My child is becoming stressed with their GCSEs, what can I do to support them?
In the first instance tell them not to worry, there is still time left to make a lot of difference. Ideally, they need to identify what is stressing them out: is the work load?, lack of organisation?, fear of the unknown? There must be an acknowledgement that feeling under pressure is perfectly normal during examination periods. Once we have identified what is concerning them a plan of action can be put into place. This may involve a revision/homework timetable, perhaps doing less extra-curricular activities. What is important is to contact your child’s form tutor as they may be able to offer advice.
Ofqual (the government body who regulate exams) have created a guide for students on how to cope with exam pressure. The guide is really useful as it acknowledges the reality of exam pressure, but combines it with practical tips to deal with the pressure in the build up to exams and in the exam room itself. We do recommend that you sit down and read this document with your child. The link is here - Coping with exam pressure - a guide for students - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).
Finally, there are lots of ideas on the Anna Freud website to keep mental health in tip top condition.
How can my child stay motivated during their GCSEs?
Tell them to enjoy learning new things and new skills. The exams are close enough now that they can start to plan what they are going to do to celebrate the end of the examination period. Ask them to visualise the results day in August, opening the envelope and being really happy with the results. Ensure they are prepared for the next steps post-16 and what this will lead to, a top apprenticeship or a fantastic university course.
My child does not know what to do after school, is there any support in school?
Yes! The Balfour Journey includes Careers learning. This involves assemblies, work on PSHE days, visits and appointments with Leadership Group. Each student in Year 11 will have a one-to-one with a member of staff from the Careers Service. This session will offer completely impartial advice. If your child has not had their appointment and you feel they need one sooner rather than later contact Miss Watson. As the Careers’ Lead in the school she can also see any student during Form Time in the DAC. There are also a number of Careers pamphlets and books available, which your son/daughter can use as reference points.
I am worried about what my child will experience as they are growing up. Is there any advice you can give?
All students have Sex and Relationship lessons which outline potential dangers with negative relationships and more importantly how to deal with them. PHSE days are also designed to deal with other external influences such as drugs and alcohol.
Who do I need to talk to if I am worried?
Your child’s Form Tutor in the first instance.
How can I find out what changes have been made to exams to take into account disruption caused by the pandemic?
The Department for Education and the exam boards have made changes to the exams to take into account the impact of the pandemic. Geography, History and English Literature have all had content removed from the course and all subjects will be told by February 7th what content will feature in some questions in the exam papers. This is so students can focus their revision on these areas.
How do I apply to Sir Graham Balfour 6th Form and how do I find out more information about A-Level courses?
The link above takes you to the section of the school website with our virtual 6th Form Open Evening resources. As well as details from every subject we teach at A-Level at Balfour, we also give a flavour of what life in the 6th Form by outlining the wide range of enrichment and extra-curricular activities in place for our 6th Formers.
One more thing…
It is entirely normal for students to feel a wide range of emotions towards their school work at any point during their GCSEs. These feelings could range from feeling demotivated or overwhelmed to being complacent about their work. We do speak to the students about this in school and have people such as Form Tutors, a Year Head and a Student Support Manager who they can speak to about this, but if this does occur please talk to your child about their feelings and liaise with school if you feel it is necessary – we will always listen and try to help.