We are considering moving prelims to November/early December and are inviting parents/carers comments.

It would be good if you could read through our rationale before deciding whether you would support this or not.  If you could comment on (a) ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on the moving of prelims and ideally comment why you are making your choice and (b) whether you would prefer an October or February Parents’ Evening to hear about your young person’s progress if we did move to a November/December prelim date.

If you wish to comment please do so by via email with ‘S4/5/6 Prelims’ in the subject heading, by Friday 26 April 2019 at very latest. 

Some of our reasons for considering this move are: 

  1. In the current model the length of time available to effectively recourse candidates and be able to complete the required assignments etc. is very tight indeed i.e. post the February break. Similarly the length of time available for candidates continuing with their presentation level (but who have under-performed in the prelim), to ‘turn things around’ is again very tight.
  2. Feedback from pupils in lots of schools is that the Christmas holidays are not an efficient/effective time for revising. Some parents/carers have also fed back that they feel the prelims spoil their Christmas holiday by having to study throughout it.  Also, if they run immediately following the holidays pupils who have questions arising from their studying cannot have these addressed before sitting their prelims.
  3. If we run prelims in November/December we are able to hit the ground running in January in terms of progressing with courses – straight through to Easter. A common concern is that an earlier prelim means the prelim paper itself is less meaningful. In reality the change potentially means a difference of two weeks taught content. Strategies that have been used to counteract this are doubling up on questions so that the paper is the required length and/or issuing additional reading/ work to be completed over the summer holiday so that classes are further ahead in August.
  4. Due to the changes to the post results service, the ‘impact’ of having an earlier prelim is less significant. 
  5. It should create more ‘space’ in the Spring term to avoid a log-jam of pressure and deadlines to complete assignments and coursework.
  6. The senior phase parent consultations (held as Senior Phase i.e. S4-6, two evenings a week apart) can be held in late October, early November to allow staff to highlight progress (or lack of) with the prelims within sight and inform parents as to what is required; or post-prelim in February to discuss final presentation levels and what is required (your views on when you think this would be best would be much appreciated).
  7. A significant number of other schools are now using this model and have reported it as being a positive move.