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- 12th September 2011
- Dear Mr Whyte,
- We are writing to you to express our concerns on the rumours that are currently circulating several year groups within the school about no study leave being allocated for final exams, and we were hoping to see some answers to this matter given as soon as possible.
- We personally, we feel that this would not be a step in the right direction as although a small minority of pupils see this time being a holiday, the majority of pupils would be put under a lot of pressure about fitting their ordinary school timetable around exams and finding time to study also. This would be a disadvantage to not only the pupils sitting these exams but also to the school as their ranking in the city may drop so the school won’t be seen as well as it may hope to be as the exam results may not be at the same standard as pupils would have hoped. This would not be because pupils haven’t studied hard enough; this would be because pupils would be put at a disadvantage with people within their classes who don’t want to study as they will possibly distract them from studying things they are not very confident on.
- Together, we have compiled a list of points that can be found in our planners pages 18 - 21 which we feel contradicts the decision that has been made.
- "Be active. Don't just read: … ask yourself questions, practise, talk to yourself …” - If we want to ask ourselves questions or talk to ourselves if we were to have no study leave it would mean we would be distracting many of our peers who may or may not be studying.
- "Change subject from time to time; it is less stressful!" We struggled to see the point in going to a certain class to revise for that subject but getting stressed out and so switching subject.
- "Schedule times for fun and friends; that way, you will not waste time or burn out." On a normal school night we’ll get home, unpack our bag, sit down and do any homework that we may need to do and then think about heading out to socialise with friends. Of course, if no study leave was granted then we would be spending more of our time at evenings than we would hope for studying and, as stated, we will “burn out”.
- "Get enough sleep" Picture yourself stressing out over having a final exam that next day. You didn’t have that subject today at school and so only had that evening to do the last minute revision. You stay up later than normal just so you can make sure that you get all the revision you think is necessary. Obviously this means that you are losing out on sleep that you’ll need for the next day reducing concentration.
- "Go out in the fresh air." A sunny day at home normally means a day out in the garden. A sunny day at school always means another day in the classroom. It speaks for itself really.
- "Take breaks (concentration falls off if you study too long without a break)." If we do this in class there is a possibility we will get told off for not working and could then be accused of trying to distract fellow students.
- We have also looked around the internet trying to find some statistics on what study leave can do for students but unfortunately had no success so instead we took to this year’s Secondary School Tables for Aberdeen City.
- As you can see we were ranked 8th out of thirteen schools. We can confirm that Bridge of Don Academy and Harlaw Academy both receive study leave and it turns out they’re both above us. Aberdeen Grammar School, which is listed as being in a deprived area, are also above us which will hopefully erase some views, if any, from members of staff about areas. As we mentioned earlier, being in the bottom half of the table is bad enough but without study leave that could lead us even further down which won’t look good for anyone interested.
- We have also considered your point about pupils taking this time off as a holiday. We’ve came up with an idea that pupils must prepare an exam timetable and have it authorized in PSE before study leave would start and would need to come in at least once in a week with proof that they are following that same timetable. Studying can still be avoided but I think that this way would be better than having constant disruptions from people who don’t want to learn in class.
- Lastly, we’d like to ask you how you think disruptions could be combated if we were to stay in school and study as right now we have roughly 2 disruptions per class where work is set. Whilst revising, you’re trusted to work on at your own pace and do the work you need to do. These people I can guess will just take this opportunity to disrupt everyone and so will end up cancelling out our revision time.
- We’d like to thank you for taking time out of your schedule to read this letter of concern and hope that you are able to get back to us about some of our points.
- Yours sincerely,
- Jade Allan E4, Grant Bilsland E4, Sarah Kueter C2
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