Waitaki Boys’ High School has taken a collaborative approach to “alleviate the stress” of exams after lockdown.

The Oamaru secondary school hosted holiday classes during the recent Term 3 break, helping year 11 to 13 pupils to catch up or prepare for upcoming “benchmark” exams.

The NCEA internal exams, usually held before the Term 3 holidays, had been delayed due to Covid-19 and would be held later this month.

Waitaki Boys’ assistant rector Aisea Fifita said “mock exams” were more important than ever, as there was a possibility external exams may not go ahead due Covid-19 uncertainty.

“If this happens, the mock exam marks will become the derived grade for students.” Mr Fifita said.

“Momentum can be difficult to maintain over the holiday period, so these classes helped students to focus on preparing for the exams starting directly after the holidays,” Mr Fifita said.

Holiday classes included art, maths, agriculture, music and science subjects, and were based on achievement standards, covering past exam questions, and including tips for preparing for grades from achieved to excellence.

The classes attracted a “good number” of pupils, and the school received positive feedback from parents and pupils about the assistance and motivation provided, he said.

Waitaki Boys’ teachers had previously given up their weekends to host tutorial classes, but this year’s classes were the first time teachers worked collaboratively on extra classes.

“This has been an excellent opportunity for our students and I appreciate the extra hours that teachers have donated to running these classes. I feel it is a positive programme for our students and has helped alleviate the stress some of them have felt around preparing for these exams over the holiday period.”

Mr Fifita said Waitaki Boys’ would look at holding holiday classes again in the future.