SQA and Exam Leave

As you are aware, there will be a full SQA diet running this year from Tuesday 26th April to Wednesday 1st June. We are delighted to be in our new school building in time for these exams beginning as the examination rooms, equipment and facilities will all be of a much higher standard than we have in our current building.

Our main examination area will be our new dance studio which is a big, bright, well ventilated area with blinds which will be lowered during these times. Additional rooms will also be required, including our music practice rooms, partnership room and music classrooms for any listening exams. These rooms have been chosen specifically to ensure they provide the best working environment for these exams.

During the Easter study programme, pupils will be given a tour of the school and these areas will be shown to them. There is an assembly scheduled prior to the move for seniors to specifically discuss and answer questions about exams and exam leave.

It is crucial that all pupils turn up for every exam they are scheduled to sit. You will receive an email with an individualised timetable for your son/daughters exam schedule. Pupils are encouraged to work from this document which may different slightly to others due to any additional arrangements of timings. The exam starts at the time stated on the timetable. Pupils are encouraged to attend school up to 30 minutes before their exam and we will have a range of bottles of water, fruit and cereal bars available if they wish. Pupils who arrive late to their exam will not be granted access to the venue and therefore will not be able to sit the exam.

We have our pupil support officers available to support with phone call alerts, text messages and pick ups available if you think this would be a beneficial support for your child. Please let your pupil support leader know and they can ensure this is put in place.

Pupils should be encouraged to bring everything they need to their exam, for example, pens, pencils, rubbers, calculators etc.  We will have spare resources if required but pupils are reminded these must be returned after the exam has finished.

On the timetable (which will be emailed) it will show the venue and seat number for each exam. It is important pupils familiarise themselves with this information prior to each exam to ensure these exams run smoothly. Printed copies will also be positioned outside the exam room as a reminder.

Please note the following information for all exams.

  • Pupils must leave bags/jackets at the side of the exam room
  • Mobile phones, ipads, devices must not be used in exams. If these are brought into the exam hall, they must be turned off and remain in bags.
  • Smart watches are not permitted in the exam hall.
  • Pupils must not engage with any other student during the exam.
  • A bottle of water can be brought into the exam.
  • Pupils should remain in the venue for the duration of the exam. Pupils cannot leave within the first 30 minutes of the exam. If the exam is 1 hour or less, all pupils must remain for the duration.
  • External invigilators will be present in all exams.
  • Pupils should attend in school uniform for their exam.

Exceptional Circumstances

It is crucial that pupils attend all exams on their timetable. If anyone is unable to attend an exam or is prevented from completing the exam due to a personal circumstance outwith your control (such as a medical issue) this case will be presented to the Exceptional circumstances panel. Contact must be made with the school (0131 661 1282) at the earliest possible opportunity so we can put plans in place to support.

For pupils who receive alternative arrangements:

Many of our young people are entitled to alternative arrangements, including the use of bilanguage dictionaries or iPads. These will be kept securely in the main office and will be allocated and set for the correct language in the main office. Pupils who are entitled to use one of these must collect from the main office before an exam and return it to the same venue after the exam.

It is the pupils responsibility to ensure they have this device/dictionary before entering the exam.

Some pupils receive additional time, reader/scribe, alternative accommodation and these arrangements will show on the exam time table which you will be sent via email.

Estimated grades

We have been asked to share your estimated grades with you next week. These are based on the evidence subjects have gathered across the year for you. These estimates will be shared with SQA prior to the start of the SQA diet.

Estimates will be used in you choose to submit an appeal for the grade you receive in August. More information about appeals will be communicated at a later date.

Please remember that final grades will be based on the SQA exam. There is still time to learn, revise and prepare for these exams. The estimates are based on physical evidence on coursework, assessments to date but often pupils perform better in final exams.

Study Support

You should have received our Easter study programme which will take place over the Easter holidays in the new school. This is a great opportunity for pupils to benefit from teacher input whilst revising and working through course content. There is also a national offering of Nat5/Higher and Advanced higher support with e-Sgoil (www.e-sgoil.com). Pupils need a GLOW password to access this resource which has several offerings of subject based study material. All passwords for GLOW can be accessed via Ms Dornan.

Exam Leave

We run a slightly different study leave compared to other schools as we feel young people continue to benefit from the input of class teachers until they sit their final exam. We expect all pupils to continue attending their timetabled classes, in school uniform until they have sat the exam or have finished all the coursework required. After this time, pupils do not need to attend school until those returning for an S5 or S6 do so at the beginning of June for the senior residential and change of timetable. Our current S6 pupils will be invited back for a leavers event in June.

If pupils are sitting National 4, Level 5 or 6 Qualifications there are no final exams but there is coursework which needs to be complete. Staff will liaise directly with pupils when they have completed courses and no longer need to attend.

The National 5 PE and National 5 Hairdressing courses do not have a final exam.

National 5 Practical cookery practical exam has taken place in school and the National 5 Practical cake (practical) exam is organised in school time and will be completed before the Easter holidays. These pupils will have an additional written exam within the exam diet.

Please remember we are here to support during these times. We understand this is the first full exam diet since 2019 and for pupils and parents this may be your first experience of SQA exams. We are here to support in every possible way. Pupils are welcome into the new building for supported study over the Easter break, to see the new school, to continue to attend classes until the exam date and benefit from the support from our school staff.

Please do not hesitate to contact the school if you have any questions.

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