I DON’T want my child to have the best education or be set for a bright future… said NO parent ever! Mums and dads often say that ensuring their child has a top top education is high up there on their list of responsibilities and many are making it happen.
Today, more and more of us are exploring the Grammar or private/independent school option in the face of ever more disappointing state school league tables. The fact that of the 24,000 state schools in England, only 164 of these are Grammar schools doesn’t appear to be putting off the increasing number of families registering their child to take the 11+ test to gain access to these top schools.
Bernadette Thompson, who has been through the process with her eldest child who secured a place at one of Essex’s top private schools and is currently working with her youngest child too, tells us why parents should use the following PROUD tips – as they support their child to take the 11+ test or more generally to help their children to attain academic excellence.
“We often refer to our children as our ‘Pride and Joy’, and it’s up to us to help them reach their full potential. Making the commitment to go through the process to get admission to a top school is a decision that needs to be reached with your child. Once everyone is in agreement, then simply follow my top tips to navigate what is often a complex, but ultimately rewarding journey.
P = Plan
You must make a plan! Make a shortlist of schools that you wish your child to attend. Check the school league tables, the school’s Ofsted rating or the Independent School’s Council review. Is there a catchment area rule? Often, being outside the catchment area means that your child needs to work that little bit harder.
‘Plans are worthless, but planning is everything’ – Winston Churchill
R = Routine
Have a routine, and stick to it! Children work best with routines. Help your child understand the reason for the routines. Routines teach your child organisational skills, and help them to understand when and how things should be done. Routines also help with establishing study regimes, which makes preparing for exams less stressful.
‘The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine’ – Mike Murdock
O = Optimistic
Be optimistic. Use every opportunity to encourage your child and try to refrain from negative comments and put-downs. Be their cheerleader, providing constructive feedback and let them know that you believe in their ability to succeed.
Children are very perceptive and often know when parents don’t really believe in their ability and this can make a dip in performance go even lower.
And remember, when your optimism begins to drop, surround yourself with people who will pull you back up too!
‘A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty’ –Winston Churchill
U = Understand
Understand the entry requirements for your preferred institution. Research their pass mark, required grade etc.
What is the curriculum, what does your child need to know? Will you require a tutor or can you teach your child yourself?
Can you apply for a scholarship or bursary for a Private School? What scholarships are available? Music, Sports, Drama are the usual options.
Does my child have documentary evidence to prove their learning e.g. ABRSM Certificates, LAMDA certification etc.
‘Any fool can know. The point is to understand’ – Albert Einstein
D = Determined
Be determined and don’t give up. You will have the odd day when you may be unsure and the pressure may get to you, but every successful person has learnt from setbacks.
Teach your child resilience, the art of determination and the ability to bounce back.
“Once a person is determined to help themselves, there is nothing that can stop them.” – Nelson Mandela