Exam Leave

Exam Leave

March 2024

Dear Parent/Carer,

As students begin their final preparations for the diet of national examinations there are some practicalities which students and parents/carers should be aware of.  The following information can also  be found on the school blog here: https://alfordacademy.edublogs.org/exam-leave/ along with information for Study Support including how to register with e-sgoil study classes.


Study leave is offered on the understanding students use their study leave time effectively, working from home or in school to prepare for their SQA examinations.

The dates of Study Leave are: Monday 22nd April to Wednesday 29th May inclusive.

New S5 and S6 will return to school on Thursday 30th May to start their induction programme.

Subject teachers may request that students return to school during study leave for additional tutorials and to complete outstanding work toward Unit Assessments.

On any given day during study leave students may work at home, or in school.  Those who choose to work in school should sign in and then go to a designated study area/room for that date and time.  Teachers can provide advice to pupils who wish to prepare for further qualification in a particular subject.

Normal school dress code applies during the examination period.  If pupils are in school, they must be wearing school uniform. Dress code also, assists invigilators in ensuring that everyone in the exam is entitled to be there.  The invigilation team appreciate the support they receive from parents in this regard.

Pupils bringing any bags to school during their exams must store them securely in a locker – they must not be left in corridors in social spaces, or obstructing doorways.  Mobile phones and Smart watches (including FitBits) should not be brought into the must be stored in bags and must be turned off.


A copy of the Your Exams 2024 Booklet can be found here https://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/100863.html . This booklet has been issued to all pupils along with their printed individual timetable this week along, with a confirmation letter of all the courses your young person is entered for.  Any pupil who has not received a printed copy can collect one from campus reception or from Dr Skellern.  The contents are important and should be read and checked to ensure the SQA expectations are clear.

Please note that the information on Page 14 of the Your Exams Booklet references asking permission to leave the exam early.  Please note that at Alford Academy we do not permit pupils to leave early.  This is to avoid disruption to other pupils.


Examinations will take place in within the school and will be invigilated by the same team who supported the students during their prelim examinations.  Each invigilator has been through a recruitment process and relevant details (held by the school) about individual student’s medical conditions and health will be provided to the Chief Invigilator to ensure that she can carry out her duties with due regard to the health and safety of all students.


Most examinations are scheduled such that pupils can still use school transport if they wish, but it is the responsibility of students to ensure they make suitable travel arrangements where this is not the case.


The night before, or the morning of a major exam can be stressful.  This can result in students arriving ill-equipped for the exams. Even senior students can benefit from a friendly face running through the list of possible items that they may need for their exam (for example students should ensure they bring blue/black pens (not gel pens), a ruler and when necessary, a calculator, HB pencil and eraser).  It can also help to have a copy of the exam timetable displayed so that everyone in the household can support and encourage students as they prepare for their exams.

Students should be aware that adjustments to start times have been made locally for some exams compared with the times published on the SQA website, so please always refer to the issued individual timetable for exam times. Pupils should arrive 10 minutes before the start of their exam.


Prohibited items.

The following items may not be brought into the examination room.

Mobile phones

The SQA state that under no circumstances can mobile telephones or any other electronic communication devices be taken into the examination room.  If it is essential for your child to take their phone with them, they must hand it (switched off), to the invigilator prior to the examination starting.  Please note that candidates bringing any valuables to the exam hall do so at their own risk.  Neither the school nor the invigilation team accept any responsibility for any valuables at any time during the examinations, although will provide a communal tray which will be stored out with the exam hall.

Any candidate found in possession of prohibited equipment during the examination may have their entry for the examination cancelled.



Class teachers will inform pupils whether a calculator can be used in their examination papers.  Sharing of calculators is not permitted.  It is the candidate’s responsibility to ensure that their calculator does not contain:

  • a computer algebra system (CAS)
  • stored data or text
  • any form of hand-held computer.

Other prohibited items include Smart watches (including FitBits), MP3 Players/iPods, pencil cases, calculator cases, notes, or books other than those expressly permitted by the SQA for a given exam.  Food and drink is not permitted within the exam venue, except by prior agreement with the SQA coordinator or the Chief Invigilator.  Where bottled water is permitted the label must be removed from the bottle.  Students are not permitted to leave personal items, including litter or empty bottles, in the exam hall once their exam is over.

Headphones, Bluetooth earphones, earbuds or EarPods are not permitted, and we would ask that candidates tie hair back to ensure their ears are visible to invigilators for the duration of exams.


While it cannot always be guaranteed, if for any reason, a student is late for an examination, they should report to the examination without delay, where they will be advised by the invigilator team if they are permitted to enter late.  If possible, the school office should be informed, and an indication of the students expected arrival time given.  If your young person is ill and unable to sit an examination, please inform the school by telephone before the start of the examination and provide the school with a medical certificate covering the dates of the absence as soon as possible.


If a pupil is unable to attend an examination for a legitimate reason, the SQA’s Examination Exceptional Circumstances Consideration Service (EECCS) will be triggered.  Information on this can be found at; https://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/79042.html


While the conduct of our students is normally of an exceptionally high standard, malpractice is a serious matter, and all students must be careful to comply with the regulations of the SQA, local policy and instructions of their invigilation team, or SQA coordinator. Candidates may forfeit marks or have an award in the current diet of examinations, in any or all of their subjects, cancelled if they are perceived to or attempt to or if their conduct is contrary to any of the following conditions:

Candidates must not:

  • take into the examination room any prohibited item.
  • communicate in any way with another pupil during an examination.
  • intentionally cause a disturbance in the examination room.
  • submit work, which is frivolous, abusive, or otherwise offensive.
  • cause disruption in an exam or while leaving an exam.

Students who have any query or problem (not relating to the content of the exam paper) during an examination should quietly raise their hand and wait for an invigilator to respond.  Pupils must remain seated in the examination room until dismissed by the exam’s invigilator.


Due to local circumstances the timing of many exams has been changed from those detailed on the SQA website.  Copies of the individual student exam timetable showing these local adjustments have been issued separately.  These should be carefully checked.  A small number of students will be required to make their own transport arrangements as some exams end after the end of the normal pupil day.

Arrangement for pupils leaving School after completion of last exam.

Students leaving school should collect a Leavers Form from their Guidance Teacher.  It is vital that all equipment and textbooks etc., are returned to their class teachers and to the library and that this is confirmed by the class teacher’s/librarian’s signatures on the Leavers Form.  Only once all items have been returned and confirmed by signatures, will the form be authorised by your young person’s Guidance Teacher and then finally by a member of the Senior Leadership Team.  Pupils who have received a long-term loan of a Chromebook must return this to the school on completion of their high school education.

Arrangements for Students Returning for further study.

Students planning further study in session 2023-2024 at Alford Academy must return to school on Thursday 30th May.

Examination Results

The SQA will deliver examination results to the student’s nominated address (as shown on the timetables) on Tuesday 6th August 2024.  Students who also wish to access their results by text message or email first thing on the 6th August should sign up with:


We greatly appreciate your support in discussing the contents of this letter with your child.

On behalf of the staff at Alford Academy, we wish your young person every success and thank you for your assistance in helping them prepare for these important examinations.


Yours sincerely

Matt Skellern

Dr Matt Skellern

(Depute Head Teacher/SQA Coordinator)


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