Preparing for Secondary School in Scotland – Top Tips

Moving up from Primary 7 to S1

March is generally the time for schools in Scotland to hold parents’ evenings and, especially for parents of children in primary 7, this is the ideal time to discuss with your child’s teacher exactly how your child is performing academically in class and how to help children make the transition from P7 to First year as smoothly as possible.

Developing? Consolidating? Secure?

Since Curriculum for Excellence was introduced in Scotland, parents will be familiar with the above terminology on report cards but do you understand exactly what these words mean and how your child is coping with school work in class?  Make sure you take this time to ask about results of assessments undertaken and how these compare with others in the school and region.  Are they in the top group for subjects?  If not, ask what can be done to help.

Kip McGrath Maths and English TuitionAcademically some children can be surprised when they move to First year and mix with students from other schools to find that they aren’t quite at the same level in English and Maths and this can lead to a lack of confidence and cause additional stress.  At our 27 Kip McGrath centres in Scotland, we tutor thousands of children and find that this is the time when most parents realise their children have fallen behind and call for help.

Having spoken to your child’s teacher, if you have any concerns please book an assessment with one of our qualified teachers at your local Kip McGrath centre.  This is FREE and we will be able to identify any areas of weakness or gaps in learning that may have developed and prepare an individual lesson plan focussed on your child’s needs.  Kip McGrath Tuition Centres only employ qualified teachers who have experience of teaching in Scottish schools giving parents peace of mind.  Our Primary and Secondary tutors teach children from age 5-18 up to Higher Grade English and Maths.

Free Kip McGrath Assessment

Tips for Parents to Help Children Cope with Move to Secondary School

Moving to a new school can be daunting for children emotionally and they will worry about fitting in, following timetables and will have much more reponsibility than ever before.  It is never too early for parents to start helping children prepare for this huge transition and we have listed below some suggestions.

Be organised – children should get into the habit early preparing for the next school day.  Ask them to look over their timetable and ensure that they are organised.  Do they need gym kit, musical instruments or anything for special projects?

Homework – What are their homework projects for the week?  Ask them to create a time plan to complete homework as early as possible and not have to rush at the last minute. Make sure they have a quiet place to work which is free of distractions.

Responsibility – Allowing your child now to take more responsibility will reap rewards in the future.  Teach them how to be more independent and to prepare for school by themselves.

Talk about Fears – In a big new school children have to follow a timetable and find classes and may worry about being late or get lost. Teachers may be a bit stricter.  Talk to your child about any fears they may have and discuss who can they go to in school if they are worried.

Making Friends – Your child may be in a class with none of their friends from primary school and may find it hard when their existing friends form new relationships.  Try to teach your child to smile, learn others’ names, show an interest, ask questions, be inclusive to all students and encourage them to form new class friendships.

Find your local Kip McGrath Tuition Centre in Scotland

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Scottish National Exam Delays – Will Cash Injection Announcement stop Educational Crisis?

Dramatic U-turn from Mike Russell, Scottish Education Secretary

Today, Mike Russell, The Scottish Education Secretary announced that the Scottish Government would inject £3.5 million and create two extra in service days to help Scottish Secondary Schools prepare for the new National 4 & 5 exams due to be introduced in 2013-2014.  He also announced that the SQA and Education Scotland will be working together to prepare course material for all subjects which can be adapted to suit individual schools.

Education Scotland will also be undertaking an audit of Secondary Schools to establish whether they are in fact ready to introduce the National Exams on schedule.

Since East Renfrewshire Council announced they intended to delay the introduction of the National Exams by a year, there has been a huge response from Secondary teachers and The Herald Scotland reported that in a survey three quarters of teachers felt unprepared and unready.

This announcement today by the Scottish Government has been welcomed in many quarters and most are pleased that their concerns are being heard.  Mike Russell is keen for the National Exams to be launched on schedule and does not support blanket delays but admits schools will have the option to delay if they are not ready.

However, opposition to the SNP have been quick to Comment.

Labour education spokesman Hugh Henry said: “This announcement from the SNP Government is a belated but welcome recognition that there are real problems with the readiness for Curriculum for Excellence in some schools and opens the door to delaying the new curriculum.  Mr Russell has been forced into finding £3.5m to fix a mess that has been of his own making”.

Conservative education spokeswoman Liz Smith said: “Two additional days of in-service training may well provide some extra classroom support for some teachers, but it comes very late in the day and it does not get to the root of the problem.”

What Does this Actually Mean?

  • £3.5million equates to approximately £10,000 per school.  Is this enough to make an impact?
  • One of the biggest issues was that teachers were having to find the time to prepare new materials for the curriculum from scratch and obviously duplication in material would be an issue.  Having nationally prepared course materials will significantly ease the burden on teachers.
  • Two more  in service days for teacher training – Great for the teachers but a headache for parents (2 more holidays?)
  • The Option to delay if an audit reveals that a school is not ready – Whilst Mike Russell insists that most schools are on track and he does not sanction a blanket delay, I wonder how many schools will actually opt to delay?  This could become very confusing for employers and Colleges. 
  • Personally, in light of the concerns that my own tutors (who teach in mainstream schools) have, I would have thought a blanket delay of a year would be the most practical solution.

My Opinion

Many of our students at Kip McGrath are S1 and S2 students and I am finding more and more parents are asking my advice and very concerned that their children will be the guinea pigs for these new exams.  Now that the concerns of teachers are out in the open and actually the Scottish Government are listening and taking action, I am more hopeful.  We have a wonderful history of great education in Scotland and I hope we maintain that with Curriculum For Excellence.

Hopefully the Scottish Government will continue to listen to Teachers and take action where appropriate to ensure our children receive the best possible education and ensure they do not suffer as a result of these changes being rushed through too quickly.  Only time will tell.