Ilfracombe Academy has appealed to employers to help students struggling to juggle GCSE and A level exams with paid work.

In a letter to local businesses, headteacher Sharon Marshall asked them to help students through next week’s mock exams and revision in the new year leading up to final examinations in May.

The school sent out a similar letter last year and Mrs Marshall said employers had responded well, allowing young staff to revise during quiet periods and asking for exam timetables so they could reduce their hours during that period.

The letter said: “We would ask for your support in ensuring students who are working whilst also studying for important examinations are getting the balance right between paid employment and studying, and they are not working too many hours.

“We have noticed with some students that they are not always able to manage the demands of both well, especially as the busy season locally… coincides with the revision period.”

Mrs Marshall told the Gazette the issue had not become more of a problem than it had been, but the newer style of exams were more demanding, with everything riding on the final exams only, much like the old O levels.

She said: “We know that part time work teaches children about the world of work and to manage their money, but they also need the time to revise and invest in their long-term futures.

“The new exams require a great deal more revision because students have to retain more knowledge over an extended period of time.

“We just want to make employers aware that students are going to be under more pressure and do not want them to be overwhelmed with the pressures of that alongside new GCSEs.”

Mrs Marshall thanked local businesses for their support so far, adding: “We had a really positive response to it from employers, they were very understanding last year and we hope they will be again.”

“Our local employers support us to the hilt and give our children so many opportunities.”

The letter also thanked all those businesses involved in work experience, careers guidance and preparation for working life, for contributing to an essential area of education.