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Archive for September, 2017

Is your child struggling in their new school?

Thursday, September 28th, 2017

Starting Secondary School can be fraught with worry for many children. Will I make friends? Will I cope with loads of homework? Will older children bully me? 

Often, children take to new experiences like a duck to water. Others, however, seem to sink under the weight of it all. But what are the tell-tale signs that your child is struggling?

  • Refusal to discuss school/changes the topic
  • An attitude shift from positive to negative
  • Spends far too long on homework
  • Detentions or messages from the teacher
  • Sleep disturbance, eats less or more

The truth is, because our kids don’t always share things that bother them, a situation can escalate quickly. Troubles don’t always blow over after a few weeks. There could be a real issue brewing.

How to support your child at secondary school

  1. First of all, stay calm and approachable. Anxiety around new situations is common for everyone – not just children. Conflict is part of life. Showing empathy during these rocky times can help to show your child that it can take a while to settle in a new environment.
  2. Ask open-ended questions: Asking, ‘what did you do today?’ will probably return a, ‘nothing!’ reply. Asking, ‘What was the best thing about today?‘ followed by, ‘And the worst?’ your child is more likely to open up. You might even share a tricky experience you had at school at first which was later resolved.
  3. Get them organised and stick to it: If your child is badly organised, telling them off solves nothing. Instead, get practical. Know their timetable and homework timetable – stick it to the fridge. Help them pack their bags the night before. Keep to do lists on mini white boards for each of your kids. Rub off when done!

Still having learning issues? Approaching your child’s form tutor can be a useful first step to see if they have noticed any problems too.

Finally, if your child is still struggling with a key subject and they just can’t get a handle on it, one to one tuition can make a huge difference. Get in touch with us here at 121 Home Tutors.

We’ve a wonderfully supportive private tuition team across Manchester and Cheshire ready to step in and be there…

Do you get the new GCSE grades?

Sunday, September 3rd, 2017

Have you got your head around the new 9-1 grades yet? It’s a tricky old business if you’ve got used to A*- G grades for the past 30 years! So easy to be at sixes and sevens with it all!

No wonder there has been some confusion, not least because both A and C have two numerical grades – not one. How do they break down?

9 is a super A* grade with only the top 3% of students expected to achieve it. 8 is an A*, whereas 7 translates into a lower A. 6 is a B. C is a 5 and 4. With D as a 3, E and an F as a 2, and G as a 1, it will take some time before we understand these grades back to front.

To C or not to C?

Controversy over what constitutes a C grade has hit the headlines for the past year. Originally, 5 was promoted as being a strong (more desirable) C grade pass.

Education Sec. Justice Greening then stressed that pupils needn’t resit GCSE Maths or English if they achieved grade 4 – leading to the view that 4 was now deemed a standard pass.

Whether this is understood in the wider world just yet remains to be seen. Certainly, future employers in the Manchester and Cheshire areas will need to be educated themselves about how the new system works. But let’s be positive…

Let’s embrace change

Despite all the controversy, numerical grades are here to stay. And while it is tempting to try to compare them to previous years, it is pointless to do so since the exams have changed in nature. English and Literature GCSEs are all closed book exams with no differentiated tiers.

And with Maths – though still offering higher and foundation tiers – there’s no doubt that the higher papers have much more demanding content than ever before.

And while the new exam specs are different to before, it’s better to see them as do-able challenges rather than horrible hurdles.

Your child is more than a number

As ever, it will take at least another year or two before everyone gets to grip with the new numerical system. By 2019, numerical grades will be phased in across all subjects anyway.

Ultimately, for new students just about to embark on their GCSE courses this year, it’s essential to remember that you are more than a number. If you are finding it hard to get to grips with your GCSEs, always ask for help. Of course, our team of top tutors are always on hand…