The end of the year is a time all students look forward to, as they can take a break for rest and relaxation. Particularly for Year 11 and 13 students, this is an opportunity to put down the books and enjoy the end of a long slog towards exams. As a reward for this, Year 11s always finish for the summer earlier than any other school year group. This date can vary from school to school, so it is vital that you find out exactly when your school’s final day is.
Generally, the official date for Year 11s to finish school is the day on which the final exam takes place. Some schools like to keep their students in for a few more days or weeks afterwards to give them taster days in their A-Level subjects. The GCSE exams usually finish in mid to late June, but this depends both on the subjects you take and the exam boards which you take them with.
In this article, you will discover the end date for most schools, what might cause Year 11 to be extended and specific details on how the end of school should work in this unique year.
When Does School Exam Season Usually Finish?
As a rule, exam season for GCSEs starts at the end of May and will rarely run into July. Every year the dates are slightly different depending on which subjects each student has chosen when the exams start and where half-term and bank holidays fall. As you can see by clicking here, the Edexcel exams started in the middle of May and finished in mid-June.
In this instance, your school does not have the power to run exams on their own, so every student in 2019 finished their exams on this day (for Pearson Edexcel). Every other year, exams finish roughly around this date too. The school does have the right to choose whether you will be required to come in for more days for whatever reason, so mid-June was only the earliest possible leavers date.
What Activities Do Schools Ask Students to Participate in After Final GCSE Exams?
Lots of schools invite their Year 11 pupils into school for a series of taster sessions which allow them to try out new subjects and find out whether they are cut out for their chosen A-Level courses.
In the UK, almost all private schools and some state sixth forms offer these courses, so if you’re looking for a school offering these trial days, read about the top UK private schools here.
Another reason the school may want to keep you on for another week or two is for fun activity days and leavers parties. Most schools have a Year 11 prom for you to say goodbye to those leaving and some hold lunches.
A select few schools hold an activities week where you can take part in challenges, travel to theme parks and visit new locations with your friends. Most of the time, these are all optional extras, but it is always fun to have a go!
What are the Details for School Leavers in 2022 Specifically?
Due to the exceptional circumstances this past couple of years the way GCSE exams have worked has been slightly different. However, this year exams are set to return to normal, the education sectary has stated that “GCSE and A-Level exams will absolutely go ahead this year.” Click here to read more about the education sectary’s comments.
Your exams will be taken between May and June, this is a return back to normal (pre-pandemic) time frame. Your exams results day is currently set as August 25th, check out this link to learn more.
When Does Study Leave Start?
Usually, study leave starts a week or two before the beginning of exams. In 2021, schools were advised by the government to start study leave fourteen days before the beginning of exams, because this gave students a large enough isolation period to avoid the spread of COVID. For some pupils, study leave isn’t offered because their schools believe it is better for students to continue taking lessons in school with their teachers.
Officially, Year 11 is not over until the end of your final exam. However, on a technical level, your last lesson in school could be counted as a marker for the end of the year, as the rest of your time will be spent at home revising for exams or sitting the tests themselves.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you physically can’t go into school and ask for help from your teachers or email them from home; the difference is that it is not mandatory. So, if you do get study leave, this marks a big step in terms of your independence.
How Should You Spend the Extra Time at Home?
Lots of students often say they feel a bit lost or unsure of what to do once exams have finished. Should you be starting A-Level preparations? Should you be finding work experience?
The most important thing to start your extra-long break with is plenty of relaxation. After spending hours of time working towards your exams, you need a break from all forms of studying to rediscover your hobbies and interests and spend time with your friends.
This doesn’t mean you can’t spend the day productively at all. Doing just a few household chores each week, going on a walk, or reading a book can help you to keep some sort of routine. Maintaining some form of routine is important, so when September comes around, it isn’t as much of a shock to the system when your thrown back into full time studying.
The other thing you could do is get a job. Whether this is working at a local pub or restaurant or stacking shelves in Tesco. It is one of the best things you can do as a young adult because it gives you workplace experience, helps you keep a routine, and you can earn a little bit of extra cash on the side at the same time. Just remember that this is one of the only times in your life when you’ll be completely free of any work, so don’t make too much for yourself!
For more ideas on how to spend the summer after school’s out, read the article linked here.
How Can You Prepare for Moving to Another School?
After plenty of relaxation, results day will roll around and you need to think about the next steps in terms of your education. Whilst some students choose to stay at their original school, others may want to move to a sixth form college, as might be a better environment for them to thrive in.
Applications for other schools and sixth form colleges should ideally be handed in before Christmas in Year 11, but in the summer, there are some big decisions to be made.
On results day, you’ll find out if schools have accepted you and how suited you are to your A-Level courses. During August, you need to have a good look at what your options are and decide on the best course of action for September. Whether you’ve already decided on a sixth form, or are stuck between several choices, it’s always worth doing extra research into schools and subjects.
If a sixth form or sixth form college provides a taster day you may wish to visit these, as it could help make your mind up on the best environment for you. Attending open days will allow you to meet the other students and teachers you may be studying with at sixth form, so that the transition into September goes as smoothly as possible.
The important thing to remember is that you never get another opportunity for a break like this again (except after A-Levels) so enjoy the chance for slow-living while you can!