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Study leave(12 Posts)
Head wants my take on study leave.
At the moment we offer it to Year 11 from the week of the first GCSE exam. and then to Year 13 from a couple of weeks' later (usually a week or two before A Level exams. get going although obviously there's a fair bit of variation depending on subjects). All of our students take study leave and are very rarely seen in lessons after the first day of study leave. Some Y13 do pop in from time to time and more are in contact via email.
We don't do pre exam. breakfasts or stuff like that.
What do you think is best with regard to study leave? Would be great to have some opinions from outside of our school!
I am delighted that study leave has got later and later.
My dd was at school FT (well, could leave after afternoon exam if they had one) up until half term.
For 99% of 15 and 16 yr olds, it is FAR better to be made to get up and get on with spending 6 hour of the day revising, away from all social media and other home distractions.
Thanks, BackForGood. Do you think if study leave is optional then there is just too much peer pressure to take it?
No-one is going to volunteer to come into school if it's not compulsory.
My school gives barely any study leave any more, certainly not before half term and they still have to come in for timetabled revision after half term.
So we end up in sixth form with kids with no idea how to study independently, which isn’t great given that the majority of learning in sixth form is expected to take place outside of lessons.
And the good kids, the ones who would actually revise better at home are forced to come into school and sit with kids who just want to arse around, wasting everyone’s time and stressing out the ones who want to work. Instead of settling down to a good session of revision, a whole past paper, they’re having to get up every hour and switch what they’re doing.
The kids who arse around get better results than they would have done, but I think no study leave as a blanket policy is short-sighted.
This is where we have a bit of a problem; as we're a private school, students will ask their parents to "give" them study leave and then the parents will just email in saying their kid won't be coming in anymore. Obviously, we can email home and say it's not recommended, that learning is still going on, explain what they'll miss, etc., but it would take a cultural mindshift among our students and parents and probably at least a couple of years to change that attitude.
I have children currently doing GCSEs and A-levels (nearly finished!) and they had exactly what you have described:
Y11 study leave from the beginning of the week the GCSE exams started (with optional revision sessions offered in between exams during school hours).
Y13 study leave from after half term.
I was happy with this arrangement and so were both my sons. The 16 year old had eight exams that first week; it would have been unkind and counter-productive to expect him to go in for any more than that.
There is a support thread in the secondary education section for parents & carers of Y11s.
The general consensus was that compulsory revision sessions outside of school hours (before school, after school, Saturday mornings, Easter holidays) just added to the stress the pupils were already putting themselves under, and led to exhaustion.
Opinions were more mixed regarding compulsory revision sessions during school hours once the exams had started. Pupils mostly compare their experience to other students in the same school, so if they are all in the same boat then they don't feel hard done by.
My school does a tailored time table during exams. It gets completely but it means they are still in school but don't feel like they are just going to normal lessons. So it's a mixture of private study (supervised but not necessarily by a teacher who teaches the subject they are revising)
Teacher lead revision and walking talking exams. Then after the half term they can go home at lunch if no afternoon exam.
If your students are generally high to middle attainers, I would continue letting them have study leave.
I believe there is some evidence that Y11s as a whole do slightly better when they have scheduled lessons throughout, but I seem to remember the difference was greater in the lower attainers. I have not read the whole study and don't have a link.
I loved my study leave so I’m biased - it was chill. I think it started pretty much straight after Easter and I just spent all day revising at my friends/knitting a jumper and occasionally going to an exam. There was never any doubt I was going to do well in my GCSEs tho so as a policy I couldn’t say which is best, it worked well for me and my bright, conscientious friends.
However in school now the yr 11s were expected to come in and have normal lessons/revision sessions then do exams and I really felt for them - it’s just too much to go to an English lesson in the morning, do a maths cram and then a maths exam. I think the kids I work with (lower sets) might have benefited in some subjects but they all just seemed to have given up and the unrelenting pressure didn’t seem to help. Some of them just arsed about and should have just been told to stay at home IMO. But the school does have evidence that the cohort does better with no study leave. So- inconclusive from me!
I’d be really interested in some actual research about this.
Thanks to all - these are really useful experiences and opinions. It seems like many schools offer more in the way of specific and structured revision support during study leave than ours and that in turn encourages students to attend.
Also in my school one pupil had a taxi actually come and get them in the morning to get them to the exam (no face palm emoji or I’d use it). This wasn’t a usual arrangement for them, no mobility issues or anything. How low can you set the bar? If you can’t actually be beithered to get to the exam on your own steam then you should just be allowed to fail.
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