THIS has been an extremely hard week for everyone involved with Edinburgh’s schools.
The unexpected days off might have been seen as an unexpected bonus by some younger pupils, but for everyone else it has been a nightmare. The biggest concern right now is for those who are preparing for exams. This is a tough enough time for students as they prepare for these crucial papers which can determine whether or not they achieve their ambitions to get into university, college or the job of their choice.
Parents have been complaining about various issues facing their children, including spending hours every week being bussed around the city, having revision sessions cancelled and having to sit practical tests in a different school using different equipment to what they had been preparing with. Some are more serious issues than others, but even some of the most minor inconveniences combined with others can add up to what is effectively a handicap for the children involved. This is deeply unfair on the children involved.
What can the city council do? In many instances, the answer might be nothing. However, the local authority has a duty to keep its arrangements for the pupils in the 17 schools that have had to be closed under constant review to see if there is any way they can ease any of the problems that will inevitably crop up.
Finding alternative classrooms for almost 8000 pupils in one week was a logistical feat, but anything done on that scale, never mind in such a hurry, is bound to throw up unexpected issues. These should be addressed as quickly as possible.
The SQA has a role to play as well. It has to recognise the tremendously difficult situation that many city students have been put in and at the very least pledge to take into consideration any extenuating circumstances when these students sit their exams.