Supporting pupils in Year 11

 

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Dear Parents/Carers,

 

In order to address any questions or concerns you may have following recent Government announcements over the changes to the GCSE summer examinations, we will be holding a Year 11 Information event tomorrow, Thursday 4th February between 5:00pm-6:00pm.

 

Please sign in for a face to face appointment with either Mr Little (Principal), Mrs Cull (Vice Principal) or Mrs Sterland (Director of Progress KS4) using the school cloud system https://darwenvale.schoolcloud.co.uk/

An information video is available at http://www.darwenvale.com/support-y11 and please note that your attendance to this evening is not essential. If after watching this video you have questions or concerns that you would like to discuss face to face regarding Year 11 and their Summer examinations then please join us for the event tomorrow evening.

 

Appointment are available to book from 4pm today till 5pm tomorrow.

 

Please email ruth.cull@darwenvale.com if you have any questions..

 

Vice Principal
Darwen Vale High School

Update on the changes to GCSE examinations 2021. For more information please email ruth.cull@darwenvale.com

During Year 11, there will be a wide range of strategies in place to support your child’s progress.  Strategies include:

  • Period 6 Sessions

  • Revision / Coursework intervention sessions

  • Progress Evenings for pupils and parents

  • Parents evenings

  • Targeted Mentoring

  • Calendared Rewards to support motivation

  • Bespoke Timetables

  • Intervention Form Groups (Maths and English)

  • Motivational Assemblies

  • Breakfast Club

  • Walking Talking Mocks

  • Half Term Revision Sessions

  • Careers advice

  • Careers days

  • Revision Timetables / Support

  • Website Revision Resources

  • Motivational speakers

  • Parental Engagement

  • Attendance intervention

  • Online Portal – revision support

  • PATH support

Top Tips For A Successful Year 11

Top Tip 1

Parents: How can I make a difference?

It’s year 11 and I feel lost as to how I can help my child in the run up to the exam period.  Sometimes if feel it’s best to ‘let the experts at school get on with it’.  What is my role? What can I do to help and support? How much should they be doing? What does a revision timetable look like? How should they be revising? When should I stop nagging?

Parental engagement is essential and at Darwen Vale High School we aim to support both parents and pupils throughout all stages of the process.  We aim to provide clear and practical information needed to support you and your child to meet the demands of year 11.

Top Tip 2

Starting revision early enough and getting into a good routine of following a revision plan is essential to avoiding stress in year 11.  We have included an example revision timetable but the important thing is to work out what suits you and your schedule.  Agree on the balance between revision and social life and stick to the plan. Flexibility is key…. If something crops up, agree on an alternative.

Make sure you have the appropriate revision aid for each subject and the theme is agreed on before you start….No point wasting 20 mins working out what to revise.

START NOW, every day counts!

Top Tip 3

Last week we discussed revision timetables and ensuring year 11 are starting revision early enough.  They are not just revising for the MOCKS, the real deal is just around the corner and it’s important to have a consistent approach to revision.

Year 11 should have a good revision aid for every subject. 

There are also lots of links to recommended websites and revision material to support both pupils and parents on our Online Portal.

Our Online Portal can be accessed on the school website –

Username  – dvhs.vle

Password – isucceed

Breaking revision down into smaller chunks is imperative and sticking to that revision timetable is key.

If you are in any doubt about how to help your child revise for a particular subject then please contact their class teacher, the Head of Subject or me, Director of Progress.  We will all be more than happy to help……. Remember, START NOW, every day counts!

Top Tip 4

Making use of Revision Apps is Top Tip No4.


As many of us can’t go anywhere with our phones these days it would be silly of me to miss an opportunity to find a tech angle on exam preparation. Revision Apps can be used in addition to revision guides and can help to support your revision timetable. Whatever apps or tools students use (or don’t use), being organised about their revision is key.

If you are in any doubt about how to help your child revise for a particular subject then please contact their class teacher, the Head of Subject or me, Director of Progress.  We will all be more than happy to help……. Remember, START NOW, every day counts!

Top Tip 5

Learning strategies to cope with stress and anxiety surrounding exams is Top Tip No5.

If you think your child is struggling with such, please encourage them to speak with staff in school.  We are currently running morning drop- in sessions for anxiety surrounding exams which can be accessed between 8:30 – 8:45am on Tuesday and Wednesday’s in our PATH Centre.  Emily Clarke our school counsellor, Mrs Leigh PATH Manager and Miss Charnock School Teaching Assistant are on hand to offer a wealth of support and advice.  If your child is feeling ok at the moment but is worried this may change leading up to the exam period, it would be wise for them to attend to develop coping strategies.  Alternatively, all teaching staff would encourage your child to speak with them and be happy to offer support.

What can I do at home?

  • Help them avoid study distractions.

  • Ensure they are getting enough sleep. Research shows 9 out of 10 pupils take their electric devices to bed with them and there is a huge temptation to catch up on social media after a night of revision, reducing vital sleep time.

  • Make sure they are eating well. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

  • Talk about successes.

  • Tell them how pound you are.

  • Talk about behaviours and not ‘them’ to avoid damaging self-esteem. (Eg. Avoid ‘Your Lazy’ and try ‘You need to organise your time better’).

  • Agree a balance between work and social life.

  • Keep calm and stay positive.

Top Tip 6

Trying out Mind maps, Revision Cards and Flashcards to support revision is Top Tip No6.

Have you ever tried to revise and realised that nothing is sticking? The best advice is to try lots of revision techniques to find that best way that suits your learning style. Mind maps are more visual while flash cards are kinaesthetic.

 

Revision Cards

To make sure you’re learning, take your revision notes / revision guides and whittle them down further. By simplifying your notes in this way, you’re training your brain to remember what’s unwritten.  The Cards should contain all the key information to summarise a topic or theme.

 

Flashcards

Flashcards are a quickfire version of revision cards. The idea here is to put a question / word / theory on one side and the answer / definition / explanation on the reverse. They’re great for testing your memory of the important facts and figures for your exams.

 

Mind maps

Mind maps are a more visual way of learning. They consist of a central starting point such as your topic or theme, to which you then add branching information including key words, quotes, important information. Try colour coding your branches and including images.  Mind maps are great for showing how a topic is built up and showing how everything links together. If you can memorise the mind map you can sketch it out quickly in an exam and use them to answer questions.

 

Why not take a look at some of these App’s to support you with the process:

  • iMindMap

  • Quizlet – helps to create revision flashcards.

  • Memrise – for learning language or vocab.

  • Gojimo – Pick your subject and exam board and take part in quizzes to test your knowledge.

Top Tip 7

It’s never too late to make a difference through revision is Top Tip No7.

‘I’ve left it too late to revise’ is something I have most defiantly heard plenty before and not leaving enough time for revision can be stressful and demotivating but……Until the point that a pupil enters the exam room it is never too late to revise. A little more knowledge could be the difference between a grade 3 and a grade 5 and equally a place in collage.

Make use of the question analysis provided by your child’s class teacher. Use it to look for gaps in knowledge and tackle those subjects / topics head on. Prioritising revision in this way prevents pupils revising what they already know and allows revision to be structured into manageable chunks. Make use of the revision strategies provided (Top Tip No6) to support pupils plugging those gaps in knowledge.

Top Tip 8

Keep motivated by changing revision methods is Top Tip No 8.

It may be hard to remember a life before revision and day after day of sitting in the same place with the same books can be pretty uninspiring.  Don’t stop now.  If you have been using the same revision methods for months, now might be the time to spice things up a little and make things more interesting.  Why not try alternatives such as watching video or documentaries and listening to podcasts.  Try a change of revision space. Make posters on revision topics / themes.  Work on coloured paper for different sets of revision notes and reward yourself for the revision you do.

 

Most importantly, REMEMBER…… Revision season does not last forever and your hard work now will open up opportunities for your future.

Top Tip 9

Preparing yourself for exam season is Top Tip No 9.


The journey to exam season could be compared to training for a marathon. Here is something I found to enable you to get yourself into the best shape to tackle it confidently.  Good routines and starting early is key.

 

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