School closures: Pupils to sit exams in alternative classrooms

Temporary classrooms being installed at Royal High. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Temporary classrooms being installed at Royal High. Picture: Ian Georgeson

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PUPILS studying for exams at two city high schools will be forced to sit them in alternative locations.

Following the closure of five secondaries earlier this month, hundreds of teenagers from Gracemount and Craigmount will now be taking vital SQA exams in their temporary classrooms, at Liberton and Tynecastle.

Pupils have enough to do with their studying without additional worry over where they may be sitting them.

Paul Godzik

Thousands of families across the city are still in the dark after ten primaries and two special schools were also closed, due to concerns over the construction of the buildings.

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Parents are yet to be given a clear picture of when schools might reopen or what contingency plans will be put in place.

Oxgangs councillor Jason Rust branded the news as “disappointing” for the pupils.

He said: “While it is welcome that arrangements have at last been conveyed to pupils and parents to minimise confusion and confirm locations, this is clearly bitterly disappointing news and unsettling and disruptive for both pupils and staff.

“These are potentially life-changing exams and I know parents are very worried about the potential impact.”

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However, pupils at Firrhill, Drummond and Royal High waiting to sit the same exams have been given the go-ahead to take them in their own buildings.

Melanie Main, education spokeswoman for the Green party, has asked the SQA take into account this “stressful” time when marking the papers.

She said: “I can really appreciate how stressful this is for those young people at a time of their exams.

“On the plus side, I am pleased that they now have certainty about where exams are taking place and they can plan around it.

“However, in all five schools, but particularly for students at Craigmount and Gracemount, I’d want to make sure that the council is in active discussions with the SQA so that full account is taken of the circumstances in marking exams.”

Councillor Paul Godzik, the city’s education leader, said: “With the first exams only a few weeks away it is absolutely vital that we have these plans in place and pupils are given notice as to where they will be sitting their exams.

“Pupils have enough to do with their studying without additional worry over where they may be sitting them.

“Despite the hugely challenging situation the council have tried to ensure our pupils are given every chance to prepare properly and that as far as possible they are not impacted by the school closures.

“We will be outlining in detail to the SQA the arrangements we have put in place and how this has affected pupils, as well as providing additional study support to pupils where we feel this is necessary.”

courtney.cameron@jpress.co.uk