Academic Parenting
 

Academic Parenting Years 7-11

As a parent of a child at QEHS you will share their aspirations for the future and be working with them to help them to achieve all that they are capable of. However, adolescence has its challenges; not least finding a balance between their leisure pursuits and working for their long term goals. This document is intended to support you as parents so that you in turn can give good guidance for academic study through a process we have called ‘Academic Parenting’.

Getting into good habits from the start

We encourage students throughout the school to read widely. The Accelerated Reader programme in Year 7 and Year 8 enables students to select books and then check their understanding of them by way of online quizzes. Many of our students read millions of words and receive certificates. If your child is not engaging with this you may like to explore with them why this is.

The school planner is an effective tool for organisation and communication between school and home and must be brought to school every day.

Students need a quiet space in which to work and should settle to study for about an hour each evening in Years 7-9, increasing in the GCSE years. Healthy eating and sleeping patterns are very important. As children get older they should manage this more independently, but with so many things to do they can easily fall into unhealthy habits and you will need to help them develop healthy routines.

Homework

Discuss with your child where and when they will do their homework, taking other commitments such as Scouts, music lessons etc. into account.

Ideally, your child will need a place where they can work undisturbed and keep their books.

Encourage, support and help your child with homework tasks but please do not do it for them.  Subject teachers need to know what each student can do unaided.

At regular intervals, please ask to see pieces of completed homework. If you are unhappy with what your child has produced (it’s very brief, scruffy etc.) simply ask them “Is this your very best effort?”.  If they answer “no”, you could discuss with them how it could be improved, they may want to have another attempt.  If the answer is “yes”, let it go and ask later what mark they got for the task and then discuss future improvements.  However, if your child is a perfectionist you may need to ask a different question as they will rarely be happy with an outcome.

The highest achieving students get into studious habits early on, whereby they set aside regular time for study on top of the work they have been directed to do. Reading around a subject, going over class notes, learning the material in the Knowledge Book and so on, all contribute to the development of their knowledge, skills and understanding and should be encouraged right from Year 7.

Getting support with study

As a parent we would like you to be well-informed about the mechanisms we have available for supporting good progress so that you can discuss them with your child and call your child’s Form Tutor if you want to know more.

All subjects now have Lead Learners, who make themselves available during lunchtimes for academic support. For a list of which subjects are available and when, please see here.

Year 8 students support Year 7 and also senior students within a House often mentor younger students who are having more general issues such as organisation and preparing for tests.

Subject teachers have small group mentoring sessions on Mondays and Thursdays from 13.30 to 13.45. Students can refer themselves into these sessions if they would like some help.

Some subjects can also sometimes offer after school revision or tuition sessions which your child may hear about.

At Easter we usually offer revision sessions for Year 11 students and information will be sent out via ParentMail for this.

The Library is open after school on a Monday to Thursday until 17.00. Students can use this facility to complete work and there is a member of staff available who can offer guidance.

There is also a more formal supervised session after school on Mondays to Thursdays which we call prep. Students are booked into this through discussion and are supervised by members of the Leadership Team. This is most beneficial for members of Year 10 and Year 11 who are finding it hard to have the self-discipline required to study independently.

Communications

If you have any questions or information to communicate then your child’s planner is a good mechanism for this. Please remind your child to show your comment to the relevant teacher as soon as they get chance. Alternatively you could telephone or email the SchoolOffice in order to communicate with a member of staff.

Most communication from school is sent via ParentMail. However, individual student information such as engagement grades and reports, will be given to students as a paper copy to take home. Please make sure you know when this information is due.

Meeting subject teachers once a year at Parents’ Evenings is an important way in which you can support the well-being and progress of your child so please prioritise them and be sure to attend. Your child should normally attend with you so that an open and productive discussion about progress can be had. Unfortunately the logistics of Parents’ Evenings means that you will not be able to see all of the teachers, so please agree with your child which subjects you should prioritise. It might not always be English and Maths.

Years 10 and 11

During the GCSE years the workload increases and students can find it difficult to manage their time and need more support and direction from you.

In Year 10, applying themselves conscientiously to the homework that has been set and preparing thoroughly for assessments should be enough to secure good progress but the very highest achievers will go beyond this throughout the course. Exams at the end of Year 10 are very strong predictors for GCSE performance and commitment to sustained study in each subject is vital at this point. They may want to study whilst listening to music but some studies show that this is often unhelpful as they cannot retrieve the information they need without the aural stimulus, which of course, they cannot have in exams. You can help your child check if their study has been effective. We encourage short (20-30 minutes) blocks of absolute focus and students are given a great deal of guidance for this study on the shared area of the school network:

W drive – Faculties and Subjects

From September of Year 11, students should take about one hour a night, on top of homework, to review material they have been taught previously as a build up to mock exams in November and December. From January this should increase to one hour per subject per week.

If at any time you are struggling to motivate your child during this challenging period of study, please contact your child’s Form Tutor. On the other hand, if your child is studying so much you are concerned about their welfare, please get in touch.

GCSE Exams

  • Keep the exam timetable on the fridge door so you know what is happening each day.
  • Encourage your child to get a good night's sleep, rather than cramming the night before.
  • Ensure your child has a good breakfast, even if they usually do not, with a drink.
  • Make sure they have the right equipment for their exam.
  • Remember to wish them well.

Mrs Watson

February 2019

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