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 Children’s Book Awards – Children Choose the Best Scottish Books

The winners of the Scottish Children’s Book awards 2011 were announced yesterday in Edinburgh in a hall packed full of Scottish Children.   I watched the highlights on STV News (click to watch video) and how I wished I could have been there to see so many children take delight in their love of reading!

What is even more wonderful is that all of the books nominated were read and voted for by 23,000 children in Scotland,which is up by 42% on last year. Let’s hope that number will increase again for next year’s vote and inspire many children to develop a true love of reading!

The winners were:

Bookbug Readers (Category 0-7)

Dear Vampa by Ross Collins is a beautifully illustrated book about a family of vampires.  The little boy vampire writes to his Grandpa and is amazed at the strange new family who have moved next door.  They are very different! They even stay out all day in the sunshine.  Perhaps he shouldn’t have passed judgement too quickly because they may not actually be as different as he thinks.  Definitely a book for the older kids in this category.

Young Readers (Category 8-11)

Zac and the Dream Pirates by Ross Mackenzie -Everybody dreams. That’s the problem. Good dreams are sweet. Bad dreams are scary. But what happens when the worst sort of nightmares take over? Zac Wonder is about to find out. On the stroke of midnight, he follows his mysterious grandmother into the worst blizzard for fifty years, and winds up discovering an extraordinary world on the other side of sleep. Is he still dreaming? Has he gone nuts? Or is he really meant to save us all from the devious dream pirates who threaten to hijack our dreams…and turn our lives into a waking nightmare?

Older Reader Catgeory (12 – 16)

Jack worships luck and decides his actions by the flip of a coin. No risk is too great if the coin demands it. Luck brings him Jess, a beautiful singer who will change his life. But Jack’s luck is running out, and soon the stakes are high. As chance and choice unravel, the risks of Jack’s game become terrifyingly clear. An evening of heady recklessness, and suddenly a life hangs in the balance, decided by the toss of a coin. In the end, it is the reader who must choose whether to spin that coin and determine: life or death.

Congratulations to the winners.  To read the nominees and further details, please click on the main Scottish Book Trust Website.

My Opinion

As a teacher, parent and grandparent, I have always tried to encourage book reading from an early age.  It is so important for our children’s education and to develop good literacy skills.  I feel so disheartened when a child comes to Kip McGrath who is struggling at school with English, particularly in basic reading and writing and I discover that they do not read any books at home. There was an article recently which I blogged about that according to the National Literacy Trust  4 million children in the UK don’t own a book and I posted a few book ideas for reluctant readers.

Having said that, I am so encouraged by yesterday’s Scottish Book Awards announcement and love the fact that so many Scottish children read and were discussing characters in the books with each other.  What a great incentive and I hope this is rolled out to many more children in our schools this year.  Wouldn’t it be fabulous if instead of swapping Moshi Monster cards at play break, children could be swapping books!!

Tips for Parents of Reluctant Readers

No matter how clever a child is, parents and teachers must encourage children to read for the fun and love of it.  If your child is reluctant to pick up a book what can parents do?

  • Try focusing on what interests they have and not what you think they should be reading
  • Do they watch particular television shows or films?  Many shows also have a series of books or annuals.
  • Let children read what interests them.
  • Arrange a visit to the local library and let them pick a book that interests them on any subject at all.  Let them make the choice (as long as it is age appropriate)
  • Ask your child to write a very short book report or even to choose a time when your child can tell you about the story giving your undivided attention.
  • Ask questions and be positive! Give lots of praise and attention.
  • Why don’t you choose a child appropriate book to read also and do the same?  Make it a regular fun event.
  • Let your children see that you also love to read
  • Buy book tokens for gifts

Is your child struggling with reading?

If you think that your child is not just a reluctant reader but is falling behind at school and perhaps struggling with reading and English, then perhaps there is an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.  At Kip McGrath Education Centres, our qualified teachers will assess your child’s abilities in a free educational consultation and will advise you of any weaknesses.  This may just give you peace of mind but if there is a problem, we will create an individual learning programme that your child will follow in conjunction with the school curriculum to help them catch up.

To find a local Kip McGrath Tutoring Centre in Scotland, use our postcode finder tool to find your local centre.