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Preparing for a Successful Academic Year

Year 7 went on a team building trip to Osmington Bay PGL centre for a weekend of activities and friendships.

Preparing for a Successful Academic Year

Year 7 went on a team building trip to Osmington Bay PGL centre for a weekend of activities and friendships.

We all know how difficult it can be to get back into the swing of things after a break. The thought of being so active following a period of dormancy can feel intimidating for many of us. With children going through so much change when moving between years of school, these feelings are arguably as strong as they will ever be and the excitement of the new can easily be tempered by the anxiety towards the unknown.

As a parent or guardian, it’s natural to want to soften the shock of this change and to put our children in the best possible position to adapt and thrive. Fortunately, there are steps we can take to ensure this transition is as smooth as possible.

The brain is a muscle. Like any muscle, it functions optimally when it has had a chance to warm up. If we think about the types of exertion a school year requires, we can more easily address the question of how to provide this warm-up.

With this in mind, your autumn itinerary should look something like this:

Health is Wealth

Before any productive conversation can be had about preparations for the coming year, it is vital children know that nothing is worth their health – psychological, cognitive, social or physical. Stress can be a motivator, but when improperly managed it can quickly become a destructive force.

Nobody can work to the best of their ability when they’re tired or hungry or worried.

Reinforcing positive habits around sleep, diet and exercise will go a long way to ensure this stable bedrock for academic achievement.

Routine

Being predictable gets a lot of negative publicity, but the truth is that adhering to a routine has all sorts of benefits. A rigid daily structure not only makes it easier to find the time to get things done, it also enhances our ability to find the time to relax.

A clearly defined routine goes beyond homework too. Regular meal times help consolidate our circadian rhythm, for example, which in turn is associated with better sleep health – and better sleep leads to what? Your child having a more productive and harmonious time in the classroom…

Independence

As important as it is for a child to feel that they have a reliable support structure around them, no amount of a safety net will enable a child’s parents or guardians to experience things for them. Being there for our children is obviously paramount and it’s true that those who have a robust support network will more likely have the confidence to stand on their own two feet, but self-advocacy is a vital step in a person’s development, too.

Get Involved

On the surface, this would seem like a direct contradiction to the previous point. Like with many areas of parental responsibility, knowing when to get involved is a question of finding the right balance.

Positive reinforcement can be much more effective than intervention. Asking your child to describe the things they have been taught instead of quizzing them about it will encourage them to revise topics without it being a pressured environment; taking an interest in their timetable will consolidate their schedule without it seeming as though you’re pushing them to adhere to it.

It’s a win-win situation: you become more aware of their school life whilst inspiring in them a sense of agency and personal accountability.

Home Environment

Creating the right atmosphere in the home is a multi-faceted process. Given that the same building is needed to accommodate several different modes of behaviour in any given day, this can be a tricky business.

First and foremost is the need to create a harmonious and tranquil place to be. All families have stresses, but it’s important that they don’t inhibit your child’s ability to either focus or wind down, either of which is a difficult task when there are things occupying their mind.
Having clearly delineated areas of the living space should be a priority. A clean and tidy place to concentrate on homework is a must, possibly with a calendar of deadlines and activities visible – useful for them and a good way to keep a covert eye on their organisation.
Connected to this is the need to monitor gizmo use. Being connected with their peers is of course necessary, but distraction is the enemy of progress. Be vigilant and define boundaries of when their gadgets can be used.

The habits built at home have profound consequences on how we live outside of them. The more involved your child is with the goings on of their familial habitat, the more likely they are to apply themselves in the same manner in other walks of life.

Lead by Example

We are all students. The fact that we never stop learning is a simple and obvious one, but showing the right attitude towards education starts with the premise that we can all be taught.

Shared enthusiasm is a powerful thing. Or, to look at it from the other direction: enthusiasm is difficult to maintain when it is met with apathy or disinterest. Take part in the learning process with them and they will be a lot more inclined to make the investment themselves.

See you there…

The hardest part of any new endeavour is the anticipation before it starts. School is no different. If the foundations are set right, however, this anticipation will fade into excitement by the time your child reaches the gates.

Here’s to another successful year!

Ollie is a QEH 'lifer', as he joined QEH Juniors in Year 3, eleven years ago.  It's been great to watch his development through the years, both on and off the pitch.

Ollie signs for the Bears!

Huge congratulations to Mark who has joined the top 2% of the population as a member of Mensa. In typical modest fashion, Mark sat the test on a recent weekend and didn't mention it to any of his teachers!

Mark joins Mensa!

As well as being Head of Religion and Philosophy, Zak leads our digital vision. He was instrumental in developing our excellent online learning offering during lockdown, much to the relief of our parents, and is now leading the roll out of our school device programme.

Welcome back to Year 10 and 12

Intrepid Year 5 boys headed back to Belmont Wood last Friday for the 'Camouflage and Concealment' part of their QE Award.

Adventure awaits . . .

The people are nice, the lessons are fun … and the food is great!
Year 7 Pupil
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