I try to keep pretty neutral in my role as Director of a tuition company. We work in multiple catchment areas, serving many schools so I am fortunate in being able to gather a cross section of feedback regarding most educational practices.
I try to please all of the people, all of the time. Parents, pupils, the schools, my tutors – I juggle and generally walk the path of least resistance, avoiding controversy. However, the one issue, I feel that needs addressing is the current situation with “Study Leave”
Call me old fashioned but when I was at school, the Whit half-term signalled the start of year 5th year study leave or the period where ‘you only had to come in for your exams’ as it became known.
Year 11 left school – gone.
However, government guidelines state that “You can leave school on the last Friday in June if you’ll be 16 by the end of the summer holidays.
You must then do one of the following until you’re 18:
- stay in full-time education, for example at a college
- start an apprenticeshipor traineeship
- spend 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering, while in part-time education or training.”
How lovely and sensible but what does this mean for some?
It reality many schools are in pitched battle. They are housing groups of exhausted kids, some of whom have now completed their exams in certain subjects but are still expected to attend the lessons.
Stories this week of the deteriorating atmosphere in some schools is upsetting. Parents, lying to school receptionists in an attempt to allow their children to stay home; children “escaping” through gaps in fences and lessons in which children claim ‘they don’t learn anything, anyway.’
Yes, some children greatly benefit from the full time allotted but some have mentally left months ago and everyone would benefit from their ‘early exit.’
The option for study leave would redress some of the hostility with parents, pupils and the school.
Personally, I think study leave should commence with the start of the exams. Children should attend for exams and then be able to go home. Simple!
It makes far more sense than battling to keep them in school exhausted and resisting. Do we really think that under those circumstances that last lesson on Mr Birling or the five minute PowerPoint on circle theorum is going to be the crucial nugget that makes all the difference of a child doesn’t want to engage or is shattered?
Look at the staff.
They are shattered as well. At this stage, I see my friends who are still in schools and I applaud them. Teachers are heroes and at this time of year they are battling exhaustion themselves.
Give up the fight.
Accept that study leave does suit some children and don’t expect full time attendance once the exams have started. Hand the responsibility back to the young learner, let’s stop spoon feeding and allow them to take control of their learning.
Bring back Study Leave!