16 May

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Well, exam season is upon us already. The Spring Brook staff have been working really hard to prepare all our young people for the testing time ahead and I would like to share some really good advice taken from the BBC website here..

Everyone gets stressed during exams but it’s important not to let it get out of control. Don’t lose sight of the fact that there is life after exams!

A little bit of stress can be a good thing as it motivates us to knuckle down and work hard. But exams can make stress levels get out of hand, which can stop us from performing our best. So it’s important to address it and get it back under control. Look out for prolonged or extreme cases of the following if you feel the work’s piling up:

• Difficulty getting to sleep or difficulty waking up in the morning
• Constant tiredness
• Forgetfulness
• Unexplained aches and pains
• Poor appetite
• Loss of interest in activities
• Increased anxiety and irritability
• Increased heart rate
• Migraines/headaches
• Blurred vision
• Dizziness

If you’ve noticed three or more of the above symptoms and you’ve experienced them for a few weeks you may need to do something about your stress levels.

How to manage exam stress:

• Learn to recognise when you’re stressing out. A break or a chat with someone who knows the pressure you’re under will get things into perspective.
• Avoid comparing your abilities with your mates. Those “Oh my God I’ve only read Macbeth 17 times” conversations are such a wind up. Everyone approaches revision in different ways, so just make sure you’ve chosen the method that works best for you. Make a realistic timetable. Stick to it.
• Eat right. Treat yourself like a well honed machine – eat fresh fruit and veg and have a proper breakfasts. Fuel your brain as well as your body – no one can think straight on coffee and chocolate.
• Sleep well. Wind down before bed and don’t revise under the duvet – your bed is a sanctuary, not a desk. Get your eight hours.
• Exercise. Nothing de-stresses the mind faster than physical activity, so build it into your timetable. Being a sloth makes our mind sloppy too.
• Panic is often triggered by hyperventilating (quick, shallow breaths). So if you feel yourself losing it during the exam, sit back for a moment and control your breathing. Deep breath in and out through the nose, counting to five each way.
• Steer clear of any exam ‘post-mortem’. It doesn’t matter what your mate wrote for Question 3(b), it’s too late to go back and change your answers, so it will just make you worry even more.

Ultimately, don’t lose sight of the fact that there is life after exams. Things might seem intense right now, but it won’t last forever.

Some good tips and advice there……especially about eating and sleeping well. Which brings me onto the next part of my blog this week. Mr Pidlyskyj has found some interesting information on the effect of energy drinks on our bodies here. For all our young people, the best solution to rehydrate both body and mind is simply good old H2O!!!

As exam season strikes we have also been fortunate to show some of our young people the importance of the great outdoors. Miss Shafiq was kind enough to send across some great photos of an outdoor learning experience at Dovestones..

Outside learning is such a brilliant way to cover a variety of topics and get the benefit of fresh air and exercise at the same time – again, great for stress at any time. Next year Spring Brook pupils will be working towards their Duke of Edinburgh’s qualification, something we have successfully completed through many parts of our Group. It is a curriculum area which our pupils at Spring Brook will enjoy and which will challenge them through the different sections of the Award.

It was lovely to see these pictures on my return back from London as we begin to plan the next part of the ICT infrastructure of our new Springboard Project. That’s all from me this week, apart from just introducing my ‘hot desk ‘partner John..

John has been sent to keep me company at Dean Street – thank you, Corey, he has certainly made me smile. I’m also pleased to report that our new exams assistant, Boris, who joined the team last month is doing a fantastic job..

Good luck to everyone this week,

Mrs Tootill
Head of Springboard Project

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