How can I support my child’s learning at home?


Children and young people always do better at school when parents / carers support their learning at home.  As our children and young people move through the various stages of secondary education, they need to be able to take increasing personal responsibility for their own learning.

It is therefore vitally important that they develop good habits and routines for learning at home at an early age.  You can support them to do this in the following ways:


  • Create a quiet area for home learning, study and filing and storing notes and other resources / equipment which support learning.


  • Monitor your child’s homework diary.  Pupils are encouraged to enter homework tasks on the date the work is due.  Please help them to get into the habit of recording homework in their diary in a consistent way.


  • Monitor the quality of your child’s homework and instil in them the desire to produce their best work at all times.


  • Support your child to manage their time and meet the deadlines set for homework.  In a large secondary school, teachers are not always aware of the homework being set in departments other than their own.  This could mean that several pieces of work are due around the same time.  Young people must learn to manage their time to ensure that all tasks are completed by the due date.


  • Help them to get organised for the next day by checking their timetable and ensuring they have the appropriate equipment, homework etc for the day ahead.


  • When examinations are due, support your child to develop a study timetable which will allow them to plan their study over the weeks before the examination and also plan time for relaxation and healthy leisure activities (see below for further advice).


  • Develop your child’s thinking skills through discussion: For example, support them to develop the skills of decision making, problem solving, analysing, evaluating and creating.


  • Listen, talk and encourage your child to talk to you about what they are learning and what you can do at home to build on that.


  • Help your child to identify their strengths in learning as well as their areas that require further development. Remember that research indicates that all of us have multiple intelligences.  Everyone will have areas of strength and areas that require extra work.  If young people are to become independent learners they need the self-discipline to address areas of weakness in learning and the resilience to face the challenges that learning can bring.


  • Strongly encourage your child to read.  The ability to read well is vital if they are to access all areas of learning and the curriculum.


  • Look for opportunities at home to develop literacy and numeracy skills: money, number, problems, time, measuring, matching, size, reading, writing, understanding instructions, questioning information.


  • Encourage your child to take part in activities e.g.  hobbies, clubs which will provide opportunities to develop a range of skills both in school and in the wider community.


  • Help them work on tasks on their own and then talk about it with you afterwards.


  • Do things together where appropriate – learn together e.g. if your child has a project or task to do, take an interest and discuss with them what he/she is doing or offer support if this is needed.


  • Help prepare for change, particularly at key transitions such as the move from primary to secondary school, from the Broad General Education to the Senior Phase and from school to further study or work – talk about and plan the change together.


  • Work together with the school by taking part in discussions about your child’s learning and progress e.g. by attending parents nights, special information evenings for parents, Family Support Clinics etc.


  • Contact the Principal Teacher of a subject department if your child is experiencing difficulties with learning in one subject. If children and young people are to become independent learners you could also encourage them to find alternative ways to improve their understanding, e.g. by conducting research on the internet, by asking a friend for help etc.


  • Contact your child’s Guidance teacher if they are experiencing difficulties with learning across several subjects.



How can I help my child to study for examinations?


Regular attendance throughout the year will help to ensure that your child keeps up with course work and homework.  If they do fall behind, through illness perhaps, please contact the school to seek support which can help them catch up.


Talking to your child to reassure and encourage them and taking an interest in what they are doing will help them get through what can be a stressful time and will help them to do their best.


1. Managing their time


  • Encourage your child to start revision in good time to avoid cramming and panic.


  • Help your child to plan a realistic timetable of study for each subject.  Your son / daughter will have received advice and support on developing a study timetable at school as well as finding the right study techniques which suit their learning style. (Download study timetable template)  A weekly revision planner is available on the Student Life BBC website.


2. Getting organised


  • Talk to your child and help them decide on a quiet area at home where they can study with the least distractions. Make sure that the materials and equipment they need eg pens, pencils, paper, notebooks and past papers are at hand in this study area.  (Past papers are available from the school (Subject departments) and the SQA website).


  • Monitor your child’s progress in studying.  Parents often tell us that their son / daughter tells them they are studying when in fact they are distracted by other things such as social networking.  You can monitor their progress by asking to see the study notes, diagrams, mind maps or posters they are developing to help them learn.  You can check to see if they have completed past paper questions issues for homework.


  • Ensure that snacks and water are close by to prevent any unnecessary distractions and make sure the study area is warm and well lit.


  • Speak to the rest of the family, particularly younger members, about respecting this study area and as far as possible trying to avoid interrupting.


  • If it is difficult to study at home perhaps your child could make use of the local library.


  • Encourage your child to get their notes in order for each subject before starting.  Having notes organised into topic areas for each subject is a helpful starting point.


  • Check the dates of each exam and keep a record of them somewhere you can see them easily.  We will give your child an exam timetable for each set of examinations.  You can access the full exam timetable on the SQA website. Your child can also use the SQA Personal Timetable Builder facility to create their own timetable.  The mobile timetable builder is now available for most Java-based mobile phones along with those using Google Android and IOS (iPhone).  Remember: sometimes an exam is on a public holiday.  The exam will definitely take place on that day and there will be no opportunity to sit it on another day.


3. Tips for Studying


  • Exam times can be stressful so encourage your child to take breaks.  Hour long revision sessions with short regular breaks of 10 minutes can be effective. 


  • They may prefer to complete each task and then build in a break rather than stick to definite time slots.  It’s the quality of work that is important.


  • Young people often focus best earlier in the day or early evening so encouraging them to study at these times may be beneficial.


  • Your child might find it useful for you to read through revision notes with them.  Asking them about what they have learned in their revision may be useful.


4. Keeping well


  • Encourage your child to get plenty of sleep.  This is particularly important the night before an exam as it will help them perform better.


  • Encourage your child to eat well.  On the morning of an exam encourage them to have a breakfast, or lunch if the exam is in the afternoon.


  • Help your child to avoid any unnecessary anxiety or panic by making sure they are in plenty of time for each exam and have everything they need for it, e.g. pens, pencils.


  • Encourage regular exercise – it promotes physical and mental health and reduces the symptoms of anxiety.


  • If your child is experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety or problems with learning, please contact the school.