How Active Revision Transformed My Child's GCSE Experience

Parenting a teen through GCSEs is a tough balancing act. Parent Tessa Lumley explains how Active Revision was transformational for her family, turning stress into success, and giving her daughter skills for life.

As a parent, it is hard to know how to support your children when they do their GCSEs – which come, rather unfairly, at a time in a young person’s development when they aren’t always as receptive to parental encouragement as they might be! So - the months leading up to the exams can be almost as stressful for parents as they are for their offspring – are they working as well as they might be? Need to be? Are they looking after themselves as they should?

For me, with my child, this reached a head in the final holidays before the exams themselves. Easter. The Christmas holidays and February half term had been spent with me utterly failing to successfully tread the fine line between being understanding and patient with her unwillingness to get out of bed, her need for ‘a break’ and wondering how on earth to help her focus and do the work she needed to do in what we, as adults, understand are very short periods of time but which felt like life sentences to a fifteen year old who would much, much rather be watching Netflix. It was high octane and exhausting for all of us. To put it simply, the prospect of those Easter holidays was terrifying.

My child was academically able but very easily distracted, disheartened and then infuriated. During term time she was adeptly corralled by excellent teachers who knew how to keep her focussed and engaged. I, however, did not. And that is why Active Revision felt, honestly, like a miracle! Here was a residential week when our recalcitrant teenager could work and learn with peers, eat well, sleep well – but not too much! – learn some study habits which stood her in excellent stead for her A levels, experience yoga for the first (but not the last) time, and other physical activities which not only complimented the intensive study periods but also broke them up into manageable chunks so that, although it was a week of school holidays spent studying, it didn’t feel as onerous as it certainly would have done at home.

She was mixing with fellow students – some of whom were there because their parents wanted to encourage them away from the books, just as others were there to be steered towards them. They lived together and learned with and from each other. It was a huge relief - for all of us! It was a week in which we, as parents, concentrated on other things (like work and our other child!) knowing that the eldest was doing what she needed to do in a nurturing and dynamic environment.

The end result was a two-grade improvement in all of the sciences and a pass in maths, which had seemed beyond conception when mocks had come around. Friendships were formed that have lasted the intervening five years – in fact a fellow Active Revision participant’s 21st birthday party is being attended next weekend. And study habits and some self-awareness around self-care were acquired which saw my daughter achieve not only impressive GCSE results but also excellent A Levels and a place at a Russell Group University. A journey which was much easier for all of us, not least for her parents, thanks to Active Revision.

Ready to transform your child's GCSE experience? Join us for Active Revision at Gordonstoun this Easter - visit to find out more.