Highland Council’s education department today reassured pupils and parents that it was not stopping “study leave” for students taking exams following a petition calling for it to be retained.
More than 1,300 signatures have been gathered calling for the council to retain study leave.
Study leave enables S4 and S6 students to cram for their exams at home, with the opportunity to go into school during this period to ask teachers for help and advice.
And the petition – entitled Save Our Study Leave” – pointed out that removing this provision could mean pupils would miss out on achieving top grades, which would put them at a disadvantage when competing for university places.
But the council yesterday confirmed that study leave would continue.
A council spokeswoman said: “There will continue to be provision for examination preparation time, which can be taken at home or in school.
“Those pupils sitting any combination of Highers, Advanced Highers and National 5 will be allocated the maximum preparation time.
“Where pupils are involved in qualifications that do not involve an end of course examination, we would not envisage the requirement for preparation time, and they will continue with classwork.”
She explained that the council had been looking at the arrangements for study leave as a consequence of the changes to national qualifications.
She said: “Last year, there was understandable comment from pupils and parents because these arrangements had not been updated, including criticism that study leave was available to pupils who were not sitting examinations.
“Accordingly, a working group of a head teachers has been considering the matter, and will report in early February.”
She added that the group had made some initial recommendations, but these needed further revision and there would be a consultation exercise with all schools.
And the council’s Head of Education, Jim Steven, said: “The head teachers’ group has further work to complete.
“This will involve staff, parents and pupils, but I hope this gives pupils and parents clarity and reassurance that there will continue to be preparation time for the examinations in 2015 and the future.”