Every year, hundreds of thousands of students sit their GCSE exams. In most schools around the UK, year 11 students are granted a period of study leave whilst they sit their exams.

Study leave enables students to act more responsible to take their learning into their own hands and learn independently. Study leave is something which greatly appeals to a lot of the teenagers going through this tough time in their lives. It gives them the chance to focus their time on the subjects and topics they feel they need to in order to improve. They find themselves learning more as they are able to work by their own clock, take breaks when necessary and get more sleep.

Although having time away from school seems to engage a lot of young people, some students feel frustrated by the idea of missing out on lesson time. Study leave requires teens to have a lot of self-discipline and motivation, which some people, especially teenagers, just don’t have. A large number of people feel as though to revise for an exam effectively, they need a teacher or tutor. Staying at school instead of taking study leave would mean those students who lack self-discipline would have set, compulsory revision and learning times. They would have a teacher’s guidance and be able to ask any questions that they were unsure of then and there without having to wait for the response to an email.

I got the opinions of six year 11 students from multiple schools, all sitting their GCSEs in 2018. The majority of the students I spoke to decided that they would benefit from having study leave during their exams, as they work better independently. “I work best at home as it’s a place I can sit alone and really concentrate,” said one pupil, “To not have study leave puts us students at a disadvantage.” Other teenagers tended to agree with her. “It gives you time to plan your revision and just clear your head. Having that time off to organise myself is really useful.” One of the students I asked gave another extremely valid point. “Study leave helps us to devote our time to revising rather than wasting that precious time in the lesson.” She stated that lesson time may not be as helpful as the students may not cooperate properly during exam season due to stress. Overall, only two of the six said they would rather not have study leave during their exam period. “When I’m at home I don’t have the motivation to revise, and I have more distractions. If I’m at school doing work and revision that I’ve been told to do, I’m more likely to do the revision and if I need help there are people at school who can help me.” Another year 11 student agreed. “I can’t study at home. I don’t focus.” Through asking these pupils it is clear that focus is a big part of their learning, whether it is easier at home or school.

Yasmin Ammour - Norbury Manor BEC