Gaelic - Clashing times

12th June 2009 at 01:00

Pupils and staff at Stornoway's Nicolson Institute were happy with the content of this year's papers, but clashes with other exams continue to cause headaches.

There were 27 pupils affected, with the scheduling of Standard grade papers on the same day as home economics exams causing particular difficulties. Some pupils were in exams from 9am to 5.45pm with only short breaks, one reporting having had less than 30 minutes for lunch. There are concerns about the impact on pupil performance, while the school faced a big logistical challenge in keeping apart pupils sitting the same exams at different times.

The school has made its views about this issue known to the Scottish Qualifications Authority for a number of years, and there have been some improvements. Last year, two Higher candidates had to be supervised by a teacher overnight, to ensure they did not exchange information with peers sitting the exam at a different time, but Higher pupils were not affected this year.

The only slight worries expressed by Higher candidates related to some vocabulary in the listening paper, which, principal teacher of Gaelic Finlay Cunningham said, was "challenging but fair". Topics covered at Higher continue to be easy for teenagers to relate to, such as holidays, careers and health.

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