The Christmas period is often a time of reflection. After all the challenges of the last 18 months, getting together to spend quality time with family and friends seems more important than ever this year. Kindness, listening, laughter, hugs – focusing on mental health suddenly seems so much more important than finding the latest gadget or gift under the tree on Christmas day. Happiness is going to be the theme of my festive break. 

So, I hear you say, what has this got to do with education and the choices ahead for you and your children?  

How might our team of friendly, expert Consultants be able to help and support you and your family with your education choices and challenges in the New Year? 
Catherine Stoker
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Here are a few thoughts from my experience of advising families, for approaching 2022 New Year’s. Our experts are here to help… 

5 Steps to Wellbeing for Children
READ HERE
Mental health 

Being available to talk and listen to your children enables you to check up simply on how they are doing. If issues at school arise, discuss how your child and, if you deem necessary you, are going to resolve them when school returns in January. Planning conversations with tutors, housemaster/mistress or even the Head might be necessary to get things back on track. Good communication between you and the school is a crucial part of your child’s success. It might be they are experiencing a challenge with a particular subject, so finding out about extra clinics or tutoring will help. It could be a pastoral issue with friendships so talking to your child about how to resolve this will help. Planning which activities to continue or start afresh in the New Year is a great way to make positive friendships and find new hobbies, interests and passions. Every child needs an opportunity to shine. Exploring opportunities is a great way to find yours. Our experts are here to help and we have a helpful blog linked to help with children’s wellbeing.

Subject choices  

For those embarking on GCSE or sixth form from September 2022, next term may well see your child choosing which subjects to study in the years ahead. Give this careful thought together as a family. Breadth of subjects at GCSE is important to keep options open for later. Sixth form is a big step up from GCSE and getting the subjects right is a crucial part of success and hence the next step after school. Our experts are here to help. 

Interviews for a boarding school place – 

The New Year may well involve up-coming interviews and testing for your boarding school place. Family time around the dinner table is a great opportunity for building confidence with conversation skills and critical thinking. Have fun talking about global issues and how you might solve them. Pick a passion, interest or hobby and take turns to talk about it for one minute.  

What are you going to do to change the world? –  a very popular interview question at the moment. Boarding schools are looking for children who have made the most of the challenge of virtual schooling and lockdown to develop a new interest, hobby, or passion. Gardening, bee keeping, computer coding, charity fundraising, fitness, painting – in place of the usual interview conversation about playing in a prep school sports team or singing in the school choir, there are a whole host of new and creative hobbies that have emerged from enforced home-schooling. How can your child show they used this time to develop as a person and to challenge themselves creatively? What did they find hard about lockdown and not seeing their friends in person? Our experts are here to help. 

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Change of school –

I am never a fan of changing school unless there is a strong, well-thought through reason for doing so. Solving what is going wrong is often easier than changing school so communicating with school about the issues should always be the first approach. There are times when changing school is the right thing to do. If you feel this is the case, get in touch so our experts can help you make the right school choice. Our experts are here to help. 

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Researching universities and courses

ahead of making a UCAS application in the Autumn of 2022. Applying to university should be a well-planned, well-researched, two-year process, not something you do at the last minute when the deadline is drawing near. University is a big investment so it’s important to get the choice right. You’ll be living there for at least three years so the fit must be right for you. Our experts are here to help. 

Whatever the age of your children, take time over the holidays to chat, listen and talk about school. Give your child the confidence and the skills to return to school in January ready to shine. If you need help with a change of school, interview confidence-building, planning university application, finding a tutor, or just need to talk through a challenge your child is facing at school, the first step to solving your challenge is to get in touch. Our team of expert education consultants are here to help. 

We are back in the office from 4th January, so will look forward to talking to you soon. 

Take care.  

Catherine Marx 

Founder, The Independent Education Consultants