Ask Sam letter


To Sam

missing my gcse

ive recently discovered that my family have booked at holiday during school term, i will be missing 3 days of school. wednesday to friday, but on the friday i have an english literature exam. Im confused abiut what can be done, because my parents dont want to cancel the holiday, but if i miss my exam will it be classed as a fail? i have been getting A* in my coursework and mocks and im concerned that all of my hard work will go to waste, i need help
Ask Sam


Hi there,

Exams can be a really stressful time, especially when you’ve got things happening that are out of your control.

One of the hardest parts of having your exams is that the stress of everything else around you often doesn’t go away. It’s important to remember that exams are always meant to be fair. This means that if someone is being affected by something beyond their control then they can be given special consideration.

Special consideration is when the examination board takes your circumstances into account to make sure that you’re being treated fairly. Getting special consideration doesn’t mean that you’re not good enough or that you’re cheating. But it’s there to make sure your results aren’t affected by things out of your control.

Every situation is different. So sometimes they will be willing to give you special consideration and sometimes they won’t. The important thing to remember is that if the school doesn’t know what’s happening then they can’t support you. So it's important to talk to your school about what's happening.

You are sometimes able to get special consideration if something stops you attending an exam. But it might not always be possible for a holiday. In your case it would be important to make it clear you want to be here for the exam, but your parents are not making that possible.

To get special consideration you need to speak to a teacher, and then the examination officer in your school would need to speak to the examination board. If you’re given it then it can mean that you’ll get extra support in the exam, a chance to reschedule it or even just have them be aware of what’s going on when they’re marking your paper.

It can feel really disappointing not being able to go on holiday. But you could agree to stay somewhere safe like a friend’s or family member’s house. This will mean that you won’t have to miss the exam and lose the hard work you’ve put into it.

Our page on asking an adult for help has loads of good advice on how you could approach your teachers when you’re worried about what’s happening. Part of your parents' responsibility for you is making sure that you’re able to go to things like your exams. It shows a lot of maturity that you’re trying to sort this out but remember that you shouldn’t ever have to deal with all of this by yourself.

Remember that you can talk to a ChildLine counsellor any time about what’s happening to talk about how you feel and to think about what might be best to do.

Take care,

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