Help your child

How to help your child at secondary school

Your child will need to be more organised at secondary school than he or she was at primary school. The start of the day can be a rush for everyone and so here are a few tips to help establish a routine which may help to avoid difficulties and stress!

  • Encourage your child to pack their school bag before going to bed in the evening*
  • Try to make sure your child eats breakfast – this provides energy and helps performance at school
  • Allow plenty of time for the journey to school so your child is always on time
  • Check each evening for letters home or messages in the contact book

    *Reminder: Please ensure that you son/daughter always brings their kit into school on PE days. Students are expected to be in full kit at all times, including socks and trainers. Detentions will be issued for anyone without full kit. If your son/daughter has a note to be excused from PE they must change into kit for the lesson although not actively taking part.

Helping with homework:
Your child will be working more independently now, but he or she will still need your interest and input in order to achieve.

  • Talk to your child about school, lessons and homework. Try to make this a two way conversation so he or she is sharing experiences with you.
  • Talk about homework set, this should have been recorded in the contact book. If they have no homework written in for that day, maybe your child forgot to write it down. Always ask!
  • Help them to ensure that deadlines are met.

Please do not do the homework for your child, just be there to help and encourage!

Homework Guide: 10 Tips

  1. Don’t try to turn home into school. A supportive home environment has it’s own unique role in the education of your child. Draw on the strengths a comfortable and familiar environment can provide. You are not teachers and you don’t have to be.
  2. Know what is expected. Make sure you and your child know exactly what homework needs to be done and when the deadlines are.
  3. Whose homework is it? Encourage your child to take control of the work, don’t do it for them.
  4. Show that you are interested in learning not just homework. You will be more effective in supporting your child’s studies if they are used to talking with you about ideas and issues outside of a homework context.
  5. Big picture motivation. Try and help your child see the long-term value of the work they are doing. What skills are they developing? How will those skills help them in future life?
  6. Time to study. Help your child organise their time. There is no point trying to study at the wrong time. Everyone has particular times during a day or a week when they are better able to focus.
  7. Critical thinking. Encourage your child to look beyond the obvious, why has something been written? By who? For what purpose? Is this an appropriate source of information?
  8. Structure and planning. Help your child organise their work by encouraging them to plan – what is the project actually asking you to do? What is the best way to approach it?
  9. Encourage research. Support your child in gathering relevant information from books and the internet (try and avoid Wikipedia!), show an interest in what they have discovered, ask them questions. Check with teachers that appropriate sources are being used.
  10. There are no magic wands! Your child is unique and there are no rules that work like magic for every child. Be prepared to adapt suggestions to your own situation. Remember, you know your child best of all!

If you have any questions or comments relating to supporting your child/children at home with homework then please contact us at school or by email.

Other ways to help:
Your child should be reading at home. It may be fiction, non-fiction, a magazine or newspaper.  Whatever the reading material, talk about what he or she has read, not only will it show an interest, it will help you to see that your child has understood the text.

Useful Websites

BBC Learning Parents – Support Your Child’s Education:

Effects of Video Games on Children

The first video game was created in 1958 and was called “Tennis for Two”. Every year since, has seen video games become ever more popular among children and parents and carers become increasingly worried about the consequences of these games on their children, with such games as “Call of Duty”, “Black Ops”, and “Grand Theft Auto”.

Video games have now become an invaluable source of fun and entertainment for children.  This virtual world has become a place of dreams and nightmares where they are rewarded for every game they win. Video games can be found in most homes with kids having their own game consoles and Play Station’s. Video games can be broken down into five basic categories:

  • sports
  • general entertainment
  • fantasy violence
  • educational games
  • human violence

There has been a great deal of research carried out over the years to study the effects of the video games on children.  The result of the studies have shown that there are both good as well as bad effects or consequences on children playing video games, according to the type of game they play and their level of exposure.

Positive Effects of Video Games on Children:
There is no doubt that video games which have an educational content have been proved to have a positive effect on children.  Learning using these games becomes fun and entertaining.  Many schools and other educational institutions actively encourage these kinds of games where children learn problem solving skills.  It was found that all video games (including violent ones) encourage children to think about ways and methods to reach their goals.  This teaches them the ability to plan and handle complex situations.

Playing these interactive games means that the child has to practise more and more in order to be the best. They play them again and again in order to gain success and a sense of achievement.  By playing these video games the children’s perceptual, cognitive and motor skills and ability are improved.

Negative Effects of Video Games on Children:
There have been a number of research studies which have shown a relation between aggressive behaviour and playing video games which have violence in them. Playing in games that have a lot of shooting and killing is said to increase the emotion of anger in children; this aggressive behaviour is then carried through into real life.  In these games, acts of violence leads to success, which is then rewarded, again they may become motivated to repeat it in real life.  As the child’s morale is boosted by playing and winning these games, often they become hooked on the consoles and engage in repetitive playing, often for hours on end. It is easy for the children to start feeling that shooting and killing is normal and do not feel guilty about beating or clobbering siblings or peers.  These studies have shown a direct link between poor academic performance and playing video games.  The many hours spent playing these video games means that often studies/homework are ignored, resulting in poor results at school.

Over indulgence in these video games can also have negative effects on the physical health. Children sitting for hours in front of the game consoles can increase the risk of obesity, carpal tunnel syndrome, muscular diseases as well as skeletal and postural disorders in kids.  More seriously it can increase heart rate and lead to high blood pressure.

Often as the children become more addicted they can still be playing these violent games late into the night, going to bed in a “highly charged state” disturbing their sleep patterns, and not getting enough sleep.

Since 2006 researchers have carried out studies which have shown the following problems associated with too much gaming.

  • An increase in emotional disorder symptoms.
  • An increase in behavioural disorder symptoms.
  • Declines in verbal memory performance.
  • Somatic complaints (headaches etc).
  • Potential problems such as hyperactivity, ADD or ADHD.
  • Family interaction problems such as less positive parental relations.
  • A significant risk factor for later physically aggressive behaviour.

What can Parents and Carers Do?
To minimise the negative effects of gaining on children, adult control is essential.

  • Parents and Carers should keep a close eye on the sort of games their children play.
  • When buying games adhere to the age limit stated on the cover.
  • Avoid buying games that have too much violence in them.

Most importantly regulate the amount of time spent in front of the video game consoles, no more than 2 hours spent gaming.

There is no doubt that video games are fun and entertaining and good for relieving tension. Who of us have not strained our vocal chords with Karaoke, pulled a muscle Keeping Fit, or shown off our dancing skills, all done with a games console in our living rooms?

However, as with most things it’s over indulgence that can be harmful.

How to Survive Exams

Parents can find exams just as stressful as their child. Often parents want to support their child but don't know how. Here are some top tips for parents:

1. Be realistic

Encourage your child to follow a realistic review programme that incorporates 5-minute breaks (every 30 – 40 minutes) and factors in fun things they want to do, watch TV, see friends, go on Facebook. This helps maintain a work/life balance, something we all strive for.

2. Make learning part of the culture at home

Encourage the learning, revision and memorising process to be part of the home. Provide a noticeboard (or give them an entire wall!) for their notes, posters, timetables etc. It helps to have this visible so you know what is going on too.

3. Provide a calm working space

Ensure they have a suitable space for working in, away from distractions. If they share a bedroom or have to work in a family space give them “red time” where siblings (and you) can’t bother them so they have quality, quiet time to study.

4. Show them you're interested

Show them that you are interested in their work and have fun with it. Revision doesn’t have to be hours of staring at notes hoping it sinks in. Encourage them to use Mind Maps (they are utterly brilliant), create colourful posters, and enjoy creating imaginative memory palaces together.

5. Recognise their effort

Give praise for accomplishment and effort. If your child is working hard recognise it, everyone needs encouragement from time to time.

6. Be a team

Teachers are partners. They want the best for your child just like you do. Find out what is expected and stay informed.

7. Be calm and positive

This is the most important one of all - don’t get discouraged! Sometimes the going gets tough; remember to act calm and positive. Don’t let yourself get drawn into arguments and negativity. If a child is angry about schoolwork it is often because they think they can’t do it. It is your job to show them they can. To help you can download Learning Performance's "How to Make Stress the Key to Success" for free . For further free resources from Learning Performance click here.

What is Prepare to Perform

What is Prepare to Perform?

A Toolkit of advice and tips to support your child through their exams. Download printable PDF File