The Library is a vibrant centre of information, allowing students full access to both resources and quiet study areas. There is full School Wi-Fi access available to all for online study and research using laptops provided to all students.
The School enjoys a well-stocked library (c.9000 items) run by a full-time, qualified School Librarian. Alongside a wide-ranging selection of fiction to encourage reading for pleasure, all GCSE subjects are supported by an extensive range of up-to-date non-fiction and information material. Themed reading lists are available to assist the direction of independent study: our comprehensive collection of newspapers and magazines covers many subjects of personal interest as well as academic topics.
Members of staff are happy to support independent study and to help with revision at all times, and Examination Board specific revision guides and study aids are available both for loan and as reference copies.
A separate Careers Library supports the School’s provision of independent and inclusive careers advice. Old Dukies return to the School every Spring, representing a variety of industries at the School’s annual Careers Fair organised by The Dukies’ Association (TDA). A series of scheduled talks through the year welcome back old Dukies to share their experiences and serve to inspire and motivate our senior students. We encourage students to organise work experience in their long holidays.
School Librarian & Chaplain: Mr Stephen King
Top ten tips for parents
Exams are undoubtedly nerve-racking for children and their parents. Fraught mums and dads watch over their children during the holidays and wonder to what degree they should be helping. So, with that in mind, here are our top ten tips on how to help children to revise effectively.
- Encourage your child to make a revision timetable if they have not already done so – and stick to it. Five days each week for six hours a day (with plenty of breaks) would seem sensible. By getting into an excellent routine, they will feel less stress. Too much stress and the brain goes into ‘flight, fight or freeze’ mode and little learning will take place.
- Make sure your child has a quiet space to work, with few distractions. Hidden away in a bedroom with their phone is perhaps not the best idea. The kitchen or dining room table perhaps better! Their phone is for breaks.
- Your child will have been given plenty of methods for effective revision. Just making and reading notes is rarely that effective. Attempting to answer questions and researching the information that they could not recall, then answering the questions again would be better. Recalling information will only get them so far. Synthesising the information they know into coherent arguments or statements will give them access to higher marks! In Mathematics, knowing the circle theorems is one thing. Being able to solve the more complex problems is another. In English, knowing a sequence of events in Macbeth is important, but developing analysis and exploring writer’s methods in relation to key contexts is vital to obtain those higher grades.
In Science recalling the facts is helpful but, the higher marks will come from giving clear explanations and applying knowledge to different contexts.
- Check the exam specifications. All exam boards publish these, along with practice papers and mark schemes too. Your children will have completed many past/mock papers and this year may also have a better idea of which topics are to be on which papers.
- Your child will have access to many revision websites, most of which are subject specific. They can use these to clarify areas they feel less confident about. Teenagers sometimes concentrate on their best subjects/topics and leave their weaker ones till the end but, it is a good idea to tackle weak areas early on.
- Be around as much as possible. You don’t have to be at their side 24/7 but, children like parents taking an interest in their revision (but not taking over).
- Keep the kitchen cupboard stocked with delicious food. When the going gets tough children really appreciate a cup of tea, a plate of biscuits or their favourite meal.
- Encourage them to break revision into manageable chunks and to take regular breaks in between revision sessions. It’s far more effective to do 30 minutes of successful revision – rather than plough on for hours on end and not get anywhere. This is backed up by research by academics at the University of Sheffield who found that learning is more effective when spread out over stretches of time.
- Exercise, fresh air, healthy food and lots of sleep are crucial. They should have one or two days off revision each week. They should keep off their screens at least one hour before bedtime and relax.
- Most important of all, help your child to keep everything in perspective. Remind them that the better they prepare and the more confident they feel in their subject knowledge the less stressed they will feel when the exams start. But by the end of June the examinations will be over, and it will be the start of the long summer holidays.
They need to understand that come results day they should have no regrets about the time they did or didn’t spend preparing for their examinations.