Author Archives: StudyBox

Be Supportive on Exam Results Day

exam reults

How to support your child on exam results day

The run-up to exam results day can prove to be an anxious time for your children, and for parents, it is just as stressful. It is a good idea to prepare for the day ahead, here are a few things that you can do to support your child:

Don’t put pressure on them.

Try to avoid putting unnecessary pressure on your child in regards to gaining certain grades. Whatever results they get, they will have a lot to think about and it’s important to remind your child not to panic and that there are always options available. Before the results even come out be sure to re-enforce how proud you are of the effort they have put in.

Find distractions

On the run up to the day it is mostly likely your child may be feeling very anxious, having acknowledged how they are feeling it would be helpful to find some distractions. You could take trips during the day or encourage them to take part in an activity, making sure they have something to keep their mind off results day is key!

Make a plan

Regardless of your child’s results they are going to need a plan on what their next steps will be, sit down with them and make a plan A and a plan B. Plan A can be the next steps if their grades are what they wanted and plan B can be if they receive unexpected results. Although,  you may not want to think about a plan B it is good to have one in place, so your child feels a sense of reassurance if all does not go to plan on the day.

Be supportive

This is the most important of all, let your child know that you are there for them no matter what the outcome is on the day. Your child might want space on results day and that’s okay, just let them know that you are there for them when they are ready to talk.

Be prepared for your GCSE exams! Click here.

For more information about how StudyBox tuition can help your child, visit our website

Danielle Reid

Why is Science Important?

Science learn

Why is Science Important to learn?

Science is everywhere in our day to day lives.  It can help to answer all those questions children ask, like ‘Why does the moon appear during daylight?’ and ‘How do aeroplanes stay up in the sky?’ Science helps children to learn how and why things happen in the world.

Why should children learn Science?

Encouraging your children to learn science will help them to uncover new beneficial discoveries in the future and develop their knowledge as these skills will be used to prepare for GCSE exams and SATs.

Contents of science

Science is divided into 3 categories such as; Biology (the study of living organisms), Chemistry (investigations of reactions) and Physics (the study of nature and properties of matter and energy).

Science at School

Science is studied in detail starting from KS4 (Year 10). StudyBox provides teaching and learning experiences starting from KS3 to enable children to achieve the highest possible standards at GCSE level.

What methods we use to teach

  • Teaching topics using a whiteboard
  • Verbal Class quizzes
  • Written Exams
  • Various levels of Worksheets
  • Encouraging students to make revision notes in diverse ways (revision cards, booklets)
  • Interactive Science Education videos

After learning science and continuous practice, many students show positive progress and attain better results. We consistently encourage the development of their scientific skills and attitudes to provide lifelong learning.

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Make sure you’re prepared for your GCSEs! Click Here.

New Times Tables Test for Year 4 Students

Year 4 times table test

New Times Tables Test

What is it?

The government have introduced the multiplication check to help ensure that children know their times tables up to 12 off by heart. The test will take place in Year 4 and takes no longer than 5 minutes. It will allow teachers to recognise where children need support to ensure they leave primary school with a secure grasp of fundamental arithmetic as a foundation for maths.

Why are times tables important?

Knowing their tables will allow children to confidently solve problems quickly during lessons and later on in life. As we all know, times tables are crucial in everyday life. From working out quantities of ingredients when baking to calculating the currency exchange rate when going on holiday!

Encouraging your child to learn tables

The best way for a child to learn their times tables is lots of repetition and lots of practice. Try and incorporate learning their tables into your child’s everyday life. Times such as driving to and from school and meal times are great opportunities to ask your child times tables questions. You can also turn it into a fun game and challenge your child to see how many they can get right in a certain amount of time! For children who love screen time, there are lots of apps available on iPads and tablets that use fun, interactive games to help with times tables. There are also lots of videos on YouTube that teach times tables using catchy songs.

Here is an example of a “catchy times tables” song on YouTube. Click Here.

How can we help?

Here at StudyBox, we set aside 5-10 minutes of each maths lesson for students to learn and practise their tables. We have a variety of online programmes and worksheets to support children when learning their times tables as well as opportunities to practise under timed conditions.

Make learning fun! Click here.

Sophie Lambert,
Tutor at StudyBox

5 Ways You Can Encourage Your Child to Read

Encouraging Your Child to Read

1. English Reading Skills

Reading is a vital skill for children to learn as they’re going to need it in their everyday life. Even if they’re not reading books, your child will have to read instructions on the board at school and on test papers. Not being able to read can often make children feel isolated from peers and create low self-esteem. However, if you keep encouraging your children to read, it can expand their imagination as well as their vocabulary and grammar – as well as improve their spelling. Books are a great way to do this as they provide engaging stories and expose children to different sentence types and vocabulary that they can use in their own writing.

2. How to encourage reluctant students

Some students are reluctant to read as they find it boring and difficult. To help combat this issue it is often helpful to start reading books with interesting covers, with pictures that are about stories they recognise or that friends are already reading.

For example, a book many children want to read is the Harry Potter series. This is because it is a well-known story that many other children they know have read, as well as having movies that children have often already seen. These types of books are then more accessible to children.

3. What if that doesn’t work?

If books like this still don’t gain your child’s interest, it can often help to choose a book to read together. You can then take turns reading a paragraph each or each reading a different character’s part. This is something I do when my students are reluctant to read as it makes them feel like they are reading less and makes the activity more engaging.

Here’s a more recent blog post about how to improve a child’s concentration. Click Here.

4. Understanding what they’ve read

Understanding what they have read is an important skill that children will need, especially when they begin taking exams. To make sure your child has understood what they’ve read it can be a good idea to ask them questions after they have read each chapter – this can be done straight after they’ve read it or a little while afterwards. The more they remember over a period of time the more you know that they have understood what they’re reading.

Another relevant blog about the importance of reading skills! Click Here.

5. Progress over time

At StudyBox students are often encouraged to complete comprehensions during the lesson – something they will have to do in their SATs in year 2 and 6. The students who read at home often find the comprehensions easier to complete. This increases the child’s confidence in their own abilities as they know that this is a task that they can complete well.

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We continue to write engaging blogs, weekly. Click Here.

Annabel Yates,
English Tutor at StudyBox

Understanding the new GCSEs:

Understanding the new GCSEs: What you need to know

What exactly are the new GCSEs?

We’ve all heard about or are experiencing first hand the recent reforms to the education system, starting with the way in which 16-year-olds are tested at the end of year 11.

Teens are being challenged like never before, so it is important to know how the new GCSEs work, to understand what students are experiencing this summer.

Why did the government change them?

The government wanted to make these changes so that the new GCSEs would be more ‘demanding and challenging’ for students. The new, two-year course aligns more with the essay based, analytical and evaluative skills needed at A-level. This is better preparing students for their future.

It also makes tests ‘fairer’, the government argues, through the limited coursework, there is across the curriculum. Previously, coursework has been varied and dependent on the school’s teaching methods. This way, everyone has the same chance at the end of two years to show their skills off in an exam.

Why did the grading system change?

The government changed the grading system to give more opportunity for students of all abilities to achieve higher. Students may now achieve a standard or a strong pass, allowing those who achieved a grade C under the old system to be rewarded a higher grade. Similarly, higher achieving students can now strive further for something higher than an A*, so a level 9 was created.

What’s changed?

Firstly, grades are different. Instead of A*-U grades, they have been replaced with 9-1, where nine is the highest grade achievable. A grade 9 will be harder to achieve than an A* and, now, both a grade 4 and 5 is viewed as a pass. A 4 will be a standard pass and a 5 will be a strong pass. Pupils will need to re-take English Language and Maths exams in the next years if they don’t achieve a 4 or above.

Coursework is also different too. Only in subjects where it is crucial to show skill, such as drama and dance. This makes the final exam at the end of the two-year course more important than ever.

Other changes will include compulsory double or triple science (foundation or higher), a single science will no longer be available.

What to expect?

One thing to remember in the face of the new GCSEs is that we are all in this together. This is new to every parent; student and teacher so don’t panic!

Prepare for an exam in whichever way is best for you; be it flashcards, posters, past papers or any other way that makes you comfortable. Little and often is always good when revising, and be sure to take necessary breaks.

Remember, you have a great long summer ahead of you, which will make the work you put in now all the more worthwhile!

You can read more about this topic on the AQA website. Click Here.

Harriet Nokes,
GCSE Tutor at StudyBox

Why not contact your local StudyBox GCSE tuition centre for a Free Trial.

More important GCSE information. Click Here.


Encouraging Creative Writing

Why creative writing is important

Creative writing is important for children to learn as it promotes imagination and helps them to write in a structured and organised style. These skills will help when they have to take exams – such as their SATs and GCSE’s.

How they’ll use it outside of the classroom

Creative writing isn’t just about writing stories; it also involves writing letters, instructions and persuasive pieces, just to name a few.
These are skills they can use later on when writing CVs for future jobs or for composing emails to future bosses.

Getting started

Not every child enjoys creative writing and many are reluctant at first. To combat this, I let the students choose what type of writing they want to complete, (fables, myths, traditional stories, letters, instructions or explanations). This helps to get the child excited about working on the piece and gets them involved.

However, some children are so reluctant that they don’t want to choose anything. If this is the case, I ask them what they’re already doing at school and choose the type of writing that best matches this.        

Planning pieces of writing

Children don’t often want to plan their writing and are more interested in starting their work straight away. The benefit of encouraging the child to plan is that it helps them to organise their ideas and to know exactly what they are going to write about.

To help children plan, I write down prompt questions on the planning sheets that come with the task, e.g.

  •  how does your character feel?
  • What does the setting look like?
  • Why did they behave like that? This helps the child to think about what they’re writing and increases the amount of detail they include.

Maintaining enthusiasm

When working on one type of writing children can become frustrated and bored. To avoid this, we use different types each week that help them write in different styles for the same topic. For example, in myths, they can complete a character plan one week and a poster, diary entry or a report about that character the next week. This prevents students from feeling like they’re just doing the same thing every week and keeps them interested in their own pieces of work as it keeps evolving.

Progress over the term

One of my current students was very reluctant to complete creative writing tasks as he didn’t enjoy it and found it boring. However, after weeks of working on his writing, he has started to enjoy creating his own stories and even does them at home and brings them in for us to read. He likes coming up with characters – especially villains – and is currently working on his use of description in sentences. He is just one example of a student who has progressed well in creative writing during his lessons at StudyBox.

Check out our blog which explains the importance of reading. Click here!

For a free trial at one of our StudyBox Tuition centres, click here.

How to prepare for Mock Exams. Click Here.

Annabel Yates
English Tutor, StudyBox

The Importance of Education

Importance of Education in 2017

The Importance of Education

In a fast-changing world where the most valuable skill you have is your knowledge, a good education is no longer just required, it’s essential.

The future of Jobs

Every day we hear about new inventions such as driverless cars and AI robots that can answer questions and solve problems.
These new inventions eliminate the need for humans to perform these tasks.
Many current jobs will soon vanish leaving those without adequate education struggling to find employment without going back to school.

The parent’s role

The need for our children to expand their ability to think and learn new skills has become an essential goal for most parents.
Teaching our children, the importance of learning starts at home.
We can encourage them to seek out and explore topics they are passionate about and foster an inquisitive personality.

Learning for life

Learning is not just about teaching children the curriculum. It is a process of experiences that lead them to the great “aha” moments of life.
It’s important to teach children to learn from their mistakes and remove the emphasis of getting things right the first time.
Most things in the real world come from trial and error, therefore we should encourage our children to try many different approaches.

Core Skills

There is always going to be a need for core skill in English Maths and Science.

English helps us to use our imagination and creativity. It gives us essential skills, reading and writing, and how to communicate effectively.

Maths teaches us skills such as problem solving, analysing data, communication & logical thinking.
Simple maths skills are used every day in shopping, baking, journey planning and driving.

Science teaches skills through conducting experiments and forming conclusions, and this encourages the brain to think independently and outside the box. You can learn more about the importance of Science, here.

For more information on how to help your children achieve their full potential, visit our website.

It can be hard adjusting from Primary school to Secondary school. Click here. 

Ways to expand your child’s vocabulary

Ways to expand your child’s vocabulary

Ways to expand your child’s vocabulary

It is common that children learn quicker than Adults. A child’s vocabulary expands as they grow but, there are some simple ways to speed things up and help them gain an advantage.

You can very easily incorporate these little activities in everyday life to help with this process.

New day, new word

The fun thing about kids being quick learners is that you can teach them new things every day. You should aim to teach them a new word every day. The way you can do this is by making sure they see or read the word a few times that day. For example, you can write the word on a sticky note and paste it on the fridge or on a mirror. Every time they go to get a snack or to look at themselves, a glance at that word will help them remember it.


Now that your child knows a new word, it is important that you teach them its proper use and meaning too. Otherwise, the word won’t be of any benefit. There are many ways you can do this. For some children, it could be as simple as reading out the meaning from a dictionary. However, that wouldn’t be very effective because the child is likely to forget the meaning a few days later.

An easier way can be to describe the word through a story. Make connections with the meaning of the words. Try to paint an image in your child’s mind so that every time they think of that specific word, they get a picture in their mind and hence, they will be able to use the word with its proper meaning. Give relatable examples. When you see a real-life example of the word, show it your child. All these little tips will engrave the word along with the meaning in your child’s brain.

Reading or listening

At first, you might prefer using easy words so it’s easier for them to understand. Change this and start using ‘grown-up’ words with them. At first, they might be confused but they will try to figure out the meaning. If it’s hard for them to understand, you can explain that hearing new words in everyday sentences would make it easier for them to know how to use a word properly.

Upgrade the bedtime stories. Buy books for older children that will have new words. Otherwise, you can use the same old stories but try incorporating new words. Since your child will be used to listening to the story, he/she will know the actual meaning. This way when they will hear a new word, they would still understand but at the same time, learn something new.

Expanding your child’s vocabulary is a very simple task. You only need to start adding effort to everyday activities.

For more information please book a Free trial at your local StudyBox Tuition centre.

Help your child with their spelling! Click Here.

How to prepare for the SATs

Prepare for sats exams

How to prepare for the SATs

SATs exams are taken by year 2 and year 6 students. It helps the students, as well as the parent, know where the child stands. Along with this the more important role of these SATs is that it judges the school in comparison with the National Curriculum to find out how the school is performing. SATs help maintain a quality education throughout all primary schools.

SATs have developed a pretty intimidating image. However, it is not a very difficult test. You can easily help your child ace it with little effort.

What the test is about

SATs for primary students take place during May. This means your child would appear for the exam during the summer term in school. It will be a basic level test that would test the knowledge your child learnt at school.

The exam has two parts. One of these is held at year 2, when the children are aged 6-7 years. Second part of the tests is in year 6 when the children 10-11 years old. For both these exams, the contents include English grammar, English reading and Mathematics.

You don’t need to especially worry about preparing your child for these particular exams. In fact it will be better if you don’t spend extra time teaching them before the exam. This way you can find out the accurate results of how much your child learnt by their own in school. If you want your child to score good in the SATs, make sure you help them throughout the years every single day. Help them understand concepts when they learn them. Making them cram a few days before SATs just so they score good will not be an effective method of teaching. Secondly, since the results will also be a representation of the school performance, the school teachers will provide most of the preparation material and help.

If you want to help your child, you should incorporate activities in everyday habits like mental math games, story reading, etc. Try to help your child learn new words. To prevent your child from panicking during the SATs, make them attempt past papers that you find online.

What do the results imply

Firstly, you should not worry about bad results. It will not affect your child’s admission procedures in the future. The exam’s sole purpose is to find out how well the school teaches and how much your child learns. It will be a comparison of same aged children who would have received similar education up till this point. If your child scores badly, it would mean you need to help them cope up since they are lagging behind the rest of their mates.

The result is calculated in such a way that a score below 100 would mean below average performance in that particular section. Similarly, a score above hundred would indicate over average performance where as a score of 100 will show that your child’s performances is as expected at this age.

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Have you heard about the changes within SATs and GCSE? Click here.

Year 1 Phonics test

Phonics test

Year 1 Phonics test: All you need to know

A phonic screening test is a type of test that is conducted to evaluate whether a child has learned phonic decoding or not. This will be done by comparing the results to a specified standard. The results of the test will also highlight the children who still need helps for the improvement in their skills. Support will be provided by the government or the parents to that children. However, if the child passes it, it will mean that they have a detailed understanding of the phonics.

The phonics test was introduced and implemented in June 2012. The test is designed in a way that it effectively highlights the current phonic information of the child. Teachers and parents will be able to know whether the child is progressing at a satisfied pace or not.

What is included in a phonics check?

The phonics check consists of two different sections. These sections contain 40 words check as a whole that are asked to assess the current knowledge related to phonics. Also, it will highlight the knowledge attained through the reception and year 1. The child will have to read four different words from a single page to the teacher to complete the test.

There is a common question in the minds of parents related to the compulsion and the type of phonic check. The answer to this question is, it is not a formal process of analyzing the abilities of your child. Instead, it is used to analyze the skill or learning level of the child. This is done just to make sure that they are performing up to the mark. Before the start of the activity, children will be asked to practice few words so that they can have a better understanding of the activity which will be carried out.

The focus of phonic check:

The phonics check is conducted to check certain points which are explained below:

  • Whether your child is able to sound out and blend graphemes to read simple words.
  • Whether they can read a selection of nonsense words. These words are also referred to as pseudowords sometimes.
  • Whether they are able to read phonically decodable one and two syllable word. For example, sand, cat, windmill etc.

The inclusion of nonsense and pseudowords:

The phonics check includes some words that are nonsense and pseudo. These are basically those type of words that are decodable i.e. there is no meaning attached to them and they are not the actual words e.g. snorb or brip. The pseudo-words or the nonsense words are included into the test to analyze whether the child can recognize them or not. They are usually shown to the kids with a picture of a monster and they have to tell their teacher about the details of the monster.

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Want to learn more about Phonics and Sound Patterns? Click here.