30th March 2007 at 01:00

I know many aspiring headteachers who think S2 is a lost and wasted year.

This must be drummed into them at School Leadership Camp. So if they get rid of the normal S2 and bring in Standard grades or National Qualifications, what happens if it all goes toes-up in S3?

There is a school in East Dunbartonshire where the head has paid the price for innovative thinking (surely he should be applauded?) and there are a few in Glasgow who plan to implement the new structures in August.

But are S2s really ready for this? It may tick a few boxes for schools to look good, but are they mentally mature enough to handle important exams when they hit S3? Could we fast track high-achievers instead?

There has to be something that can be done to make S2 an interesting and challenging year for pupils without putting stress on them and, indeed, the teachers - perhaps a games afternoon for S2 in the private school mode, or an enterprise class where they work on projects benefitting the whole school.

S2 should not be a dead year, but it should not be make or break year for kids either.

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