Many parents feel at a loss when their children enter their examination years, known in schools as Key Stage 4 (Years 10 and 11). Confused by the complicated systems of choosing subjects and courses (GCSEs, vocational GCSEs, GNVQs, BTECs, VRQs – just some of the options available), coursework, entry tiers, modular exams and practical assessments.

If you feel like this, you are not alone!

The exam system has changed greatly over the past few years and is continuing to change, therefore it sometimes feels as if it is best just to let the ‘experts’ at your child’s school get on with it. But your involvement during these crucial years can make an enormous difference – the difference between success and failure.

Parental support is eight times more important in determining a child’s academic success than social class according to The Campaign for Learning. They found that parental involvement in a child’s education can mean the difference between an A* and an ‘also-ran’ at GCSE. (TES, 10 October 2003)

And the good news is – you don’t have to be an expert in any of the subjects your child chooses to make a real difference, and you don’t have to become a ‘super-parent’ giving up your own life and responsibilities – you just need to know how best to spend the time you do have, at each stage of the process. This might mean focusing on the exact areas where your child requires further support in their studies, or to cover the gaps that will impact on their results.

So how do you identify what these are?

Your child’s teachers will be able to impart information about overview as to what these are however obtaining a detailed debrief is very useful. 2KickStartU’s maths and English assessments provide a granular and transparent information.

Not only this, but preparing your child for the exam situation is as important as them knowing their stuff; you want to be confident that your child will perform well rather than risking their nerves getting the better of them and having them shut down during the exam.

2KickStartU provides exam preparation and revision techniques providing a complete solution to getting your child ready for their exams.

Isn’t it the schools’ job to get them through their exams?

Yes, of course the school has an important role to play and can provide the expertise and resources to help your child acquire the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to do their best in each subject, however we need to remember that your child is one of many that the school needs to support.

There will be many new expectations of your child in Years 10 and 11 – expectations which for many children, even the very brightest, are hard to meet.

New demands on your child are likely to include:

• Being more self-motivated and taking more responsibility for their own learning – this can be a big change from earlier years, with most teachers viewing it as the pupil’s responsibility to attend and make the most of lessons once they get to Year 10.

• Asking when they do not understand. (This requires confidence and can be difficult at a time when friends’ opinions hold such sway.)

• Developing their abilities to overcome frustrations, and strategies for persisting when they are learning material that they find challenging.

• Organising themselves, notes, handouts and information for different subjects, and different topics within these.

• Completing more work at home, independently.

• Organising and planning their time over longer periods, for example to complete a coursework project.

• Understanding the exam structure and the relative importance of each piece of work to their final grade.

• Planning and carrying out their revision.

• Perfecting their ‘exam technique’.

2KickStartU can provide you with the peace of mind that your child is being supported to help with these demands.

The cost of failure vs the cost of tuition

Whilst paying for tuition may seem to be an unnecessary cost, one must ask the question; what about the price of failure? For £15 a week, your child can reap the benefits of tuition to prepare them for examinations. When a child fails their examination there are many things they can do to help phase the next phase of their lives, but the sore fact remains within them that they failed.

Perhaps the hardest demand on Year 10 and 11 pupils is that of understanding the long-term importance of doing the best they can, and learning to shelve short-term fun at times in the interest of long-term benefits (not easy even for adults). Unfortunately for us, from the teenage perspective, interest and effort in education and the long-term benefits these can bring often come rather a long way down the priority list, after friendships, the ‘right’ clothes, social life, romantic concerns and hobbies. 2KickStartU tuition centre can help provide your child with the structure they require to achieve a good balance.

In addition, children will differ in their levels of maturity, their ability to take responsibility for their learning, organisational skills and levels of motivation. And this is where we come in. Our support, encouragement and interest can make a spectacular difference to your child’s motivation and ability to cope with the academic and organisational demands of the exam years.

When you, your child’s school and we work in partnership, you can be sure that your child will achieve the best results possible.

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