Exam results

It’s that time of year  when thousands of students eagerly await their exam results. Adding to their stress and concerns of supportive parents are the never ending articles in the media regarding poor exam marking. The Daily Mail recently quoted ‘for some students, an exam marking blunder could mean they lose their place at their chosen university.’  This is indeed the sad and extremely disappointing case for many students -we all know this poor marking has been going on for some years now and specifically the past three years.

Whilst re-marking which more often than not sees in some cases jumps of three grades which is unbelievable, by the time this happens it is of course far too late for those students who have lost their chosen university place.

On a positive note I would like to remind my followers, students and parents alike that going through clearing whilst not the option our children had envisage can provide some excellent alternative places.

There was a brilliant article in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph with some sound advice about looking at and being aware what the other universities have to offer before the exam results day… so if the results don’t match the first choice criteria you are slightly better prepared. However, this will never compensate for the agony of not getting that first choice and in a state of stress students then have to ring and talk to course leaders at other universities and sell themselves!  As I wrote last year… a second choice may indeed end up being a better option – all things happen for a reason but these marking errors are truly unacceptable.

My closing comment today must be that our children should not be put in this position and the examining boards should get their act together -they know this is happening and serious steps should have been put in place by now surely.

Remember parents have to pay for the examiners remarking mistakes too!!



Communication is our best tool

Known as the Redbourn Rambler I can talk the hind legs of any ass …but let’s not get political this morning…  All joking aside I am always ready to have a healthy debate and allow friends and family to openly discuss anything that is troubling them. This has always been the case long before I gained my various counselling qualifications.

Whilst I am a great believer in injecting a bit of humour to lighten the mood I always take matters seriously working on the basis that what may well seem trivia to any of us may be the end of the world to a.n.other.

Which ever way we choose to support and be active in any relationship there is no doubt that communication is still our best tool.  For those working with students and teenagers I hope my latest article on Innovate My School‘s website is of interest:-


Most importantly we must be mindful that during the time of exams and indeed when awaiting their results students get very stressed. Let’s all be extra vigilant and keep them safe from harm. Remembering that the teenage brain is not fully developed in terms of reasoning and they have not yet gained all the life skills to cope with stress…that comes with age and maturity.

Tell Mum…chocolate brownies go with everything!

Today I shared a moment on media with an old school chum, blog follower too. In the absence of my great Mum being around I shared my little educational success I had received as a mature student.

The older we get we miss those loved ones more not less and I often find myself wanting to share something with my mum…these are all natural feelings of course. The biggest gift is to love with all your heart and to remember that love is a gift in itself.

Aside of talking achievements I shared the discovery of a new ice cream…equally as important I would say.  Coconut ice cream with lime sorbet yum! Whatever flavour icecream..don’t you find that a chocolate brownie goes with it??? Indeed, a chocolate brownie goes with everything and that’s a fact known to serious choccy lovers.

Oh come on fellow bloggers and faithful followers I cannot be serious every day and my random blogs are posted just to see if anybody is actually paying attention. To those still taking exams it is a medical fact that chocolate is good for you…I read it in a book so it must be true surely!

It is now Pimms o’clock so signing off.



Heat of exams

As an invigilator I am looking forward to my half term break but oh so aware that many students still have exams next week and it is very hot out there!

The usual advice relax at the weekend and keep hydrated your next exam may be your last but keep that focus and motivation going as best you can.

For those students with exams after half term make the most of the week off and keep that exercise up and mix up the cramming with intake of fresh air…and a few treats.

For those that follow my tips remember about keeping those feet firmly on the floor whilst sitting the exams..legs tied in knots are not good for blood circulation and fidgity feet are a distraction. Try this tip and see…it does work..feed back is always welcome.

If you have an opportunity to meditate or join a Yoga class these really do both help mentally and physically.

Continued good luck to you all as always.

Helping students

Communication has always been the key to success whether in business, teaching or parenting. Innovate My School’s website has an amazing wealth of advice provided by experts within the education sector. I am always happy to be associated with this great procurement tool as one of their contributing writers.

Please read my latest article on combating student stress.


Start the week with kindness

Regular followers will know I often write about kindness and how it is a strength and not a weakness.  As children we were taught to be considerate of others and their feelings and how simple acts of kindness can go along way.

Somewhere in the midst of modern media the kindness factor seems to have disappeared and replaced with bullying as though it is ok to be unkind, rude and insensitive. I encourage mothers of teens to get them off of social media and out in the community.  Working with families I see on a regular basis just how damaging the ‘modern techno fun’ really is. Cyber bullying is causing all sorts of health and emotional issues for students and at a time when they are really vulnerable.

‘It’s a generation thing’ I am constantly told..sorry that doesn’t ring true it’s either right or wrong and hiding behind technology is no excuse.

I consider myself so lucky to have had a great mentor and friend in my own mother who quoted positively on a daily basis.  ‘A Mother’s Love’ Gospels according to Dorothy is available to download from Amazon Kindle which includes her story and mine and simple parenting advice.

Mother-s love (1)

Being kind can be cool you know kids!! 

Combating student stress

As part of mental health awareness week our fabulous Editor James Cain at Innovate My School has published my article today on combating student stress through communication.

I am always happy to donate to this website which is a really brilliant tool for teachers and professionals within the education sector.

I hope my followers will enjoy reading my latest piece, link follows:-


Keeping calm

Hello to all those students facing exams this week. You can do this you know your subject you’ve done the cramming all that is left is to keep calm, rested and focused.

Over the coming weeks keep healthy, don’t give up the exercise infact it’s a good time to try something new..but nothing too energetic.Yoga is excellent as aside of the exercise you will learn useful breathing techniques.

Meditation and practising mindfulness to stay in the moment, enjoy it rather than fear it.

As tempting as partying and drinking may seem this will be of no use whatsoever who want’s to arrive for an exam with a hang-over anyway? Alcohol is not the best relaxant trust me.

Try using the aromatherapy head gel strips they are amazing for clearing the head whilst revising. Most good chemists stock them for around £3.00 for a pack of four.

Drink plenty of water but not too much that you need to leave the examination room unless it is absolutely necessary. We all know that when we are nervous our system goes into over-drive.

You’ve got this. Good luck.

NHS and friends

Been away from the blog for a few days recovering from treatment and sedation. Huge thank you to the great staff at ULCH London Hospital who are always professional and give great care. Everyone is oh so quick to criticise the NHS but the dedication of staff is second to none.

As ever I’m grateful to my amazing girlfriends; one who accompanied to hospital and others who took shifts in visiting with icecream and flowers etc. I am indeed rich in friends and never hopefully take that for granted.

I often write about the value of friendship especially when people are feeling under par. Support and kindness definitely is a key factor in our emotional recovery as well as our physical recovery.

I am mindful it is the season of exams and many students are feeling anxious. As my last blog recommended find time for breaks away from the studying and enjoy the company of friends (hopefully positive ones).  Speaking with colleagues in pastoral I am fully aware that negative influences are unhelpful at these times but keep positive, keep hydrated and exercise..even if it’s just a walk with the dog imaginary or real! Nowadays one can even include the dog in Yoga exercises (doga)

Oh of course..better mention chocolate, not too much to bring on a migraine though.


Exam and Revision stress

So for many students it is now full on revising leading up to the exam period. As always I am mindful this is a very difficult time for many students of all ages. The key is to get plenty of rest and keep hydrated. To ensure that the cramming sessions are broken into realistic chunks with time off for regular exercise if possible as that really helps cognitively. Remember to include relaxation and treats into your schedules.

Treats don’t necessarily mean a bagful of chocolate; as your complexion may be more sensitive to and likely to react in skin break-outs brought on by stress at this time, but regular intake of water will really help with this too!

A bit of pampering girls is always a good idea, whether this be a manicure,  a new hair style or if the budget runs to it maybe a massage. A break away from the laptop to the cinema may be just the break you need along with Ben and Jerry’s ice cream obviously.

Seriously, now, keep focused but mindful and if you are feeling really stressed talk to somebody, if this isn’t your parent, talk to a tutor, or pastoral care they will always be supportive and may have some excellent tips that are really easy to implement on a day to day basis. Many colleges and universities have all sorts of stress buster ideas and schemes so find out what yours has to offer and make ultimate use of what’s available.

Please don’t suffer in silence but avoid taking on other student’s stress -it is easy for others to make you feel stressed it can be contagious.

I will be posting regular tips throughout May and June so keep following. I will be invigilating again this summer so I see fully appreciate how stressful it can be for many students. I will be posting little tips for ‘on the exam day’ too.

Keep calm, focused and keep positive.