Top tips on how to help your child get through their GCSEs

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We’re coming to that time of year again where children in Year 11 (and some in Year 10) are preparing to take their GCSE exams. As parents, we are often torn between wanting to see our children do well and achieve grades to the best of their ability, and fretting about this great burden we place on them to do well in a series of exams that can often seem like an endurance event in itself.

Parental support is incredibly important when determining a child’s academic success. In fact, it is several times more important than social class. Many parents panic at this thought, worried that they don’t know the subjects their child is being tested on but the good news is that you don’t need to be an expert in any of the subjects in order to make a valuable difference to your child’s results.

Parental support, encouragement and just showing an interest can all make a marked difference to a child’s levels of motivation and confidence when it comes to taking exams, as well as their ability to cope with the pressure and organisational demands of the exam period.

Here are a few top tips to help your child to get through their GCSEs.

General tips for supporting your child:

●    Make an agreement with your child at the outset, as to the balance between working and socialising; don’t wait until they’ve been invited to a party or event before trying to discuss it. If you’ve already agreed that they need to do X amount of study, or can have X days/nights out during their study/exam period, any request to go to parties or on trips can be put against the initial agreement. Having said that, try to remain flexible. If your child is desperate to go to the party of the year then an outright refusal will not do you any favours! Work out a plan together to ensure their studies don’t suffer if they really want to go.
●    Many children will find it hard to delay short-term fun in favour of achieving the long-term goal of passing their GCSE exams. While they should still be allowed to let off steam, it’s important that parents help their children to bear their long-term goals in mind.
●    Avoid berating or threatening your child, even if you feel they’ve been slacking off or are not working hard enough. The pressures of exam season can show in many different ways and often when children feel overwhelmed and demotivated they down tools. Try to talk to them about what is bothering them, acknowledge how they feel and reassure them that they will always have your full support.
●    Teenagers can often have an all or nothing attitude, where if they feel they’ve done badly on one essay or exam “I may as well just give up on everything now!” Try to help them to maintain a sensible perspective and avoid catastrophising.
●    Expect your child to push their boundaries as exam stress increases – and avoid rising to the bait. You don’t need to let them get away with anything they like, but pick your battles carefully.
●    Chat about the exams, how they will work, how long they will last and so on. Talk about what might be the main topics that come up and how they feel about them. Don’t push the conversation though; if your child has been revising all day they might not want to talk about exams at all.
●    Be involved in the revision process – but also know when to take a step back. Your child will not appreciate feeling that you are looking over their shoulder all the time.
●    Make sure other members of the household are aware that your child is studying for and taking exams, and that they understand they might be a little moody or difficult at times.
●    If your child is anxious in an exam environment, look at simple relaxation techniques that could help to calm them down.

Practical help you can offer:
●    Buy new stationery, revision cards and highlighters to help make the revision process more interesting and engaging
●    Offer to ask questions or listen as they go through their notes
●    Make sure your child has all the essential books and materials. It might be that there’s a revision guide or notes on a play or novel that will really help them.
●    Time your child’s attempts at practice papers
●    Make sure there are plenty of healthy, nutritious snacks in the kitchen for study breaks

What about bribes and treats?
Many parents are tempted to promise their child all sorts of treats and gifts if they achieve good grades but this is generally a bad idea. Bribery implies that getting a good grade on an exam is not reward enough, and also might give the impression that you don’t trust your child to work hard and do their best without the promise of reward. Negative messages like this can affect your child’s sense of self worth.

Instead, talk with your child about why it is important to do well in their GCSEs, and encourage them to be proud of their achievements.  Make sure they know you are proud of the effort they are putting in, regardless of what their grades might be at the end of it.

These days our children take SATs from a young age, and many schools have annual exams every summer too. Still, GCSEs are the first time they will have such a pressure on them to get good grades so as to move on to the next stage of their academic career. As parents it is vitally important that we support our children as much as possible, to help them through what can be a very stressful time. Your support can help your child to revise well, to cope well and to perform well in exams. As well as this, knowing they have their parents’ support regardless of their grades can help a child to feel more grounded and confident in general and this in itself can work wonders in an exam environment. Never underestimate the positive effect your support can have on your child’s achievements.


Marketing & Admissions Conference

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Creating Mindset for Growth

Thursday 6th October

Frensham Heights School



book now early bird price £175

Mindset is everything. If that statement seems too strong, consider that we bring these basic assumptions to every decision and action we make. Perception may not truly be reality, but when it comes to how we approach challenges and opportunities, mindset determines the world we encounter. Achieving success requires us to examine our assumptions in different contexts—testing, challenging and refining.

If you are interested in new challenges and want to learn from top keynote business speakers and marketing professionals making a difference in their schools, or to attend workshops by marketing  specialists and experts in their field then book now for our 6th annual Marketing and Admissions Conference.

We have a plethora of expertise on hand offering you a mix of keynote presentations and workshops you can choose from so that each individual can tailor their day to suit them.

This year we are also delighted to be holding our conference in the beautiful surroundings of Frensham Heights School in Farnham Surrey where their motto of think, create explore resonates with our conference theme.

Choosing a school for a child with special educational needs

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Choosing a special needs school for your child is one of the most important decisions you will have to make and anything you can do to narrow down your search and make a shortlist of schools to compare will be very helpful.

There are a huge range of special needs schools in the UK including independent day and boarding schools, specialising in specific needs, such as Autism, ADHD, Asperger’s Syndrome and physical disabilities, as well as schools for Dyslexic children. There are also mainstream independent schools offering superb educational support for children with all sorts of specific primary and secondary needs.

A boarding school can be a great choice if your child requires a special needs school. The continuous cooperation between the school, educators, boarding house staff and students enables a perfect symbiosis in efforts to achieve success in learning and happy students.

The internet has brought us so much information that sometimes it can be a daunting task to shortlist and compare schools. School comparison websites can provide an easy way to narrow down your search, especially if you are looking for something specific e.g. schools for dyslexic children. A good website will let you search for a school by specific needs and requirements and display the shortlisted schools side-by-side to compare and contrast, making at least part of the process quick and easy.

Every child is unique and you will find a school that suits your unique child within the independent sector. For more information on special needs click hereSEN

Could you pass the 11-Plus?

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In 1964 there were 1,298 state funded Grammar Schools with 25% of secondary school pupils attending them.  Last year there were 163 grammar schools with only 5.1% of pupils.  Has the 11-plus got harder?  Have a go at this test and decide.


Introduction to Digital Marketing & Admissions

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Whatever your role in your School or College, whether you are a Teacher, Marketing & Admissions Manager, member of the Senior Management Team or Governor, if your responsibilities include marketing, communications, PR and admissions and you are new or relatively new to using digital channels and platforms – this course is for you!

This 1-day seminar has been designed to provide a comprehensive overview of all the key aspects of digital education marketing and admissions which should be at the centre of your institution’s strategy.

By attending the course you will gain insight and understanding in how to recruit pupils/students and to engage prospective parents, agents and influencers more effectively online, with an integrated, strategic approach.


Essential Professional & Personal Development Training, Introducing:

  • Getting your web presence right, with navigation and ‘Content Management’ techniques.
  • Key functionality… News Feeds (RSS), Forms, Website ‘Adverts’, Liking, Sharing, Bookmarking etc.
  • Winning with Google & Bing – using ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ (SEO) to improve your search engine ranking.
  • Online Advertising with Google, Facebook and LinkedIn, and with online directories and guides.
  • Why Multimedia works – using photographs (Flickr), audio (Sound Cloud, iTunes) and video (YouTube, Vimeo).
  • Social Media & Professional networking with Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest etc.
  • Monitoring, analysis and statistics for review, improvement and reporting (Google Analytics, Facebook Insights).

Book Now

Google Analytics

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Most schools and colleges use an analytical system to provide detailed statistics about their website and social media’s traffic, traffic sources, conversions etc.but despite such systems being in place for many years, few staff really understand how to use their analytics for better communications and higher conversion rates (from pupil/student recruitment and admissions to day to day communications with the wider community to alumni relations).

Without regular evaluation and assessment there will be inefficiency, lost opportunity and poor return on the time and resources invested.

To learn how to make the most of Google Analytics attend our one day, hands-on seminar in Central London on 24th June 2015.  Book before Friday 12th June to get a 20% discount.

School Comparison – “simples”

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family choosing a school

Today’s parents are searching for schools in more innovative ways; using laptops, ipads and smart phones, very often on the move, to find, compare and contact schools they are interested in.  As technology advances, web users expect to be able to find all the information they need in one place and be able to sort and compare facts and figures quickly and easily.  For this reason there’s a growing trend for all kinds of enterprises to promote themselves to a global audience on comparison websites.

In a recent Moneywise survey a staggering 90% of consumers said they use comparison websites either ‘always’ or ‘some of the time’ when searching for financial products.  Choosing a school is never going to be as easy as choosing a mortgage and neither should it be, but it is a considerable financial investment and a wise parent will want to make an informed decision, comparing everything that similar schools have to offer.

A comparison website is no doubt an invaluable marketing channel for helping all schools engage with and attract new pupils.  Smaller niche schools that might otherwise not be found online are suddenly much more visible when part of an aggregation. Parents can find out what schools offer, compare fees, facilities, subjects, pupil numbers, academic success or whatever features are important to them and their child and tailor a shortlist of suitable schools to contact and visit.  Parents that visit your school after being referred by a comparison website are already in possession of all the facts and have chosen to visit your school rather than a competitor, so they are very likely to give you your next new admission.

We are all busy and anything that saves us time is welcome.  Searching for a school can be time consuming and daunting and this is exacerbated when a child has very specific requirements or special educational needs.  As technology advances parents will increasingly expect the information they need from you to be all in one place, in a simple format, at the touch of a button or swipe of a finger and they’ll want to compare what’s on offer side-by side.  Comparison websites are the way forward for smart parents to find and compare independent schools and schools would be wise to make sure they can be both found and compared.