Arrangements for study leave

From the Headteacher

Each year, a small number of young people ask me about my decision not to offer early study leave to Year 11. They ask because they feel they would be able to focus better at home and enjoy the idea of preparing for examinations in their bedrooms, for example. And there is nothing unreasonable about that!

As so often is the case, the reality is slightly more complex than it first appears.

In Wales, there is no regulatory basis for study leave but a Headteacher can exercise their authority to permit learners to remain at home to prepare for examinations when reasonable and proportionate. A balance must be struck to ensure equity and promote an equality of opportunity whilst also providing a degree of autonomy and trust.

In coming to a decision, I consider:

  • The importance of routine to good learning. Establishing and maintaining effective study routines takes practise. Many young people have not yet perfected this skill and distractions at home can prove too tempting too resist. Most parents and carers go to work during the day and a lack of supervision when revising can contribute to waning focus.
  • The art of good revision. Too many young people misuse their time by writing copious notes which they hope will somehow 'sink in'. Note taking rarely confers an advantage to those preparing for exams. Effective revision requires the application of knowledge and skills to new and unknown contexts - this means completing past papers and practise questions with the support and guidance of a teacher.
  • The differences in lived experience. Some children are fortunate enough to have their own bedroom, furnished with a desk and equipped with all the files, folders and stationery they need. Others find themselves lacking these essentials. Examination preparation works so much more effectively when everybody has a solid foundation to build on - this means teachers helping learners in the early stages and, as confidence and competence grows, letting go.

There are lots of other factors that Headteachers must think about, such as safeguarding children from being unsupervised in the community or helping families to manage transport to and from school, for example. These are important and complex considerations.

Generally, I find that study leave which commences on or around the Whitsun half term break strikes the desired balance: late enough to establish good learning routines and perfect revision, and early enough to offer some freedom and flexibility.

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed, is more important than any other one thing.

Arrangements for Year 11

Year 11 pupils must continue to attend school, on time and every day, until the commencement of study leave is formally announced. Lessons will continue, with guided practise and revision, according to the usual timetable. On the rare occasion that a qualification is finished before study leave, these lessons will become 'free lessons' for supervised and quiet revision.

The final day of formal education will not be announced in advance. As it is expected that children are always in school and in uniform, nobody should fear missing out on celebrations. At the appropriate time, Year 11 will be invited to the main hall to reflect on their time together at the school, eat, drink, laugh, dance and sign shirts or notebooks.

This approach ensures best possible attendance and behaviour, with minimal disruption to the smooth running of the school. It keeps everybody safe, happy and well.

Parents will be advised in writing when study leave shall begin.


Our formal celebration takes place at prom. This is a joyous occasion bringing together staff and pupils in a 'walk down memory lane' whilst dining, dancing and laughing. Attendance to prom is a privilege, not a right, and you can remind yourself of the details here.

A final thought

No one decision will ever suit everybody. Our community is manifestly diverse - which is our strength - and we each have a part to play for the whole. As Headteacher, it is my role to carefully consider the ways in which we can serve the interests of all whilst protecting those on the margins or more vulnerable to discrimination. Your views are always welcomed and, if you would like to reach out, please do contact me.

With every blessing,

Canon I Loynd, Headteacher