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The Challenge of Academic Success

04 mei 2017

The word ‘exam’ is not a word that students always want to hear, and the pressures that exams bring to our children are challenging.   However, for our Year 11 and 13 students, this week represents the opportunity for them to now demonstrate the skills, knowledge and understanding that they have harvested from their courses over the last two years.

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For all of them, the last few months in particular have been extremely busy with lessons, homework, revision and coursework, with many subjects demanding their attention.  With the formal ending of scheduled lessons, students now have the freedom to really focus their revision on chosen topics and subjects in the final preparation for written examinations.  The philosophy to ‘Be Ambitious’ is never truer for these students than at this present time.

Those of you who regularly read this blog will know that I am a big believer in the partnership between home and school and the role that students, parents and teachers play in the success of our learners.   In school, we continue to offer revision sessions by subject teachers, as well as a quiet place to study in the LRC on Saturdays.  Similarly, I ask that you continue to support your son or daughter through ensuring that they have a suitable space at home to revise in: one that is quiet, with plenty of space to set out folders, flashcards, past exam papers and mark schemes.  Checking in on them in terms of discussing progress and learning, testing key terms or meanings can be very helpful too as it gives them the opportunity to demonstrate that they are remembering revision topics.   Music is not recommended when trying to revise.

Regular breaks or switching to another task (such as making your dinner!), can also help to provide balance and structure revision, it is difficult to concentrate for long periods of time and the law of diminishing returns can apply after a while, so taking a walk, a sporting activity or meeting friends can provide just the required balance to help pupils stay fresh, organised and stop tension over exams building up.  Revision with friends, when done properly, can also be very effective.  Students should continue to follow their revision timetables, use the tips for effective revision and ensure that they have a proper night’s sleep during the exam season.  Parental support in helping all of these happen will really make a difference, so many thanks in advance.

There is no time to relax for the rest of the students either as we will begin internal exams for Key Stage 3, Year 10 and Year 12 students at the end of this month!  Now is a good time for them to begin planning their own revision programme for the forthcoming weeks.  Teachers will support them in identifying topics and suitable ways to revise in their upcoming lessons.  We believe that these internal exams are one of the best forms of preparation for external examinations in the future as they provide valuable experience of sitting the examinations as well as honing revision techniques.

There is plenty to look forward to after the exams for all of our students.  Year 13 pupils have their Graduation Ceremony in the Auditorium on Friday 19 May and their Graduation Dinner at the Wanda Reign Hotel on Sunday 21 May.  A group of Year 11 students have now organised an End of Year Celebration on Friday 16 June.  Our Key Stage 3 students will be travelling in mid-June as part of their Activities Week Programme – Year 7 travel to Yangshuo, Year 8 to Inner Mongolia and Year 9 to Sanya.  Year 12 students will experience a trip to Cambodia as part of their CAS programme and Year 10 students embark upon their work experience.  

I wish all of the students success as they continue on their journey of learning and I thank all of you for your continuing support in partnership with the school.

Andrew Lancaster, Head of Secondary