Writing: J Morley and A Arszulowicz (Current students)
Starting Key Stage 4 is an important jump and adjusting to the new work levels is vital. The work students start in Year 10 and continue up to study leave in May of Year 11 all plays a role in the completion of their GCSEs.
I will be the first to admit that my work ethic during the first year and a half of the GCSE course was far below what was expected of me. After minimal effort, I received my mock results - I saw this as a major wake-up call. I decided to reduce my social life and invest far more time into my revision. Thankfully it was a success. I managed a 20-point increase from my mock results and both me and my family were elated.
As much as I am proud of my improvement I have taken some lifelong lessons from GCSEs. For years I told myself that I was simply not good enough to achieve good grades, which was far from the truth. I simply used this as an excuse not to work. I always wonder what I could have done if I’d worked harder, earlier. And that is always what I tell students who are in the situation I was previously in. Just 30 minutes extra every couple of days can boost a student’s learning massively. It all eventually adds up and your sons will complete their exams stress-free of the fact that they may not achieve all they want to. Instead they’ll get the best grades they are capable of.
The golden question; what can you do as parents? Well, quite a lot. Of course you shouldn’t do your son's homework for them or give them cheat sheets for exams, but you should definitely give them space and independence while remaining supportive. Don’t cut off your son's social life and hobbies; don’t stop them from going outside and don’t force them into a chair to revise for 6 hours a day. Set some restrictions, of course. For example if you feel your son spends too long in front of the computer, don’t take it away completely, but work together to reduce this time. I promise you that making your son into a revision robot will do as much good as not revising at all, and it’ll come back to bite both of you sooner or later.