End of study leave for prelim exams?

HEAD teachers throughout Angus are being asked to consider changes to study leave for senior pupils, with the view to giving them more valuable time in the classroom in the run up to their exams.

As fifth and sixth year pupils at Forfar Academy and Webster’s High School prepare to sit the prelims for their Highers and Advanced Highers over the next few weeks, prior to their final exams after the Easter holidays, Angus Council has confirmed they have been in talks which could do away with the traditional study leave for those sitting their prelim exams.

A spokesperson for Angus Council said: “There is no entitlement to study leave for exams beyond the formal SQA diet and across Scotland there is a variety of practice in relation to prelims and related study leave.

“Time allocated to any form of study leave reduces the amount of days pupils attend school and therefore the amount of in-school learning and teaching. Study leave during the school year can cause significant disruption to learning and can actually limit preparation for the end of session SQA diet for senior pupils.

“Discussions with head teachers in Angus, and elsewhere, have demonstrated that it is possible to organise prelim examinations with little or no disruption to the timetable and to overall learning.

“The outcome of these discussions is that head teachers are now giving consideration to the possibility of avoiding, or minimising, study leave when organising prelim examinations, in order to maintain attendance and maintain momentum in learning and teaching in the senior school. The current position is the outcome of discussions with head teachers over many sessions, as part of the ongoing commitment by the council to improve performance in the annual SQA exams.”

She added the matter was currently under consideration by head teachers and will ultimately be something they will decide. However, study leave will still be granted for final exams.