The Northern Ireland Education Minister Peter Weir announced that all GCSE results that are received on Thursday will be grades predicted by teachers. Many parents have expressed their sheer relief at hearing this U-turn – the professionals who know these young people will be relied on to provide the results.
The domino effect then saw Wales’ Kirsty Williams, and finally England’s Gavin Williamson make the same decision, just days before the release of this year’s GCSE results. Despite this U-turn there may still be anxieties and worry bubbling under the surface. Many organisations such as Childline and MIND are on hand to advise you of next steps and talk through any worries.
Be the voice of calm
Young people need reassurance right now. They need to know that oblivious of what the grades say on Thursday you believe in them, you believe them when/if they tell you they are grossly unfair grades and that you have their back and will do everything you can to help them receive the grades that they so desperately yearn for and have worked all these years for. Discourage your child from comparing themselves to another, whether that be family member or friend, remind them that each of us are different and unique and that all you are worried about is them.
I am a huge chocolate fan, so here’s my choc-themed take on helping our children prepare better mentally and physically for the upcoming days:
A is for appetite – has it changed – are they eating more or less? Food is often the ‘go to’ when you are overly stressed or can be something that is ignored.
E is for exercise – does it feel as though they have gone into early hibernation and hardly come out of their room? A bedroom is such an important sanctuary, but trying to get outside at least once a day encourages a natural boost to the mood and clears the head away from devices and screens.
R is for rest – make sure they get enough sleep this week as lack of sleep can impact on the mood and ability to process things in a calm manner
O is for organisation – be prepared – how exactly are you receiving the results? Have you got the details at hand if needing to log in online? Have you got an appointment made with the school to discuss the results if they are allowing you to do this pre-Results Day? Have you organised childcare for other siblings to allow you to provide undivided attention to the child receiving results? Have you agreed with the young person how and to whom they are happy for you to communicate their results with? Do you know if the school or college has wavered their normal entry to sixth-form requirements? Do you know the appeals process?
S is for speak – don’t forget to talk through every scenario for this week with your child. Check out their feelings and concerns. Don’t dismiss these worries even if they can seem unfounded, they are your child’s worries this week and they need to talk them through and be enabled to process them more clearly. Ask them which adult they’d like to accompany them to the school because with the coronavirus pandemic as it may be one adult only. Reassure your child that there are processes in place and together with the teachers, you will explore every option in the event of unexpected results.
Don’t forget – plan the celebrations too. Last week’s results caused shock for a number of pupils, there were also many pupils who were delighted with their results and too often we focus on the negative, forgetting there were many more good stories and experiences.