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By learningclubs, Apr 18 2018 10:40AM

Confused about GCSE Maths? You are not alone.

Whether it is the New (9-1) or the Old (A*-G) GCSE Maths, choosing either Foundation or Higher Tier GCSE Maths needs to be considered. Few understand the implications though.

The first misunderstanding is that you have only one chance to write the Higher Tier. This is simply not true. If the opportunity is no longer available at the student’s school, your local community college can provide it.

The second misunderstanding rests with the assumption that students have been ‘selected’ for the best exam for them. Over the years that I have been involved in interviewing and testing students, I know that some students perform best during classes but fall apart during exams. In some cases, the student’s confidence is shattered. Some students have struggled with Maths for most of their school life, but their school may only offer GCSE Higher Tier Maths. If the students have written a Year 10 mock GSCE Maths exam, for argument sake the GCSE Foundation Maths in January and in March their results are below a D (E, F, G etc) and they have been selected for the Higher Tier – something is wrong. It doesn’t have to be like this.

I often ask parents to contact the school and arrange for their child to write the GCSE Foundation Maths. This may take some lobbying on the parent’s part. Writing Foundation Maths and passing it provides the student with exam experience. If they attain a ‘C’, this result provides insurance if the student now wishes to take the Higher Tier and does poorly.

Yes, there are differences between the content and exam between the GCSE Foundaton and Higher tier. If you are interested in this subject, here is an article to provide you with further details. LINK

By learningclubs, Apr 18 2018 10:29AM

It isn’t fun when springtime allergies take the spring out of a child’s step! Common symptoms like drowsiness, runny nose and sneezing, result in diminished focus and an overall sense of poor wellbeing. These symptoms can last for months and well into exam time. Here’s how to reduce allergies naturally, without medication.

An allergy is the reaction of the immune system to allergens, like dust and pollens. The body’s reaction can be:

1. Identify the allergen as non-threatening and ignore it.

2. Identify the allergen as a threat to the body and go into overdrive mode.

This overdrive produces high quantities of a protein called histamine, which tries to push the allergen out of the system by narrowing down the breathing passages, sneezing and releasing lots of mucous.

Therefore, the main challenge is to regulate histamine production without resorting to traditional medicines that harm the liver.

Luckily, the alternate health model offers immunity boosters without the side effects of generic drugs.

1. Foods like spinach, mushrooms, chicken, beef, lamb, and dark chocolate contain zinc. Zinc is an essential mineral that helps store and neutralize the allergic effects of histamine. Low levels of zinc in the body mean higher histamine and greater allergy problems.

2. Fruits (like apples, cherries, citrus fruits) and vegetables (like spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, cabbage) contain Quercetin, a pigment which gives them their colour. It counters the effect of histamine and reduces inflammation in the respiratory system.

3. Pineapples can keep allergies at bay because of the Bromelain they contain. Bromelain is an enzyme that works against allergies by reducing the hyperactivity of the immune system, and taking it back to the normal functioning mode. Allergic reactions subside as the immune system reduces its hyperactive behaviour.

4. Guavas, kiwis, citrus fruits, peppers and lemon contain Vitamin C, a common vitamin. Vitamin C changes the molecular structure of histamine, thus neutralizing its ill-effects.

You can actually have a sneeze-free spring. All you need to do is simply eat healthy!

Unabridged Source: Here

5. Carol's Tip: Try removing all milk products from your child's diet. 3-weeks later see if there is any different in their behaviour and health.

By learningclubs, Nov 13 2017 10:00AM

Jersey is a unique place. Our Island is also closely linked by culture, family, location and history to neighbours, near and far. The Jersey Curriculum is designed to ensure children and young people grow and learn as well educated citizens of our Island and the world. It is based on the new National Curriculum in England, adapted to reflect both our Island’s unique heritage and environment and the needs of the local economy.

The Jersey Curriculum provides an outline of core knowledge around which teachers in our schools develop exciting and stimulating lessons to promote the development of pupils’ knowledge, understanding and skills as part of the wider school curriculum.

English, mathematics and science remain very important and are considered the core subjects in both primary and secondary education. The Jersey Curriculum sets out in some detail what must be taught in each of these subjects and they will take up a substantial part of your child’s learning week.

Mathematics in Year 1

As children begin Year 1, schools will naturally work to build on the learning that takes place in the Reception year.

Number and Place Value

Place value is central to mathematics. Recognising that the digit ‘5’ in the number 54 has a different value from the number 5 or the ‘5’ in 504 is an important step in mathematical understanding.

English in Year 1

During the early years of compulsory schooling, much of the focus is to develop confident readers, mainly using the phonics approach. Many schools will follow a programme of phonics teaching, so it is well worth finding out from your child’s school if they have any parent support materials.

Phonics is the relationship between printed letters and the sounds they make. Children will first learn the most common letter sounds, and then look at more difficult patterns such as recognising that ‘ow’ sounds different in ‘cow’ than in ‘low’, or that both ‘ai’ and ‘ay’ make the same sound in different words

Mathematics in Year 2

During Key Stage 1, there is a big focus on developing basic number skills. That means securing a good understanding of place value, and recognising number bonds to 20. Practising these skills frequently will help children’s mathematical thinking throughout school.

Number bonds are essential to the understanding of maths. Children in Year 2 learn their number bonds to 20, that is being able to quickly recall the total of any two numbers up to 20, e.g. 5 + 9 = 14, rather than having to count on to find the answer.

English in Year 1

During the early years of compulsory schooling, much of the focus is to develop confident readers, mainly using the phonics approach. Many schools will follow a programme of phonics teaching, so it is well worth finding out from your child’s school if they have any parent support materials.

Phonics is the relationship between printed letters and the sounds they make. Children will first learn the most common letter sounds, and then look at more difficult patterns such as recognising that ‘ow’ sounds different in ‘cow’ than in ‘low’, or that both ‘ai’ and ‘ay’ make the same sound in different words

Mathematics in Year 3

During the years of lower Key Stage 2 (Year 3 and Year 4), the focus of mathematics is on the mastery of the four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) so that children can carry out calculations mentally, and using written methods. In Year 3 your child is likely to be introduced to the standard written column methods of addition and subtraction. Number and Place Value

English in Year 2

As children move through Key Stage 1, the new curriculum intends that almost all children will secure the basic skills of decoding so that they can become fluent readers. As their reading confidence grows they can begin to write their own ideas down.

Decoding is the ability to read words aloud by identifying the letter patterns and matching them to sounds. Once children are able to ‘decode’ the writing, they can then start to make sense of the words and sentences in context. Watch out for hard-to-decode words such as ‘one’ and ‘the’. These just have to be learned by heart.

English in Year 3 and Year 4

In lower Key Stage 2, your child will build on their work from Key Stage 1 to become more independent in both their reading and their writing. Most children will be confident at decoding most words – or will have extra support to help them to do so – and so now they will be able to use their reading to support their learning about other subjects. They will begin to meet a wider range of writing contexts, including both fiction and non-fiction styles and genres.

Alongside these are other familiar subjects, referred to as Foundation subjects in this guide: Art, Computing, Design and Technology, French, Geography, History, Music, PSHE (including Citizenship), Physical Education as well as Religious Education. Schools have more flexibility in what they cover in these subjects.

Early years Development Matters, a curriculum for under 5s covers the Early Years Foundation Stage (Nursery and Reception) in Jersey schools but also applies to private nurseries for younger children. It recognises how quickly children develop in the early years from birth and aims to give our youngest children the best possible start in life. Jersey recognises right a child has to to care and education that enables them to develop their personalities, talents and abilities whatever their ethnicity, culture or religion, home language, family background, learning difficulties, disabilities or gender. Development Matters sets out how each child should be given challenging and engaging opportunities in key areas.

These are Physical Development, Personal and Emotional Development and Communication and Language. It also covers Literacy, Mathematics, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design. The aim is to foster effective early learning through playing and exploring, active learning, creativity and thinking critically.

Your child’s progress at school was previously measured using Levels between 1 and 6. These are now out of date because the curriculum has changed so Jersey schools are developing a new system of assessment. Your school will be able to give you more detail about how they measure your child’s progress.

If your child is achieving well, the school will encourage them to study subjects in more depth and carry out investigative work to allow greater mastery and understanding of concepts and ideas.

High achievers If your child is achieving well, the school will encourage them to study subjects in more depth and carry out investigative work to allow greater mastery and understanding of concepts and ideas.

As a rule, they will not move to the following year group’s curriculum ahead of time.

By learningclubs, Nov 6 2017 12:33PM

Parent-teacher meetings provide a tremendous opportunity for you. Use the time wisely to gather practical information about your child’s performance and behaviour to enhance their learning experience.


* Pre-plan questions and write them down in a notebook

* Record the teacher’s responses

* Check each question off when answered

* Always ask for examples when words such as ‘better than the last term’, ‘much improved’, ‘having

difficulty’, ‘poor social skills’ – I think you get the idea.

* Be courteous to your child’s teacher. S/he is your advocate within the education system.

Your listening skills are a powerful tool to glean information. Ask questions for clarifications. If you are getting lost with all the information, consider asking for examples to gain clarification. A simple statement will alert the speaker that you are carefully listening and slow down. Let's remember that you are one of many, many parents that the teacher will speak to that day. Parent-teacher meetings are challenging and taxing for both the teacher and you, the parent.

The following provides a selection of questions that your child’s teacher will probably cover. There may not be enough time allotted to answer all questions, therefore, consider prioritising them. Ask the teacher if you can email unanswered questions or can a future meeting convenient to both parties be arranged.


1. What are my child’s strengths?

This is positive information to be celebrated with your child. Ask for specific examples. Of course, insights that the teacher provides are insights about both your child and also insights about the teacher. Responses to this question will indicate many things such as:

o How well do they know your child?

o How easily can they provide examples of praisable behaviours.

2. What are your areas of concern regarding my child?

This information may reflect some of your concerns. This is a good time to exchange insights and strategies that can be useful both at home and at school. You could explore following four points:

o How does my child interact with you?

The teacher’s response provides initial insight into their relationship with your child.

o Does my child follow instructions?

  Does your child listen to the teacher and follow instructions? Does she put work away when asked?

  Does she follow in a line or other rules as requested?

o How do you administer discipline?

  The consistency of disciplinary tactics between teacher and parent helps the child learn consequences and

avoids a child believing she can act differently with different authority figures.

o Does my child complete assigned work? 

  Does your child finish which she starts?

Further details include:

If she is asked to complete a project, does she finish it or become bored easily?

What is her attention span?

Can your child follow complex instructions (two or more steps...first this, then that)?

Note: Perhaps, your child needs additional explanation or prefers a particular teaching style. These discussions can help identify techniques to create success in both the classroom and home.

Your insights into your child’s behaviour, particularly strategies that work, will be helpful to share with the teacher.

4. What are my child’s strongest subjects? 

Responses can provide you with insights that may lead to further questions. For example: Why is my child strong in art but not reading? Why math but not creative writing?

o What is my child’s performance in comparison to same year students?

5. What skills should my child master by the school year end?

  While every child is different, there are essential skills and developmental milestones within each age

group. Use the key stages outlined on a previous report card as reference.

If you are confused by Key Stages, you are not alone. Ask us about them, and we can explain them in a future blog.

6. What is my child’s dominant learning style?

This question will grab every teacher’s attention. Remember to note if a specific learning modality is mentioned such as auditory (hearing), visual (seeing) or kinestheticPay particular attention to which learning modalities* are suggested (auditory/hearing, visual/seeing, kinesthetic/moving tactile/touching).

6. Describe my child’s social interaction in the classroom and how she handles social conflict.

o Does my child share with others?

o Does my child take turns?

The answer to this question helps parents to learn their child's basic social skills with same-age friends, particularly if the the child has no siblings for the parent to compare learning gains wtih.

o Does my child find a work partner in class/ in sports easily?

o Does my child work well within a small group contributing (giving and receiving information)?

o How does my child handle disappointment and stress? For example: Does she become upset when they

get the answer wrong.


Most students learn using all four modalities to understand their surrounding environment and learn from it. Commonly some modalities are more dominant and others weaker.

Examples: When the student is

o particularly good at remembering instructions said to him but has difficulty reading directions and following

through is an indication of an auditory learner.

o learns best when written instructions or explanations are provided is an indication of a visual learner.

o learns best when active on the sports field is an indication of a kinesthetic learner when making

something such as building a structure but does not excel in reading or listening for information this is an indication of a visual learner.

Learning modalities is a complex area to understand. Many people experience several dominant modalities rather than just one. Some experience a lovely integration of all. If you are concerned about your child's learning style, tell your child's teacher. Do they also have similar questions and concerns? If so, consider requesting an educational assessment.

Knowing how your child prefers to learn and to process information is essential. This information will help you to understand what are the best strategies to boost their learning style and learning potential both at school and at home.

In traditional classrooms, it is typical for information to be delivered verbally. A child will respond differently depending on their auditory skills to understand, assimilate and remember new information. Verbal delivery of information becomes the more typical style of teaching the older the student is. Visual, kinesthetic and tactile modalities also play critical roles in adolescent lives. Congratulation your child's teacher, if your child’s school experience incorporates all four learning styles.

By learningclubs, Oct 30 2017 10:43AM

Learning to read is probably the most important thing your son or daughter will do in reception (well, maybe equal with having fun!) but it won't all happen in class: parents need to help at home too.

Children learn to recognise all the letters of the alphabet in Reception, the idea being that any time they are faced with a letter they will be able to make the sound of that letter. 

At school children will be taught letter sounds with songs, games and activities, for example: a 'lucky dip' where they have to say the sound of a letter they have picked or matching an object to the letter that makes its initial sound. It is vital that they are confident with all their letter sounds before they move onto the next stage, which is putting sounds of letters together to make short words.

Whereas many of today's parents learned to read whole words using the 'look and say' method (think Ladybird's Janet and John series), phonics is a systematic approach to teaching children the sounds that make up words. Words are broken down into the sounds they're made up from and then these sounds are 'blended' together to make the word.

For example, with 'dog', children learn the sounds the letters d,o, and g make separately and then how they blend to say 'dog'.

A number of high-frequency words and tricky words are also learned in Reception; children are encouraged to learn these words "off by heart" as they're not always phonically decodable with the phonics skills they have.

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