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High demand for repeat school years

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By Fiona Reid
High demand for repeat school years

REQUESTS for young people to be able to repeat school years shot up by 275 per cent in the region this year.

Dumfries and Galloway Council usually receive between 10-15 such requests every year but this year it has jumped to 45.

Of those, 13 came from families in Annandale and Eskdale; 11 in Wigtownshire; ten from the Stewartry; seven from Nithsdale; and four from Upper Nithsdale.

And 40 of them were agreed by a local authority panel, while two were ultimately withdrawn.

Councillors will discuss the issue further at the education committee next week.

A report for that meeting breaks down the requests into year groups and reveals the majority are for children in P1, P2 and P7 but the biggest demand (29 per cent) is for S6, with lack of transition experience flagged up as a key issue.

Explaining more, education officials Alastair Young and Jim Brown said: “The pandemic has had an impact on the number of requests by families and young people to repeat years. Last year 12 requests were received so this year’s figure has increased by 275 per cent.

“The local authority does not usually receive any requests for repeat S6 years, but 13 have been requested this session.”

Meanwhile, councillors are also set to discuss education recovery plans for the area.

They have been told that the cumulative effect and impact of school closures on the learning and experiences of young people has been “considerable”.

Mr Brown and Mr Young’s report says: “It is important to note as young people return to schools and nurseries that there is a risk to their emotional and mental wellbeing through an unintentionally reinforced reference to processes and approaches that focus on the need to ‘catch up’. This could have the effect of inadvertently adding to their anxieties and uncertainties.

“It is important to adopt a more positive approach to help support young people and their families to understand where they are in their learning.”

Schools in Dumfries and Galloway are following the Rainbow Recovery curriculum, as well as other local authority and nationally produced support materials.

The focus is on “incremental steps towards recovery” in relation to health and well-being, mental health, the curriculum, learning, teaching and assessment.

Literacy and numeracy are seen as particularly important and for senior students there is additional focus on learning and teaching necessary for SQA accredited courses and assessment.

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