Lower price for our Study Skills download

With exams fast approaching, we are determined that you should be studying smarter, not harder! So we have reduced the price of our Study Skills and Strategies for GCSEs and A Levels download by 30% to just £45.

The two-hour video is packed full of tips, strategies and ideas to help learning and revising more effective.

Find out more here.

By |2024-04-15T09:17:35+01:00April 15th, 2024|Course news, Homepage featured, Latest news|0 Comments

Dealing with back-to-school anxiety

Anxiety over going back to school can affect both parents and children and this year, as with last year, returning to school while Covid is still with us could be particularly stressful. 

While as a parent you are managing practicalities such as school uniform, the household, the logistics of school runs and work commitments, the feelings of nervousness and anxiety that build up in some children can sometimes be overlooked.

After a long summer break children have become accustomed to lazy mornings, treats and a lack of routine. They may have several worries around returning to school: being away from you, having new teachers, being able to keep up with the work and anxieties around relationships with friends. They might also be anxious about mixing with a large group of people and due to Covid.

Support your child in the run-up to school

Have an informal chat with your child about whether they are looking forward to going back to school. They may say no because they just prefer holidays – you needn’t put the idea in their head that there is something to worry about!

If they have any worries, listen and offer empathy and support; talk about what is concerning them, and think of solutions together about how they could manage situations. Focus on the positive aspects of school, providing encouragement and getting them to talk about the things they like about the school day. You could ask your child to write a list of what they are looking forward to going back to school.

Build confidence

Key to helping children feel at ease about starting their new school year is to build their confidence by offering specific praise and, most importantly, being a great listener. When children know they can share their worries, and their parents will listen, they go to school with the parents’ calm, steady voice in their heads feeling reassured.

Remember that what might feel trivial to you, may be a big worry for your child, so be careful not to dismiss worries. It’s also ok to be sad that the summer is ending and ok for you to say that you are sad about it too.

For primary-school-aged children, have short, relaxed chats about positive memories of school – when a teacher was especially kind, fun things they have done with friends – so that they remember that school is a positive experience.

Look after the basics

Getting back into a routine can make a huge difference to your child’s anxiety. Ensure they are getting enough sleep and returning to term-time sleep patterns. Go back to regular healthy eating schedules and include physical exercise so that they sleep well.

Get ready together

Make fun jobs of getting ready for school together – prepare by organising equipment, stationery, lunch and school bag.

If school has informed you about changes to the school day – handwashing, bubbles, drop off and pick up instructions and other Covid arrangements – make sure you pass these on to your child so that they know what to expect and what will be different to last year. Unknowns can be scarier than knowns.

One lovely suggestion on those first days back is to give your child a little reminder that you are thinking of them. This might be a sticker or toy in their lunchbox, but our favourite idea is to draw something very simple on your child’s wrist or the back of their hand – perhaps a smiley face or even just a coloured dot – to remind them you are ‘with’ them through the day.

Once school has started

Give your child time and space to talk about their school day and any worries. This may always seem to happen at bedtime which can be frustrating but it’s important to listen.

If your child is going to a new school, be prepared for it to take some weeks for them to settle in – and bear in mind that most children are happy as soon as they are out of your sight and with their friends!

When to take it further

If your talks bring to light serious concerns about bullying or worries about inappropriate behaviour from fellow pupils, follow this up with the school.

Lastly, if you are worried that your child is more anxious than is normal and this persists after returning to school, consider talking to school or your GP about getting help. If your concerns are around how they learn and this is causing anxiety, speak to the teacher, and check our website for advice on getting your child diagnosed with Specific Learning Differences (SpLDs).

Useful links

www.nhs.uk/every-mind-matters/coronavirus/going-back-to-school-or-college/

www.priorygroup.com/blog/managing-children-s-fears-around-returning-to-school – this is a useful video that was recorded for the 2020 return

www.place2be.org.uk

www.youngminds.org.uk

www.anxietyuk.org.uk

www.mentalhealth.org.uk

By |2022-12-08T15:22:47+00:00August 25th, 2022|Team blog|0 Comments

Revision tips for effective learning

This is the time of year when revision takes priority over many other activities for students whose exams are fast approaching. The key is to study smarter, not harder (or longer). Here we look at a few revision tips.

Get organised

Decide where and when you are going to revise. Pick a quiet space and make sure you have all the equipment and books you need. Some people prefer to study with others around as it can help with discipline but chose a space alone if that would distract you. It’s most helpful if you leave your phone in another room.

Plan your revision

Devise a revision plan working backwards from your exam dates. Use a checklist of each subject’s topics so that you can cross them off and make sure you have covered everything.

When making your plan, be realistic. You won’t benefit from revising for eight straight hours a day or all evening after school or college. Aim for around four sessions of 20 to 30 minutes in an evening and perhaps six to eight if you have all day.

Each session should cover a different topic to keep you fresh. Before you start, have a clear idea of what you are going to study during each session. Plan in breaks – most of five to ten minutes, with longer breaks so that you can do something nice.

Time your sessions

Using the Pomodoro technique can help you stay motivated and focussed. Each 25-minute session is timed using an alarm clock or kitchen timer. It’s 25 minutes because that’s the optimum time to concentrate and not get distracted. Use a couple of minutes at the start of each session to get ready and use the last five minutes to review what you have learnt. Most effective learning happens at the beginning and the end of a session so short sessions mean lots of beginnings and endings! See more about the Pomodoro technique here.

Use a variety of learning techniques

We all have ways of learning that work better for us but using a variety is helpful too. During each short revision session:

  • Before reading, take an overview of the material – by reading titles, the introduction, the beginning and the end of paragraphs and the conclusion. This primes your brain about the topic before you start reading in depth.
  • Revision by just reading, highlighting or copying notes, is not as effective as testing your knowledge.
  • To test yourself you could:

– build a mind map where you do a ‘brain dump’

– use cue cards to answer questions

– explain a concept, using your own words, to someone else.

  • If you write, draw, use colour, speak out loud and use gestures, the information is made more memorable and more easily retrievable. Rather like routes to a destination, the more roads there are, and the more times they are driven, the easier it is to get there.

Regular testing sticks – the Leitner system

The Leitner system is an efficient way to test yourself using cue cards, monitor your progress and focus on what you find tricky. Cue cards are reviewed at intervals and this repetition is both effective and rewarding. Written down, the system seems quite fiddly so it is worth watching a video on the system. This one is easy to follow.

Look after yourself

Most important, when you are preparing for exams, is to look after yourself. Take time to:

  • Sleep for long enough each day.
  • Eat well.
  • Drink lots of water. Your brain is 75-80 per cent water. Being even slightly dehydrated affects its function!
  • Take exercise and get out of the house.
  • See friends and have fun.

Good luck!

By |2022-12-08T15:15:33+00:00May 8th, 2022|Team blog|0 Comments

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