Across the course of a student’s education, there may be certain mystifying terms used to describe stages of education that may be hard to understand, or even completely unknown. One such term is ‘study leave’. Some pupils may be under the impression that this is a leave from studying, or more like a holiday. Others may see it as periods of time in a school year where students learn from home instead of at school. Many misconceptions can therefore arise from this term being used. So, what exactly is study leave, and what does study leave entail?
To put it briefly, study leave is the authorisation of a period of time granted to students so that they may independently study at home, away from the stress of school. Study leave can offer a more peaceful atmosphere and can help students get in valuable practice for exams. Study leave is also put in place sometimes for working students who may need time away from work to revise for upcoming exams.
If you are still curious about the nature of study leave, then this article has more information on the nuances of study leave that may be helpful.
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Who is entitled to study leave?
In terms of school, the governing body for students will generally allow Year 11 pupils to study at home when they are not taking exams, as well as Year 12 pupils and Year 13 pupils. Students are entitled to study leave, although some people might argue that study leave is often unsuccessful as students must have a lot of motivation and support to achieve best results.
However, the Department of Education has specified students are not entitled to study leave; it is up to the school’s discretion to grant it.
In terms of working students, most students absolutely have the right to ask their employers for time off work to study (or in some cases, train). However, they must meet certain conditions in the UK. These are: they must be classed as an employee, they must have worked for their employer for at least a 26 week-long period
Also, at least 250 people must work in their organisation. Employers also do not have to pay their employee while their employee is on study leave.
On the other hand, staff that cannot ask for study leave include agency workers and armed force workers. This also applies to people of compulsory school age (‘school age’ in Scotland), a young person who already has the right to take paid time off for study or training, or someone aged 16-18 who’s expected to take part in education or training.
To learn more about who can ask for study leave (or training leave), you can visit this site on rights to study leave and training in the UK on the gov.uk website.
What is study leave for Year 11?
Study leave for Year 11 pupils is the time spent at home revising for exams. Usually, this is around 2 weeks before GCSEs start. Schools were advised in 2021 to leave around 2 weeks before exams as a COVID precautionary measure.
For more information about this, check out this article from Think Student about Year 11 study leave and when Year 11 pupils end school and officially leave.
Some schools, however, believe that study leave for pupils is redundant as pupils need a lot of motivation and support from family in order for study leave to be successful. These schools will instead make their pupils continue their lessons in school as normal, or revise at school instead.
For those Year 11 students on study leave, it can often be a stressful time. Students have a lot of pressure to study and revise everything; this can be extremely tough on mental health. This article from oneeducation.co.uk can help understand how to support Year 11s better.
For tips on how to use the study leave effectively and how to revise efficiently during this time, visit this article from Think Student for advice on preparation for GCSEs.
How long is study leave?
Study leave before GCSEs and A-Levels is typically around fourteen days (as a rough metric). However, school policies will be different, and can range from two weeks to four. It is important to therefore check with your school, as students will be better prepared for study leave if they know how long study leave will last.
For working students, roughly 30 days can be granted as a maximum. Once again, it is still imperative that students check with their employers to make sure that they understand their workplace’s policy.
Is study leave compulsory?
Study leave is not compulsory! Study leave is not always granted by the school/employer, and for students, there is still the option to come into school and ask about something they’re confused on or just come in general.
Also, the Department of Education has stated that study leave ‘may not be applicable’, stating that they encourage schools to ‘maximise opportunities that meet the progression needs of their students during this time period’.
The DfE has encouraged schools to prioritise student mental health through support, and if not at home, then at school. You can read more information about this on schoolsweek.co.uk in this article about the DfE.
How much study leave are you entitled to?
Students are not actually entitled to study leave under certain conditions, for example Year 11, 12 and 13 pupils. Instead, the schools that do permit study leave typically permit students to leave for 2-4 weeks.
Legally, the Employment Act of 1996 provides right for time off for a variety of reasons. As a rough figure, employers typically allow 30 days of study leave, if certain conditions (mentioned previously) are met.
Regardless of whether you are entitled to study leave or not, you need to make sure that you are putting in the hours of revision. Check out this article from Think Student for an indication of how much time you should be spending on revision.
Do you get study leave for professional exams?
It is up to the employer’s discretion to grant study leave for professional exams. For example, a lot of trainee employees in accounting have to work and revise in the days leading up to the exam.
Again, while it is the right of staff to request time off for any reason, it depends on the company’s policy to grant it. This is usually based on conditions that have to be met (for example working in the company for at least 26 weeks).
To read more about the Employment Act (1996) which states this, visit this site at legislation.gov.uk.