How To Help Your Children Ace The New GCSEs

Exam time is looming – if you’ve got children of secondary school age, the stress levels in your household are probably increasing as I write. But not only your children’s.

Exams seem to be emerging as a new battleground not only for children, but schools, government and now seem to be responsible for dragging parents into a new fear spiral. It’s a very different world from when we were kids.

And this year the stakes seem to be higher:

– Starting in 2017 with English and maths, new GCSEs in England will be graded from 9 to 1, with 9 being the top grade. What does that mean? We’re told the new exams are going to be more challenging and reward only top students with a 9, but nobody’s quite sure beyond that. Though one knock-on effect of the new exam system reportedly is girls being more likely to shun maths at A level.

– School Cuts: while the government has confirmed new funding for free schools (including grammar schools), the Budget didn’t include any money to help schools facing a funding squeeze. Naturally, it elicits the question: how does this affect my child’s education and potential to succeed?

– Meanwhile, headteachers and teachers are being squeezed and are leaving the profession…
As a parent already you’re nervous, right? And that’s before your child comes home with a question about algebra. I have three children, Christopher, Jonathan and Alice aged from five until their teens and can see how different education is now – and particularly around tests and exams – compared to when I was at school. It’s nerve-wracking.

BBC Radio 5 ran a poll recently which revealed nearly a quarter (24%) of British parents said their own mental health had been affected by the pressure of their children’s exams while two in five parents (42%) said not knowing how to help their children with revision made them feel as if they were “not good enough as parents”.

Most interestingly, the poll also revealed that more than half (52%) would like more help and advice on how to support their children through their…

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