Head Teacher’s Newsletter

Posted: 28th April 2023

Dear members of the Earlscliffe community,

 I hope this finds you well.  Here in Kent, we are looking forward to a weekend at a slightly different pace, as Monday is what is known in the UK as a Bank Holiday.  It means a national holiday, and there will be no lessons on that day.  With an extended weekend we have a chance for the students to relax, and those facing exams will be able to do some good solid revision.  The pattern is repeated next weekend.  As Saturday 6 May is the occasion of the coronation of His Majesty King Charles III, a national holiday has been declared on Monday 8 May.  If students would like to go and visit their family or guardian for a long weekend, they are welcome to do so.

As many of our students approach their exams, I thought I would write to you about how to encourage them in preparing.  Here are four ideas:

Plan each hour of the week meticulously.  Have some time off during the weekends and ‘earn’ time off during the evenings during the week, by having a clear break between work and relaxation.  That way, students can put in a real shift, and feel they have prepared well, but also not feel guilty when they do put their pens down and relax with friends and hobbies.  Working very late at night brings limited returns as exhaustion defeats efficiency.

Sleep and nutrition.  Research shows that students between the ages of 15 and 19 need at least eight hours of sleep each night.  Eat well and regularly of a high quality diet.

Study smart.  At Earlscliffe, students follow the advice of The Learning Scientists who have done excellent work researching how we learn best.  Highlighting does not work; reading a book and copying it out does not work; flashcards – unless used properly – do not work.  The website www.learningscientists.org has lots of simple, brief resources which lay out clearly and simply what will work, with every student, every time.  There are six key techniques – six alone – and using them will make a difference.  

Finally, all of our students know that we are here to support them if they suffer any exam anxiety.  Performance anxiety before a significant challenge, like a public speech, or sports match, or dance recital, is a natural and positive response to stress.  It helps us take the event seriously, and aids high performance.  When anxiety becomes too much, that is the time to ask for help from me and my colleagues.  The first things we will ask are as outlined above: Are you planning your time well?  Are you sleeping and eating well? Are you revising effectively?  Beyond that, we have lots of suggestions to relieve anxiety and will be delighted to help. 

I hope a combination of work and rest and play will make the final run into the exams a positive one.

This message, as ever, comes with my very best wishes.

Joss Williams, Head Teacher

Categories: General News Head Teacher's Newsletter