated students on their results.

    He said, “Along with the rest of the staff team here at Bilborough, I’m delighted that once again so many of our students have performed so well.  This is one of the most important days of the year for us and when everyone has worked so hard in such challenging circumstances, it is great to see all the effort, dedication and hard work rewarded with excellent results.  No one however should believe stories that UK students achieving grades in 2021 somehow had it easier this year than in other years.  Teacher assessed grades offer us a much more accurate and substantial reflection of what students are capable of achieving rather than the snapshot of exams where sometimes people just have a bad day.  As a consequence, overall results are up but there is no doubt that the grades achieved have been earned and there is solid evidence for them.

    The college now has key staff available every day right through to the start of term for advice and guidance around results, UCAS, and next steps for students.  We wish all the best to our students for their futures at university, on apprenticeships and in the workplace and are confident they are well equipped for a bright future.”