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Parents must now reassure children over transfer

PIP Jaffa, chief executive of the Parents Advice Centre, gives her advice to families waiting on transfer test results:

“I think the problem for parents will be interpreting the results children receive tomorrow. There was a degree of certainty before about the 11-plus results and what they meant for children.

“It is harder this year to match schools’ admissions criteria with what children have achieved to immediately work out what it will mean for them.

“Following a prolonged period of confusion and uncertainty for the families, this adds to the uncertainty. And it also makes it harder for parents to reassure young people.

“Another problem for this year is that it is likely the primary principals and teachers will also be unsure of how to interpret this year’s results.

“However, the message parents need to give to their children, even if they are unsure what their mark or grade means, is that you know they have done their best and that you will sort things out.

“Parents need to demonstrate by their manner and tone that they are very much in charge and on top of things. It is important to display a ‘can do’ attitude which indicates that the family will get through this. Children, like sponges, will absorb any feelings of worry or crisis being displayed by their parents.

“We have been contacted by many concerned parents during this year’s transfer process. It is a constant topic of conversation.

“The level of anxiety among parents has been very high. There is no way that cannot have filtered down to the children. What young people need is stability, certainty and security. Of course, all children can face short periods of uncertainty in their lives but the protracted nature of the problems this year have been very unfortunate.

“We also have P6 parents getting in touch with us who are anxious. Already parents are talking about organising classes and coaching for their children in case they face the same tests next year.”

The Parents Advice Centre can be contacted on 0808 8010722.

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