Falkirk sticks to ban on S4 study leave

24th March 2006 at 00:00
More than nine out of 10 senior pupils and seven out of 10 parents in the Falkirk area want study leave reintroduced for S4 pupils ahead of their exams.

The council consulted widely after it scrapped S4 leave last year but has dismissed the appeal for its return because of continuing poor attainment and attendance. It will be up to schools to offer more effective in-school study during exam time, the authority emphasises.

Pupils spoke out against its removal, citing too many disruptions and distractions in class caused by other pupils who did not want to study.

Some preferred to study in silence while others preferred background music.

Parents described the level of support from teachers as inconsistent. Study classes were sometimes taken by teachers from other subjects. Parents backed pupils who wanted a choice to study in their preferred environment, at home or in school.

Headteachers, too, agreed that removing S4 leave did not have the desired effect because of the resentment among pupils. It also presented logistical problems for schools, running a teaching and exam timetable simultaneously.

Some pupils took unauthorised study leave with parental consent.

Headteachers will now have to plan more effective access to staff during in-school study periods, especially for practical exams.

Despite the evidence, the authority believes it is "premature" to abandon its policy after a year, although S5 and S6 pupils will continue to enjoy the benefits of home study.

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