Why We Parents Need Guidance On Revision And Exams

08/05/2017 12:31

KS2 or SATs exams are now at hand and, with the new revisions to GCSEs not far away too, exams seem to be more under scrutiny than ever this year.

KS2 SATs tests are taken by children at the end of Year 6 when they are 10-11 years old, and elicit all manner of responses from parents: fear of your child being labelled wrongly; concern that they're under too much pressure at too early an age and even, that this is primarily about the National Curriculum assessment programme to collate data and insight.

This year, exams seem to be particularly under the microscope. Not only is it a political issue but mostly regarded as a harbinger of unnecessary stress for children, who, we read, are more likely to struggle with mental health issues than we were.

A piece in The Telegraph recently cited Dr Richard Graham, a child and adolescent consultant psychiatrist at the Nightingale Capio Hospital, who says this is a growing phenomenon: "Anxiety around school and university has always been there, but it's rising. The pressure to keep attaining is growing in young people and the student population."

Girls are particularly susceptible with pressure piled on further about their weight, their looks and their Instagram profiles.

Yet, it seems exams are here to stay: this year sees the arrival of new GCSEs, created to be more challenging and thus segregate children further with less likely to achieve the top grades.

Rightly or wrongly, our children need to knuckle down. But as parents, we too need help to guide our children appropriately.

However, it feels like there's nowhere to turn: schools have their own problems struggling with increased bureaucracy and have a conflict of interest driven by league tables; tutors are incredibly expensive; the new curriculum is way more complicated than when we were at school and yes, even us grown-ups are as likely to feel peer pressure like our children! Are you really going to admit your child needs extra help at the school gates?

No wonder we feel disempowered.

We need to be able to understand the curriculum at a top level, what revision is recommended and what tools are valuable when.

While I created schoolexams.co.uk to democratise education and ensure all children could get extra affordable help, it's also designed for children to understand exam methodology. Not all students are able to regurgitate their knowledge in the format necessary.

Most parents can help create a revision timetable and advise on common mistakes like time management, not ticking the correct number of boxes, copying numbers wrongly or misreading instructions, but our children need to understand technique and what's useful - nothing beats using downloadable papers and video tutorials to recreate exam conditions and 'flex that specific muscle'.
This is the revision help they need here and now. I hope we can be of help.

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