World Mental Health Day
I have had quite a few conversations with learners this week about the stress of mock exams over the last two weeks. It is true – exams are stressful. However, mock exams, or any internal assessments for that matter, have a very different purpose compared to GCSE exams. I have been clarifying this purpose with our C11’s to help them to approach their mocks with the right frame of mind and, hopefully, a reduction in stress. The purpose of an internal assessment or mock exam is to support the teacher and learner to diagnose their learning. It enables both learner and teacher to understand where the learning has taken place and where there is a deficit. It enables the teacher to plan their teaching more effectively so that it meets the needs of each individual and it enables the learner to understand what learning they are already grasping with confidence and what learning they have quite ‘got’ yet.

There are some ways that families can help us to further mitigate stress during exam time. Learners need to ensure they arrive to assessments well rested, on time and with the appropriate equipment. Please support them with this.
Whilst I am on the theme of exam stress I would like to thank Miss McPhail for sharing the following article to ignite thinking around World Mental Health Day this week:

It’s nice to have a day to recognise mental health, however I feel this is something we should never lose sight of. For me, every day should be mental health day. For us as a community of learners, parents and staff our mental health is precious. Coming to school can take its toll on us and in some cases, consume us. We must all work together and support each other to maintain our wellbeing.

That is easier said than done when the demands made around us can easily get out of hand and spiral out of control, often leading to overwhelming feelings of negativity – mental health is never something to be ashamed about. The best thing to do is to talk to someone and not bottle things up. My door is always open to you all – learners, parents and staff. If you are ever having personal struggles that are affecting your wellbeing and mental health please let me know.

Learning reviews
This is a gentle reminder that we will be conducting our learning reviews on Monday 6th January. The office staff are currently busy putting together the schedule of appointments and will be writing to you shortly with an appointment slot. For those of you new to Honywood, the learning review is our alternative to the traditional parents evening. Rather than provide you with the opportunity to rush around grabbing a couple of minutes with each classroom teacher we get the learning group leader to do that for you so that they have a holistic overview of each learners progress. The meeting takes place with the learning group leader and will be led by the learner so that they take ownership of the process and the targets generated. I would like to thank families in advance for supporting us with the learning reviews.
I wish you all a safe and happy weekend.

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