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Learning & Development

5 tips to encourage your child to read more

Reading is a vital part of your child’s development and is a great way to spark their imagination. The ideal way to introduce reading into your child’s life is to read to them from a young age, as they absorb what you’re saying even if they don’t understand it yet. Research by scientists over twenty years has revealed that being surrounded by books in early childhood is responsible for positive effects on children well into their late teens. Reading aloud encourages kids to get involved and...

How to tackle homework

Homework can cause arguments in families as parents struggle to understand it and children bristle at our efforts to help. We may not like homework but it matters. How can we as parents, best support homework without tearing our hair out? 1.  Encourage life skills Think of the skill set required to complete homework and fit in extracurricular activities and a social life. This requires organisation, time management, problem solving and innovation skills plus a sound work ethic to knuckle down...

How to stop the summer brain drain

Does the idea of making your children do schoolwork over the holidays fill you with dread or do you see it as an opportunity to hone in on any learning gaps? For many, school work and tutoring over the summer can sometimes seem like an unpleasant experience for both you and your children. Yet, as with most parenting moments, there surely is a compromise that can keep children’s brains active through those summer weeks, whilst letting them enjoy the break from timetabled learning. Tutor,...

Choosing a summer camp

Summer camps are becoming increasingly popular in the UK. Whether your child is academically-minded or after a summer of sports and activities, there are thousands of programmes to choose from at home and abroad. Not only do summer camps provide you with some much needed time away from the kids, they help your child learn valuable life skills, develop their independence, and make friends outside of their immediate circle. And of course have heaps of fun! There are many different types of summ...

11 Tips for a Successful First Residential Trip

Between the ages nine and eleven, your child will probably embark on a school residential trip. These trips, which involve a couple of nights away, are considered a rite of passage and a way to introduce your child to various aspects of spending time away from home. Below are a few tips to help you and your child have a successful first residential. 1.  Cost One of the areas that parents are surprised by when it comes to school trips, is the cost . The average cost of school expenses is ever...

When do you tell your kids the truth about Santa Claus?

Christmas is a long awaited, exciting time of year for children. From their first birthday to primary school age, they most likely believe in Santa and his reindeer. But there comes a time when they’re becoming more mature and may have heard rumours at school that Santa isn’t real. Usually because a child has been pretending to sleep, opened their eyes desperate to get a glimpse of the jolly man in a red suit, but they’re faced with their dad in his striped pyjamas! If your child doesn’t...

How to carve a pumpkin safely with your little one

You guessed it – it’s time for Halloween again! It’s no surprise that your kids aren’t that interested when you suggest carving the pumpkin, that’s your job isn’t it? They’re more excited about picking a scary outfit and stuffing their faces with sweets. This year though let their creativity juices flow to get them involved. You can both have fun together carving the perfect Halloween pumpkin! Our step by step guide makes it quick, easy and safe for little fingers. Firstly, you of course need...

Help your child to become more independent

Working parents complete on average 26 morning tasks before going to work. These range from making the children’s breakfast and preparing lunchboxes to spelling and reading practice. That’s just the morning shift.  The second shift (dinner, supervising homework, taxi service to after school activities, bedtime routine) begins when you return home from work.  In fact working mothers are on the go for an exhausting 28 hours extra a week on top of their day jobs.  Why?  I compared notes with a...

5 Skills you should help your primary-school child with

From learning to read to multiplication tables, primary school lays the foundation of your child’s education in every area. TheSchoolRun ’s Elena Dalrymple highlights five skills you can help them with at home to see them soar at school. Phonics Learning to read is all about phonics these days, so your child will learn letters by their sounds rather than their names. Once they’ve grasped all 40 different phonics sounds, words can be decoded by breaking them down into the different sounds and...

Countdown to a New School Year

While the English can enjoy being on holiday for a further three weeks, Scottish pupils return to school next week ending the summer break.  Footloose and fancy free for six weeks our job as parents is to help them switch from holiday to term time mode in a way that gets them excited and engaged about going back to school. We’ve rounded up advice from the experts on how best to achieve this. Coping with back to school blues? Do you remember that feeling of dread in the pit of your stomach...

What is dyslexia?

A working definition 1.1 There are many published definitions of dyslexia.  The Expert Advisory Group considered these carefully, in constructing a working definition for the review that includes key characteristics as explained below.  The working definition is set out:   ●● Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling.   ●● Characteristic features of dyslexia are difficulties in phonological awareness, verbal...

What do parents of successful children have in common?

I’m guessing as good parents we share a universal goal of wanting the best for our children.  We’re not looking to raise uber competitive child prodigies hothoused to boiling point.  We just want them to have the optimum chance of success and blossom into emotionally well-rounded adults having done their best at school and developed a supportive group of friends along the way. I turned to my own children for inspiration and after the briefest of pauses to stop my son sitting on his sister’s...

Special Educational Needs Glossary

Special needs glossary of terms   ADHD:   Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. A learning disorder which involves being unable to follow instructions, acting impulsively and being unable to keep still.   Anger Management:   A programme designed for specific students addressing reasons and strategies for their difficulties. Annual Review:  A review of a Statement of Special Educational Needs which an education authority must undertake at least every 12 months. Asperger’s Syndrome:   A...

Special Educational Needs

Special Educational Needs (SEN) is a huge area, one you may be struggling with, may be involved with already or just want to know more.  As a starting point here is a brief quote from the National Curriculum with regards to SEN.  'Schools have a responsibility to provide a broad and balanced curriculum for all pupils.  The National Curriculum is the starting point for planning a school curriculum that meets the specific needs of individuals and groups of pupils.' This statutory inclusion...

Get your child excited about going back to school

Children return to school in a couple of weeks ending the summer break.  Some Scottish schools may already be back. Footloose and fancy free for around 6 weeks, our job as parents is to help them switch from holiday to term time mode in a way that gets them excited and engaged about going back to school. We’ve rounded up advice from the experts on how best to achieve this. Coping with back to school blues? Do you remember that feeling of dread in the pit of your stomach thinking about going...

Homework Battles

Parental involvement in their children’s education is a hugely important, but what is required is a balance between providing support and making your child an independent learner.  Parents who do everything for their children are putting them at a disadvantage.  Help your child develop skills that will make them feel capable and ready to face up to new challenges.  Encourage them to do things themselves from pre-school onwards, in an age appropriate way.  Help with homework and projects but d...

How to help your child make the transition to a new class

Summer fairs and rainy sports days mean the end of the school year is fast approaching.  Whether your child is moving onto secondary or starting school for the first time now is a great time to prepare them for their next step.  We’ve rounded up useful tips on starting school for the first time, moving to a new class and onto secondary school. Preparing your pre-schooler for big school Starting school is a huge milestone for both your and your child.  There is much you can do to give your chi...

How is your child progressing?

How is your child progressing? Just got your child’s school report? Flummoxed by all those National Curriculum numbers and letters? Struggling to understand the difference between a 2c and a 1a? Here is our guide to your child’s progress and National Curriculum Levels. First the background... State schools in England must, by law, work using the National Curriculum. (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own equivalents, see below.) Fundamentally, this sets out what pupils should...

Preparing for your child's first day at school

Primary school A child’s first day at school is a moment of great excitement but can also cause a good deal of parental anxiety.  There is much that parents can do to prepare their child before the beginning of Reception and even more that they can do to make certain that their child’s school life gets off to a good start. The Preparation Work: Personal and Social Development :  Games and play activities enable children to try new challenges, learn to co-operate, develop social skills such as...

Choosing your child’s school – what to consider?

Of course you want your child to be happy and healthy – you also want to give them the best education available. So how do you decide?  It is really important to be ahead of the game and understand what’s out there and what will work for you and your family.  Decisions about state, state selective or private schools should be considered early on. Knowing  the different types of schools that are available is imperative.  Many schools have specialisms, some are religious, some are local communi...

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