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Parent Blog: 1st February 2021

Welcome to the Katie Jayne Parent Blog Issue Number 1.

It has taken a while for us to write a parent blog, probably because we wanted it to hit all of the right notes for our parents and for parents around the UK and internationally. We also wanted to ensure our Junior and Senior blogs were really flying and with over 25 issues each having been released, we are thrilled with how much positive feedback we have received about them. Now we want to give something to you, the parents! Having access to hundreds of teachers and professionals within the education sector has meant that we can channel the latest information, trends, worries and educational inspirations into this blog. Being able to help parents means so much to all of us. We hope this blog is of great use to you.

We would love you, our parents, to get in touch with us at any time. Being here to help really is just that! Some of you may have a topic that you would like us to cover in forthcoming editions – so let us know. Our email is info@katiejayne.co.uk and Sam is your contact for all blog items. We also feel that feedback is a gift, so let us know what you think of our articles or if there is simply something you would like to chat with us about in more detail.

In this first edition we reintroduce you to our team, we delve further into issues that may be bothering you or your child: sugar awareness, loneliness and childhood obesity. We take great pleasure in highlighting Karen Darke MBE and her Paralympic journey right through to her Pole of Possibility Challenge that your children can get involved in. We laugh with you and feel your pain in our ‘Feel Blessed not Stressed’ article and offer you the chance to read through some items that have come across our desks in our Guardian Angel section. We give some tips to help your child with 11+ interviews and finally, half term is just around the corner so we have a whole heap of activities for you and the children to enjoy and much more.

So without further ado, let me say welcome to our Parent Blog Issue Number 1 and allow me to introduce you to our team.

Hope you enjoy the read.



The Katie Jayne Team

Katie- exceptional teacher and founder of the award winning company Katie Jayne Tutors.  Katie set up Katie Jayne Tutors in the summer of 2015 after many years of teaching both nationally and internationally. She wanted to focus on supporting children on a more individualised basis in order to help boost their confidence and academic ability. Katie has over twenty years experience in the education sector and is top of the picks when parents need support with their child’s education. Her natural capacity for empathy and strong interpersonal skills enable her to engage with both children and adults alike. She is someone that parents and children can truly rely on to help, support and advise. Katie’s experience of teaching and tutoring children in both U.K and international settings enables her to have first-hand knowledge of the best way to support families on their tutoring journey and ensures that each journey is tailored towards the needs of each individual child and that each tutor is a perfect fit for each family.  Katie and her husband are parents to 1 year old Luca who is a giggly ball of energy and fun!

Shelley has worked in administration for the last 5 years including running her own business with her husband. She has provided support for various businesses covering a variety of functions including minute-taking for senior team meetings, transcription, document formatting and spreadsheet management. Previously Shelley undertook a Level 3 teaching assistant qualification and volunteered as a TA in a local school. Shelley is also a mother to two young children, so understands the importance of a child’s educational journey.

Felicity is a social media manager with a long background in marketing and specialising in marketing to the children’s educational services sector. She runs the Katie Jayne Tutors Facebook page and Instagram account and helps with other marketing communications activities from time to time. Felicity lives in Ealing with her husband and two children aged 9 and 11 and has been working with Katie Jayne Tutors for nearly three years. Her son is currently preparing for his 11+ examination with the expert help of a Katie Jayne Tutor.

And then there is me, Sam. As an EA & Development Manager working within education for over fifteen years, I have had experience in many aspects of school life and being the right hand of the Headmaster/mistress has enabled a whole school perspective and understanding of its inner workings. Having worked within Private, State and Higher Education, I have seen a broad cross section of school life. Being passionate about communication, promoting new business and raising standards has enabled me to ensure good practice. I have helped hundreds of families navigate their way through the educational system giving invaluable insight into the importance of the student and teacher relationship.

Teachers- With such an exceptional team of over 70 teachers, it would be impossible for us to squeeze all of their fabulousness into a few lines! Instead we have decided to include a ‘Meet the Teacher’ section in each blog so you can gradually get to know our team. This month please meet Jennifer…

Hi, I am Jennifer and I have been a teacher with Katie Jayne Tutors for the three years. I live with my partner, 3 cats and 1 dog in Surrey.

A little bit about me: I studied languages at university before completing my teacher training. After that, I was a primary school form teacher for 8 years before I took a year’s sabbatical to complete my Master’s in SEN (Special Educational Needs), Inclusion and Disability Education. Since completing my masters, I am now very happily a full time tutor.

Things I love: I love my job, I love the children that I teach and seeing the joy they get from finally understanding something which had bamboozled them. I also love my allotment, lifting very heavy weights at the gym and a good night out with lots of dancing.


Knowledge Station

The Purpose of the 11 Plus Interview

Before practising for the interview, it’s important to understand why your child is being interviewed and what the school is looking for from your child. Of course, every school is different, but the principal reasons for interview are the same.

First of all, the school wants to assess if your child is a suitable match for them. They want to know that your child will fit in academically and socially and displays the types of behaviours that the school expects from its pupils.

They also want to know that your child is committed to studying and participating in extra-curricular activities. Similarly, the school needs to know that it is able to provide your child with the education they need and provide them with support throughout their school career.

It is really important to research the school before your child’s 11+ interview. We would advise that parents and children research the school before the big day, so that you both have a good background knowledge of the school and are familiar with its achievements, subjects, activities and facilities.

Try to have a discussion with your child prior to interview so they have a framework in which to think about certain common questions. Let your child know that if they are asked a question that they don’t know the answer to, they should keep calm and remember that questions can often be open ended with no specific right or wrong answer.

Schools will be looking for bright, articulate, confident and well-mannered children who can fit in with the school and give back to the school as well. Every school knows the type of student they are looking for, so it’s very important that your child doesn’t pretend to be someone they are not.

The biggest tip of all: try not to rehearse answers and just be natural!

Katie Gaida.

Hope for January 2021

Dear Parents,

We all want to see the back of 2020.

Reflecting back as we entered 2020, we were filled with hope and optimism.

But the World had other plans; disruption and chaos ripped through nations affecting our way of life.

This Year as we enter 2021 you must maintain an assured balance and guide your child/ren with the same positive optimism for the future.

Listen to your inner self and your child/ren will listen to you.

Words are powerful.

The unknown can be scary but if you look within you will find that extra special something to enjoy life.

Wishing you All a Happy 2021,

Love from Cathy of ‘Surrey’s Learning and Counselling Centre’

Looking out for signs of eating disorders in children and young people – help from The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

British doctors have seen a three or four-fold increase in cases compared to last year, a recent survey said and specialists fear that the pandemic is a major reason behind the rise.

NHS England says though record numbers are getting care for eating disorders, more will need support.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health have been in contact with 40 specialists working in England, Scotland and Wales reporting a rise in referrals.

Many factors are involved – including isolation from friends during home schooling, cancellation of exams, missing out on extra-curricular activities like sport, which in turn increases the use of social media.

Experts say that fears about the virus, family finances, and students being forced to quarantine may also have contributed.

And doctors say in some cases, reduced access to face-to-face consultations causes young people to deteriorate by the time they were seen by a professional.

The reports suggest in some areas waiting lists are “completely overwhelmed” and beds “increasingly scarce.”

Dr Simon Chapman, at King’s College Hospital and South London and the Maudsley, said referrals since March had tripled and assessments were harder because they were done through a screen.

He added: “I’ve worked in eating disorders for 10 years and I have never known us to be so busy,”

“I would say to any parent or teacher, if they notice anything different about their young person and are worried they may be developing an eating disorder, talk early on to the GP about their concerns or reach out to their local eating disorders service for advice.”

‘Getting Support Early!’

The earlier eating disorders are noticed, the better the chance of successful treatment.

Most eating disorders begin with changes that you would not even notice, so small – look out for a child or young person refusing to eat their favourite foods or not joining in at meal times, or perhaps even lying about the food they have had whilst you are not with them. Changes in their attitude toward exercise could also let you know that something is not quite right. Open communication immediately with your child, in an understanding and interested way, it is common for children suffering to try to deceive family and friends as this gives them the cover they need to continue their eating disorder.

If you feel that you may be onto something but are not sure, go to your GP, seek expert advice, this is a difficult topic and a tough disorder to try and manage alone, there are lots of local eating disorder groups so find your local one and get in touch. Beat is a wonderful resource, they are an eating disorder charity – contact them through their helpline:

Beat say that: “The increased focus on food over the Christmas period, coupled with the deluge of diet messaging in the New Year can be a toxic combination for young people at risk of an eating disorder, so it is more important than ever to be aware of the early signs and to take action quickly.”

NHS Digital figures for England suggest hospital admissions for children with eating disorders have risen in all age groups over two years.

Most years the data tells us that usually over 16,000 young people are affected yearly and last year this figure jumped to over 21,000.

To get rapid access to specialist you can contact the NHS or BEAT. 

Other useful links here:


Anorexia & Bulimia Care



Feel blessed not stressed.

feel blessed not stressed
Well who would have thought that I would turn in to my child’s teacher? Who would  have thought that I would need to explain how to conjugate a verb to my children? 10 months ago I would pick my child up from school and ask, “what have you been doing today darling?” Was I really listening to the very long explanation? The explanation that took Alice 14 minutes about how Mrs Griggs had shown the class how to measure the surface area of a cube or was I actually thinking about items I needed to buy when we stopped off at Sainsbury’s on the way home!!!! Well I think the answer to that is clear, I know exactly which aisle the jalapeno peppers are in, but I still could not tell you how to measure the surface area of a cube or anything else for that matter.

How I wish I had paid more attention at school and how I wish I had appreciated more the effort, blood, sweat and tears that Mrs Griggs had put into teaching my Alice her verbs. It has to be said Mrs Griggs did not teach Alice in a shouty, rushed, incomplete way. No, she took time with her explanation, told Alice what she would learn, how she would learn it, gave her examples, worked through the examples and then sat patiently whilst Alice got it wrong time after time…How I love Mrs Griggs!

Children take their lead from us and nobody said it was going to be easy raising a child, let alone raising a child, educating them and trying to print off that report that your boss needed half an hour ago. The boss who does not have children at home, his offspring fled the nest fifteen years ago, I doubt he can even remember their names let alone what it was like trying to help them with school work.

It has taken me a while to realise ‘lockdown, smockdown’ …. these are the best years of my children’s lives and in turn my life, I am going to give them what they need to help them get through what is a scary and very odd time. Yes I have had to re-jiggle my working hours slightly, yes I now no longer iron tea towels or even tops and yes I am often making a marmite and crisp sandwich for my children whilst trying to sell a £20 million home to a multi – millionaire, but I have decided to give myself a break – I can only do what I can do. Having a calm home environment is what is needed and how thankful I am to have this little bit of extra time with my darlings. It will be all too soon that they are leaving my nest…


A Whole Heap of FREE Fun for February Half Term.



You cannot beat a dressing up day! Get out all of the old clothes, shoes, dressing up costumes, make up, wigs etc that you may have hiding around the loft and enjoy a day of dressing up. You will be amazed at how even those ‘Wouldn’t be seen dead in those!’ teenagers will get into the swing of it – when the camera comes out to take some much cherished family photo’s…

Go one step further with your dressing up and recreate photographs or scenes from your favourite films. We had such a giggle trying this out! You can create a pile of pictures to remind you of the fun  you had and this is a great one to save until the children have grown up and on their 21st birthday out will come the slightly embarrassing but fun pictures.

Geocaching – just download the app on your phone, choose where you want to walk and set off on your intrepid ramble. On your walk  you will be given nooks and crannies to find, you can log your finds on the app. Imagine a treasure hunt but a 21st century one…

Family band – ok, so not everyone is musical and not everyone has an orchestra full of instruments lying around the house – so if  you do not have any budding musicians in the house why not make your own? Maracas made of jars of pasta, drums made of large plastic tubs or just a couple of sticks tapping on a household item (my son plays the cutlery drawer like you would not believe), comb and grease proof paper to name a few. Get yourselves together, learn a song and perform it or film it for prosperity. You could even encourage other friends or family to join you on Zoom. Go for it!!!

This is the serious, but still fun bit…

This is great chance to help your children understand the needs of our planet and nobody does that better than Sir David Attenborough. His new series ‘A Perfect Planet’ has been a joy to watch and something for the whole family. A Perfect Planet  explains how the living planet operates. You will see forces of nature – weather, ocean currents, solar energy and volcanoes and how they drive, shape and support Earth’s great diversity of life. This then reveals how the Human Race are impacting on that harmony and what we can all do to help to restore our planet’s perfect balance.

BBC.co.uk/perfectplanet or call 0300 303 0901 to get your copy of the poster to help remind, guide and encourage us all to do as much as we can



Regular items...

Karen Darke- her story, her life changing fall, her Paralympic journey and the Pole of Possibility Challenge.

I have already introduced our student readers to our next guest and I wanted to include the same article in this parent blog as there is so much to be gained by encouraging your children to take part in the Pole of Possibility. Find our why here and let me introduce you to a woman who is superhuman, inspirational and motivational. Karen Darke is somebody that I, and many others look to for inspiration, she is an author, an athlete, an amazing team player, a motivational speaker and a very giving soul. Karen is very modest so would not agree with my introduction of her, but I think I would not be doing justice to her, myself or this story without letting you know what you are in for right from the start…

Karen has had the most amazing quarter of a century. Her life did a 180 degree turn at the age of 21 when she had a horrific rock-climbing accident whilst climbing on the sea-cliffs in Scotland. Karen woke from a coma to be told by doctors that she would not walk again. This life changing incident took Karen on a very different, truly inspirational journey. Aged 21 Karen became involved with raising money for spinal injuries charities, inspired by the support, opportunities and information they provided. Karen believed that so much was still possible, and she has been able to move forward and live a full and incredibly adventurous life again.

Twenty-four years after her injury, Karen’s connection to the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) is as strong as ever. The bike she raced to gold on in the Rio Paralympics 2016 was designed and built by Williams F1, whose founder Frank Williams, was also paralysed in an accident. His daughter Clare Williams is Patron of SIA, and the support of Williams F1 in production of her bike inspired Karen to target fundraising £79K for the charity. Karen has broken the land speed record in a handbike – Karen achieved a speed of 46.05 mph over the 2.5 mile course, 17 mph faster than the previous female world record and won silver and gold medals at the Paralympic games. More publicised though was her effort to embrace heart and the true spirit of humanity, crossing the finish line holding hands in the London 2012 Games for the bronze medal.

Karen has moved mountains to raise money for charity and has the sort of personality that when you are asked by Karen to get involved, you do – because you really want to…. her energy is irresistible.

I hope that by reading Karen’s story and hearing about her new project, ‘Pole of Possibility’, that you will want to get involved. Read on here today and over the coming weeks to find out what the POP (Pole of Possibility) challenge is all about and how you can get involved.


Hi! I’m Karen, a lover of life and adventure, and always seeking the learning in life, staying curious as to what we can learn not only when things go well, but when things don’t go as planned too. I broke my back in a climbing accident when I was younger, and I think that is what taught me the importance of focusing on what we can do, not on what we can’t; and on being grateful for what we have instead of thinking about what we don’t have. I have been lucky to have a very adventurous life since then, sharing the learning with others and now helping people of all ages adopt an ‘adventure mindset’ as a way to feeling more freedom, joy and love within life.

In the Paralympics in Rio in 2016, I won the 79th medal for Britain, a gold. There is a bit of a story behind how things developed from there, but I came up with an idea for a project called Quest 79. I would visit seven continents and do nine rides – one on each continent, plus two Paralympic Games. While raising £79K for the Spinal Injuries Association, I want to encourage as many individuals, families and groups as possible to take on their own Quest 79 challenge, by taking a step out of their comfort zone. As I have learned through my own experiences, when we commit to something that stretches our mind or body in new ways and consistently work at it, it often begins a life-expanding process and allows us to see all sorts of new possibilities.

Once upon a time, pushing my wheelchair 79 metres was a big challenge, let alone crossing 7 continents. It seems almost unbelievable to think back to when I was laid in a hospital bed, broken and bruised, paralysed from the chest down with nothing but a view of dull ceiling tiles and the prospect of life in a wheelchair, that I have been able to ski across icecaps, kayak oceans, cycle across continents and experience the life of adventure and exploration that I have. This has inspired me to encourage others to do something that seems a bit of a challenge to achieve. We all have our own mountain to climb, but no matter how big or small we are aiming, we are destined to discover something inside ourselves that is precious. I call this our ‘Inner Gold’.

To date I have cycled six of the seven continents: Antarctica and creating the ‘Pole of Possibility’ remains. Each of the journeys has given me far more than the wonderful experience of travelling to new landscapes and cultures. Each adventure has gifted me with an experience of a powerful positive emotion: I felt compelled to write my Inner Gold blog series to share some insights on these, as I believe they are helpful emotions that we can all nurture in everyday life. If you like the sound of these, you can visit www.karendarke.com for blogs and podcasts on these ideas. In future blogs, I will tell you more about The Pole of Possibility and invite you to take part in a virtual way, so that you can join us on the flag, and maybe even have your own Top Trump card to represent your personal Quest 79. See https://pop.karendarke.com (soon to be www.thepopchallenge.com )

Thanks and I look forward to getting to know those of you that get involved!!

Wishing you a happy 2021


Watch this space for more news next time!

Guardian Angel

In this slot we look to provide interesting articles that come across our desks.

We added this article because children from a school in an area defined by its high pollution are making waves to try and change Governments strategy on the reduction of polluted air and to highlight the plight of many children (who because of their height) breathe in much more pollution than adults. Traffic bans & protecting pupils from polluted air – article. 

Gang life & truancy – article. 

Plan B decision on exam cancellation – article. 

Childhood obesity plan – Government paper.

Guidance on physical activity for children from the Chief Medical Officer- Government paper. 

Cervical Cancer Awareness Week 18/01- 24/1 2021 – help & guidance.

Keep an eye out for an article published in The Education Checklist in The Observer newspaper on Sunday 7th February.

Something of Interest

George Bernard Shaw is featured in The National Trusts podcast series – take a listen to this enchanting story about one of Britain’s most celebrated playwrights.

The Perfect Murder...  WHSmith and The Richard & Judy Book Club recommend this romp through murder mystery…

Something to do for all the family (and your friends) – Escape Rooms Online – We all love getting together with a group of friends and working out how to solve the puzzles laid in front of us, well you can now escape lockdown. Try one of these great escapes, forget about lockdown for a while and enjoy time with your friends working towards a common goal. You never know Aunt Maud may have been a top secret code buster in  her younger years!!!!