Teens taking GCSEs: What happens at the end of year 11?

School supplies and uniform. Teens Taking GCSEs - What happens at the end of year 11? on Falcondale Life blog. Year 11 of secondary school ends with GCSE exams, lots of hard work and revision. Parents and teens want to know, will there be study leave, when do we find out the dates of the exams and when does school actually end? What is there to do after the end of year 11 in the long summer break? Tips from parent bloggers.The summer after GCSEs at the end of year 11 is a long break. It’s full of possibilities. Before we even get to the school summer holidays my daughter Fizz has an awful lot of revision and pressure. As her parent, I don’t get a lot of information in advance.

School in the final weeks of year 11

For example, we have no confirmed start date for study leave. It will be a last minute decision by the school based on the behaviour of the year group. I don’t know when my daughter is going to be working at home, which is awkward as we have some disruptive plumbing work to book in!

Other things are very last-minute too. The history and science courses are so long that they will only just finish teaching them all before the exams start. That makes revision pretty difficult.

School uniform with blazer and tie. Teens Taking GCSEs - What happens at the end of year 11? on Falcondale Life blog. Year 11 of secondary school ends with GCSE exams, lots of hard work and revision. Parents and teens want to know, will there be study leave, when do we find out the dates of the exams and when does school actually end? What is there to do after the end of year 11 in the long summer break? Tips from parent bloggers.

Arrangements and re-arrangements

Some important things have to be re-booked at a late stage. Months ago the school asked the year 11 children to find work experience starting in the week of 18th June. Fizz did a great application and landed the perfect spot. Now in mid-February the exam timetable has finally been published by AQA. Guess what? Fizz has two very late language exams in the same week as her work experience. We now have to negotiate (very apologetically) with the employer and see if it can be moved.

It feels a bit like we are flying by the seat of our pants. Things have changed a lot since I was 16. Most teachers are too busy to tell us much and I pick up bits of information from Fizz, mostly. I haven’t even been given the date for the exam results.

School supplies including pens, calculator, exercise books, atlas. Teens Taking GCSEs - What happens at the end of year 11? on Falcondale Life blog. Year 11 of secondary school ends with GCSE exams, lots of hard work and revision. Parents and teens want to know, will there be study leave, when do we find out the dates of the exams and when does school actually end? What is there to do after the end of year 11 in the long summer break? Tips from parent bloggers.

The final end of year 11

After her last GCSE exam in June, Fizz will have left school. Some of her friends are staying on to join a school geography trip to Iceland. Those who are doing work experience will have the teachers visit them in their workplaces. The end of year 11 is quite a soft finish, and I have found it tricky to get my head around the arrangements.

Even with the late language exams, Fizz will finish school four weeks before the end of term. If all goes to plan, she will have two weeks of work experience and then two more weeks before her younger sister Belle joins her at the end of term and we can take a family holiday. I wonder how Belle will feel heading off to school each morning for a month while Fizz is still asleep.

Teen on a jetty on holiday in the Lake District. Teens Taking GCSEs - What happens at the end of year 11? on Falcondale Life blog. Year 11 of secondary school ends with GCSE exams, lots of hard work and revision. Parents and teens want to know, will there be study leave, when do we find out the dates of the exams and when does school actually end? What is there to do after the end of year 11 in the long summer break? Tips from parent bloggers.

The Summer after GCSEs

Fizz will deserve a break but eventually she may get bored and under my feet. With all these weeks free at the end of year 11, I asked some other parent bloggers for their tips. They have shared their own memories and ideas for things to do.

Helen from Casa Costello says:  “My 16 year old will be competing in Finland & Glasgow but if she wasn’t she would be taking part in the Young Citizen Service. My niece did it last year and loved it. It took up her whole summer & she made loads of friends.”

Victoria from Lylia Rose says: “My school didn’t organise anything as after the last exam that was my last day at that school. I worked extra shifts and saw my friends before we went our separate ways to various jobs, colleges and sixth forms.”

Mandi from Hexmumblog says: “Both of mine have helped out with the family business to earn themselves some money, as they were working their younger siblings have never minded as they said work doesn’t sound fun!!”

Natasha from Mummy and Moose says: ” My son did NCS (National Citizen Service) last summer following his GCSEs and I cannot stress enough how brilliant it was for him. Masses of fun, it helped his self confidence and learning lots of new skills. 15 days of things to do for £50 was excellent value too. I think every 16 year old should do it.”




Colette from Truly Madly Cuckoo says: ” My son got himself a part time job in a local café. He normally only works Sundays but did extra hours after GCSEs and works more in the holidays now. He loves the extra cash, also it’ll look good on his personal statement if he goes to university.”

Nellie from Nellie Pom-Poms says: “When my older two went on study leave a fortnight before the exams they were pretty much left to their own devices as to whether they actually went to revision classes, they got to exams and afterwards they kicked back and relaxed. They are no longer pupils at school so the school don’t do anything. My youngest had no jealousy whatsoever, she enjoyed not having her older siblings at school.”

Is this how you expected the end of year 11 to go or are there some surprises here? How are the last weeks of year 11 organised in your area? Do let me know in the comments!

Read more from me about children learning: Six stages of kids learning a musical instrument.

After The Playground
Follow:

10 Comments

  1. 29th March 2018 / 10:02 pm

    This was helpful to read, as my twins are Year 11 this year. (And we are expats from the US where secondary ed is done quite differently!) My oldest did GCSEs last year, which I’m afraid we kind of stumbled through not really understanding it all!! Gah! With him, it was all about kicking back at first when exams ended, then we shipped him off to stay with grandparents and friends back in the states for a few weeks (which he loved). With our twins this year, they are very different in academics and have different plans for revision: she will attend some planned sessions over the Easter break next week at school with teachers, while he will be revising at home. They just received their exam timetables this week, and their study leave starts after May 11. We obviously know better what to expect, so I think from the homefront, we are prepared. I will add that with a first year college student who is 17 years old, there is a lot of talk for the upcoming summer of doing stuff with friends, potential travel with friends, and earning some extra cash with a part time job.

    I am curious about the mention of the National Citizens Program as a couple of people mentioned in the comments. Will have to look that up. Glad to have found your blog through #farawayfiles 🙂

    • 4th April 2018 / 1:41 pm

      Thanks for your comment, I am glad you found it helpful. It is very different to the USA. It sounds like your eldest is a very young college student, but it’s nice he’s getting ideas of things to do from his friendship group.

  2. 6th March 2018 / 5:52 pm

    I am surprised that Fizz’s school hasn’t designated a time for study leave yet. I seem to remember with my eldest that his study leave started shortly after the Easter break – definitely before the May Half Term anyway. My daughter is in Year 10 and the study leave for her school’s Year 11’s is pretty similar.

    When my son finished his GCSE’s he did work experience for a week and then because he plays cricket he went on a cricket tour with the school so we didn’t have the issue with him being around and having nothing to do. He did have a summer job but if he hadn’t had cricket I wouldn’t have encouraged him to start that early. Never again will they take so many exams. It is totally exhausting and I think they earn the right to just kick back, sleep and chill for a bit. That is what I told my daughter anyway, when she moaned that it wasn’t fair!

    Good luck. It is a stressful time for all and learn by my mistake – don’t have workmen in the house when she is revising. Wait until it is all over. Thanks for joining us again and apologies for the late reply!! #TweensTeensBeyond

    • 6th March 2018 / 6:50 pm

      I think they have designated a final deadline for study leave to start. Until they’ve assessed who needs a final intervention, and timetabled all the revision classes accordingly, it’s not certain who will be let out early. I went to a meeting at school last night and it’s nearly all finalised. I’m actually impressed at how they are taylor-making the revision structures for different attitudes and abilities. Makes more sense now!

  3. 4th March 2018 / 7:51 pm

    This is interesting for me to read as my daughter is currently in Year 7. It seems a way off but as with most things, it will be here before we know it. It sounds as though it peters out rather than come to a natural end. I’ll have to remember this and also the getting things sorted and in place. It’s good to read this type of post so thanks for sharing with #tweensteensbeyond, Jan.

    • 4th March 2018 / 8:02 pm

      Yes, it does seem to peter out. They all finish at different times depending on exams then some come back for trips and others don’t. It’s all a bit vague. Glad to be able to shine a light on it for you.

  4. 1st March 2018 / 11:59 am

    I do remember it all being a bit of a scramble at that time of year. There was no problem with younger siblings though, they just all got on with their own lives until everyone was off school and we went away on holiday. I could always find some jobs around the house for bored teens! Great post about a useful teen issue, thanks so much for sharing with us at #TweensTeensBeyond

    • 1st March 2018 / 12:02 pm

      It’s a change to the usual routine and it’s easy to be thrown by it. “Scramble” is a good description!

  5. 23rd February 2018 / 5:56 pm

    So surprised the school are organising work experience when the children should be studying/revising. I’m sure my work experience was in year 10 and year 11 was all about revision and exam prep. Definitely time to travel, work and relax in the weeks before starting the next education and learning adventure. Hopefully it will be a good summer to get outdoors lots 🙂

    • 23rd February 2018 / 8:07 pm

      The work experience is supposed to be after the exams finish. The exams are running on later than expected! It’s a bit odd isn’t it? Thanks for your comment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.