What options are available to schools for study leave this year?


Schools are free to shape if and when independent study leave will be granted to pupils in Year 11 and 13 this year under updated guidance from the Department for Education.

Grades for those pupils will be submitted by 18 June, while the guidance suggests that any work completed after the May half-term break is unlikely to be used to assist the grading process.

Periods of independent study leave are usually granted to pupils after half-term, although the Department for Education has recognised that 2021 may need an alternative approach.

“This year the needs of the cohort will be different and a period of independent study leave may not be applicable,” the guidance states.

“Schools should make appropriate judgements on the activities for their own pupils. This might not mean full-time provision and could include visits to education providers, independent studies or remote provision combined with attendance in person.”

Helping pupils to catch up

This could allow teachers to account for periods of lost learning, especially for those looking ahead to AS and A-level studies.

However, the compulsory school’s age is not set to change from being the last Friday in June of the year when pupils turn 16.

Pupils will not be required to do additional work in the summer unless they choose to, although the guidance encourages schools to do everything possible to “maximise opportunities that meet the progression needs of their students”.

It is suggested that video resources from the Oak National Academy and an array of other sources could be used to “support pupils to embed curriculum content in which they are less secure”.

Schools should also “liaise with local 16 to 19 providers” according to the guidance, to facilitate a smooth transition into A-level study or alternative qualifications.

The guidance also makes a provision for supporting pupil mental health and wellbeing, in recognition that students have not necessarily had access to the usual set of resources when making decisions on their future.

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