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Helping Your Child Succeed

As a school, we ask for feedback on the school at least twice a year, once in November and once in June. We take all feedback very seriously indeed. After the latest survey (November 2019), it is clear that some parents would appreciate more feedback on how to support their child at home. The following guidance should be considered in full. As ever, if you have concerns about your child’s academic performance or overall wellbeing, please contact the school through enquiries@merciaschool.com.

Our view - and it has been shown to work in the best schools in the country and abroad - is that, over time, almost all learners (not just most) can pick up excellent learning habits for themselves and will end up happier, better qualified and more successful. From the first day at Mercia School, your child is expected to learn and maintain a wide range of excellent learning habits. Parents and carers play a crucial role in supporting their child to maintain these excellent working habits:

Helping your child academically by:
  1. Visiting our curriculum page here which will help you find out what topics are coming up in each subject. The school library has books to support with additional reading.
  2. Testing your child and quizzing them using the knowledge organisers is hugely beneficial. It will help your child remember more knowledge in the long term.
  3. Completing any homework set to a high standard. Help your child by building time in to their day to complete the work. Support by providing help and guidance as required.
  4. Informing the school if your child expresses a difficulty in school. If they are struggling in a class, we want to know about it.
  5. Supporting pupils during assessment weeks. Assessments are nothing to worry about. Parents should encourage pupils to revise, stay calm and simply do their best. That is all the school expects.
  6. Encouraging pupils to practice. Pupils should practice their reading, mathematical skill, handwriting, ability to remember powerful knowledge and to write extensively. Parents could set spelling tests, mathematical quizzes, quick subject quizzes and provide rewards accordingly.
  7. Attending any meeting called by the school to support your child’s progress. These include any Accelerated Learning meetings, showcases and all parents’ evenings. The school will write to you if additional meetings arise.
Helping your child develop their numeracy skills by:
  1. Making sure your child masters the basics. Knowing the basics is fundamental to mathematical success. Pupils should log on to TT Rock Stars (http://ttrockstars.com/) each evening and practise their proficiency in multiplication tables.
  2. Encouraging your child to complete more practise in the most crucial skills of addition and subtraction if they are not yet confident. We would encourage them to use NumBots (http://numbots.com/). Their login details are the same as for TT Rock Stars.
  3. Helping your child to practise previously covered topics. Your children have booklets from previous units and can re-do the exercises in these to practise until fluent in the main skills.
  4. Being positive! If your child is not yet confident with their mathematics, don't worry – all children are making good progress and will succeed.
  5. Asking your child what they have been covering recently and seeing if they can teach it to you. This will consolidate their knowledge and skills as well as giving you a chance to ask them questions!
Helping your child READ MORE BY:
  1. Insisting that your child reads for 30 minutes every evening. This amount is as the bare minimum expected, parents and carers must ensure this happens every single day. Good routines are essential.
  2. Supporting them to comprehend their reading by asking them questions about the book in question. Support your child by being really positive about reading - it's a fantastic use of time! It can also be really beneficial to read newspapers and create family reading time. Reading credible news online may also be suitable. 
  3. Considering credible magazine subscriptions. Some non-fiction magazines are really informative and subscriptions ensure that your child will continually read.  
  4. Encouraging your child to select books through us. We can then check if they are appropriate. When reading independently, a text needs to have the right amount of challenge to ensure readers can be challenged but also supported.
  5. Supporting your child to find a book that excites and intrigues them. The school wants pupils to read for pleasure and leisure. The school library is available to all pupils and we are happy to advise.
  6. Encouraging your child to tackle the school’s reading list (see below). We would expect all pupils to tackle the majority of these wonderful books during their time at Mercia School.
  7. Asking yourself the question - is my child reading everyday? 

Useful websites:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news

https://schoolreadinglist.co.uk/resources/magazines-and-newspapers-for-children-and-teenagers/

https://www.tes.com/news/100-fiction-books-all-children-should-read-leaving-secondary-school-according-teachers

The best of what has been written:

  • 1984, Animal Farm -   George Orwell
  • To Kill a Mocking Bird - Harper Lee
  • Of Mice and Men -  John Steinbeck
  • A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
  • Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
  • The Catcher in the Rye -  J D Salinger
  • Pride and Prejudice -  Jane Austen
  • The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas -  John Boyne
  • Wonder - RJ Palacio
  • A Kestrel for a Knave -  Barry Hines
  • The Book Thief -  Marcus Zusak
  • The Kite Runner -   Khaled Hosseini
  • Private Peaceful – Michael Morpurgo
  • War Horse -   Michael Morpurgo
  • A Monster Calls -  Patrick Ness
  • Starseeker -  Tim Bowler 
  • Noughts and Crosses -  Malorie Blackman
  • Fahrenheit 451 -  Ray Bradbury
  • Skellig -  Davis Almond
  • The Fault in our Stars -  John Green
  • On the Road -  Jack Kerouac
  • Heroes -  Robert Cormier
  • Forever -  Judy Blume
  • Coram Boy -  Jamila Gavin
  • Stone Cold -  Robert Swindells
  • The Time Machine -  HG Wells
  • Jane Eyre -  Charlotte Bronte
  • Treasure Island -  Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Twelve Years a Slave -  Solomon Northup
  • The Woman in Black -  Susan Hill
  • On the Origin of the Species -  Charles Darwin
  • Selected Poems -  Robert Burns
  • Songs of Innocence/ Experience -  William Blake
  • Lyrical Ballads -  William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • Wonderful adventures of Mrs Seacole -  Mary Seacole
  • Catch 22 -  Joseph Heller
  • Sherlock Holmes -  Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Looking for JJ -  Anne Cassidy
  • Lord of the Flies -  William Golding
  • The Tulip Touch - Ann Fine
  • I’m King of the Castle -  Susan Hill
  • The Diary of a Young Girl -  Anne Frank
  • Nelson Mandela -  Kadir Nelson
  • Goodbye to All That -  Robert Graves
  • Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave - Frederick Douglass
  • The Interpretation of Dreams - Sigmund Freud
  • A Brief History of Time -  Stephen Hawkins
  • Empire of the Sun – J G Ballard
  • Face - Benjamin Zephaniah
  • Little Women -  Louisa May Alcott
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy -  Douglas Adams
  • I am David -  Anne Holme
  • The Outsiders - E S Hinton
Helping your child be organised BY:
  1. Arranging a bedroom or shelf with labels so that your child can organise books effectively if they take any home with them.
  2. Providing a secure space to keep all school resources. All booklets will be sent home at the end of each unit and these must be kept safely. Under no circumstances are books to be thrown away.
  3. Helping your child organise themselves before they leave home. Do they have the following things:
  • Locker key
  • Full school uniform
  • PE kit, if applicable
  • Any books they have taken home which they need for a lesson that day
  • Water bottle and any additional fruit
  • School bag
  • Warm clothing during the winter
Helping your child have a work/life balance by:
  1. Limiting and controlling your child’s use of social media. Social media can have a very negative impact on a child’s self-esteem, confidence and communication skills. We actively encourage parents/carers to take robust action to ensure pupils do not become obsessed or reliant on social media.
  2. Taking your child’s mobile phone at bedtime and limiting time on games consoles. This will help your child manage a good night’s rest before the next school day. No screen time one hour before bed is a minimum expectation.
  3. Helping your child find a hobby that allows them to express themselves positively outside of school. If your child is an enthusiastic singer, they could join a choir. If they are a budding sportsperson, they should join a competitive team.