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How Can I Support My Child Outside Of School? - KS4

It is very, very important that your child understands the importance of getting the best possible grades in exams, particularly in Mathematics and English. For GCSE English, examiners will be looking not just at the student's ability to speak the language, but also their understanding of the different ways in which the language is used. Students will also be expected to be able to read, interpret and understand various types of texts. In Mathematics, students need to understand maths as used in daily life.

If, at any time, you are concerned about your child's literacy or numeracy, it's worth talking to his/her teacher and getting advice about what support can be given either in school or outside.

Qualifications are important for your child's future. He/she will, therefore, need to revise for exams and it's crucial to allow him/her the time and space to work at home, particularly if he/she is given ‘study' leave. If it's not possible for him/her to study at home during study leave periods, you can talk to school about what other arrangements can be made.

Your school will help your child to organise work placements but you might be able to give him/her useful insight into the world of work by talking about your own work environment. You might even have useful contacts when it comes to getting a placement.It is worth finding out if coursework is required for each subject that your child is taking, how much needs to be done, and when the deadlines for work are. Remember that, unlike with homework, the marks your child gets for coursework will count towards his/her final grade in his/her exams. Coursework must be your child's own original work. He/she must not copy from the internet or books or anyone else's work unless he/she is quoting from them and acknowledging that by giving references. You will need to make sure that he/she understands this and that the consequences of copying from elsewhere can be very serious. Students can lose part of their marks or be disqualified from the exam and even, sometimes, from all the exams held by a particular exam board for a certain period of time. You can help your child with coursework by listening to his/her plans and giving advice but you mustn't tell him/her what to do or do any of the work for him/her. If there are things that your child doesn't understand about what needs to be done for coursework, make sure that he/she discusses them with teachers.

You also need to know when exams will take place. Timetables are sent out in advance so you need to make sure that you see them so that dates aren't missed. You can also ensure that your child understands what will be expected of him/her. For instance, that he/she must not talk to other students during examinations, shouldn't take his/her mobile phone in with him/her, and should use only equipment (like calculators) that is permitted.

Students can, though, become very stressed about examinations. Try to stay calm yourself (or, at least, give the appearance of being calm). Your child should be encouraged to do his/her very best but it's worth bearing in mind that he/she will be able to re-sit exams if necessary. You child might need the most support while waiting for the results of his/her exams.

Cultural identity

Many parents worry that, as their children get older, they may lose a sense of their cultural identity. Some parents feel that it is important to maintain traditions of language, clothing, food, music, faith and discipline at home. This may seem more difficult as children feel the pressure to adapt to a different way of life.Some parents get help from friends and family or from other community members or through the teachings in temples, churches, madrassahs or mosques. It is important to give children the opportunity to engage with their home culture and the strength and knowledge to be confident about their own heritage. As they get older, there are likely to be a wider range of events and activities that you can take part in together such as street carnivals held in your area, films, exhibitions, lectures and concerts.

You can find details of cultural activities and events in the Real Histories Directory as well as suppliers of culturally relevant books, films, music etc. The Black History Month sites at www.black-history-month.co.uk/ and www.blackhistorymonthuk.co.uk have information on activities and events taking place during October of each year.