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Senior Blog – 20th August 2020

Welcome to the Katie Jayne Tutors Blog issue number 13.

For some of you today is one of the most important days of your life… GCSE results day! We hope that you are all pleased with the grades you receive. We know that you will have worked very hard over the past few years and then not to have an actual exam to sit was the curve ball that none of us were expecting. This year’s set of results will undoubtedly be the strangest in our lifetime. This week we have help and advice on how to cope with the good news and the not so good news and where to go for help and advice.

This advice will also relate to all of our older readers who were due to sit their A-level exams. Having received your results on Thursday 13th August, you will have had time to digest your grades and make some plans to move forward whether it is to university or into an apprenticeship or into the workplace. We are here to help, if you have any questions for us and our team please get in touch info@katiejayne.co.uk.

For those younger readers we are focusing on the preparation for the start of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards. Perhaps you have already completed your Bronze or Silver and you are moving up a level? All you need to know right here.

For some, exam grades and the return to school may be an upsetting or worrying time, so our guest counsellor Cathy Coombs has some encouraging words. This section will become a regular feature for a while as we guide you back into the swing of the new academic year. We hope you find it useful.

Great to have you with us and see you next time.



These boots were definitely made for walking!

It’s that time again for all budding DofE students to think about starting their next DofE Award. Whether it is Bronze, Silver or Gold, you know how much effort you will need to apply to achieve your goal. We wish you all the very best and know that you can do it! We spoke to a few experts including a Senior Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme Manager who gave us a little insight into the programme that is still as strong as ever after so many years.

Q: We asked our experts if they could give us a brief description of the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

A:The Duke of Edinburgh Award is a youth awards programme that was founded in 1956 by Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. The award recognises students and young adults who have completed a series of self improvement exercises. The countries connection with the DofE are as important to society today as they were back in 1956 . The school I work at has been a licensed centre for the DofE award scheme since 2006.

Q: What levels of award are there?

A:There are three levels of the DofE Award. Bronze, Silver and Gold starting in Year 9, 10 and 12 respectively. Students are required to spend time volunteering, taking part in physical and skilled activities as well as well completing an assessed expedition at each level.

Q: What does it take to make a good Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme Manager?

A: I have spent a large amount of my life on outdoor pursuits and thoroughly enjoy nature and being close to it. Often my work has taken me on student expeditions or trips and the interaction you have with a student on a collaborative project like this is like nothing I have seen in the classroom. As a child I completed the Bronze & Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award at school and it helped me to make new friends and come out of my shell. I really pushed myself and I believe that this was instrumental in helping me to decide my career as a PE Teacher. Growing up in London I had to make a special effort to get out to the countryside and spent many hours walking with my friends and rock climbing. Being outdoors and loving nature really helps. You have to enjoy getting your hair wet and not having access to all of the creature comforts. But above all empathy is key, empathy for students who are doing this for the first time and helping them to achieve things they did not believe they would.

Q: Final thoughts!

A: I would encourage any student who has a love of the outdoors, charity, helping others and keeping fit to challenge themselves and join their school’s Duke of Edinburgh Programme. You will make new friends, complete many tasks you thought were unreachable and get a great deal of satisfaction from helping others.

A: Be prepared. Get a really good pair of walking boots and WEAR THEM IN!!!

A: Push yourself out of your comfort zone and do not be afraid – this is a team activity.

A: Find a charity that you really can relate too. You need to love what you do and you will find that you may even get more out of your charity work than you thought possible. Some of my students have chosen to work in the field that inspired them during their DofE activities.

A: Use your discounts to buy your equipment. The DofE Card gives you a discount in five fantastic retailers in-store and online, GO Outdoors, Blacks, Millets, Ultimate Outdoors and Tiso.

A: Use the DofE Lifezone for help.

A: Don’t forget that employers look out for the award when employing staff as this shows what you are made of. Add it to your CV and keep all of your certificates.

Introducing our special guest- Cathy Coombs Psychotherapist/School Counsellor and advocate for Well-being and Mental Health amongst young people.

Cathy has had an inspired career working with young people as a Specialist Teacher, Psychotherapist and School Counsellor. As a school counsellor young people are drawn to Cathy’s empathic nature, which means she has seen and heard almost everything. Founder of Surrey’s Learning and Counselling Centre Cathy knows how important her services are to her community.

Cathy finds as the years go by young people are expected to cope and deal with issues that simply were not there twenty years ago. The introduction of social media, the internet, increased celebrity status, exam pressures, and school entrance pressure has meant that our children have more to cope with. Cathy has witnessed an ever-changing world of ‘complex issues’ which are vital to a child’s personal development, growth and well-being.

Working closely with others, Cathy has established and developed whole school approaches to mental health and well-being. This much needed service has been integrated throughout her school in many different areas e.g. pastoral care, PSE programme, with a variety of mental health workshops especially for exam year groups, group sessions, advisory counsel to staff and parents. Safeguarding issues, referrals to children’s services e.g. CAMHS … to name a few.

Her job is constantly evolving as societies needs alter and change. Being on the front line Cathy can adjust to these changes quickly. Cathy has had a stunning career supporting, maintaining and delivering a high standard of support throughout her career.  Mental health and well-being is a huge passion which she has been lucky enough to share with children who have specific learning difficulties e.g. dyslexia, speech and language and processing difficulties in both specialist and mainstream schools including some of Surrey’s top Independent schools.

Glad to have you on board this week Cathy, thank you for joining us.

Wow! Thank you for that incredible introduction!! And thank you for having me.

Back To School – You Got This!

As we are quickly approaching a new school year, life as a student has changed possibly forever. But one thing that has not changed is your fears and anxieties of the unknown. School life gave you a secure platform to become independent and to develop a ‘good sense of self’.

Now that the learning environment has changed, you must adapt as quickly as you did to home-schooling and Covid-19 demands. To this change, I have no doubt that you will rise to the challenge with strength and humility.

But resilience requires flexibility and if I have learned anything from young people over the years that word ‘flexibility’ represents your ability to accept change very quickly. However, this change must be supported by your parent/guardian/caregiver.

How can your parents help you to do this without adding extra stress? Here are some helpful tips and coping strategies that you and your unit might find useful:

Listen to individual fears and anxieties R.E.M we are all different and there are no set rules or answers.

Age appropriate – use drawing as a visualisation tool, a way of setting the scene on a new school environment. What might the school look like? Draw social distancing markers to help with visualisation, friendship groups, and people wearing masks and in some cases PPE. The use of visualisation can be a powerful strategy that can help ‘set the scene’. Almost pre-teaching you what school might look like.

Use visualisation: Imagine a balloon filled with worries or concerns. Tie a ribbon around the end. Hold it firmly. Let it go into the bright blue sky. Watch it disappear. Leaving you lighter and freer.

Talk about being in smaller friendship groups.

Try wearing your uniform and mask before you start school (this will ease you into change).

Try the APPLES approach it’s simple:

Acknowledge: uncertainty as it comes to mind.

Pause: Do not react at all – Pause and breath.

Pull Back from your thoughts: Do not believe everything you think. They are not facts.

Let go: Let go of any negative thought or feeling it will pass. You do not have to respond. Use visualisation as a tool.

Explore: Explore the present moment be mindful of your breathing and bodily sensations. Be aware of the ground underneath you, notice sounds, sights and smells.

Smile: You are present.


September will be here and a new normality upon us all.

My sincere best wishes for you and your family – YOU GOT THIS X


If you are interested in hearing more about the services that Cathy has to offer you, feel free to contact us info@katiejayne.co.uk and we will put you in touch.


Exam Help

For GCSE exam results questions your first point of contact should always be your school and your teacher. You can also try the following places to find help.





Pearsons own Edexcel so if your exam board was Edexcel try Pearsons for help.





Do you love writing or reading about history? Do you have a gift for the creative? Then why not enter the Young Walter Scott Prize. Go on an adventure with your writing. Take some time out and put some historical fiction down on paper. This competition is for those of you aged 11-19 years.

The competition closes on 31st October 2020, so what are you waiting for – start your adventure now!

Click on the How To Enter button to find out more about the rules and to download an entry form.

Good luck!


Regular items...

Feel The Burn

It is not easy to find inspiring home gym classes. If you are hoping to kick start your fitness or trying to maintain a great work out regime at home, download the Better Uk app which has a virtual class feature. Members can access library of 600 online fitness classes. 

But if you are looking for something that will cost nothing at all why not try the 10 minute Abs workout from the NHS or the Strength and Flex Exercise Plan?

Media Chart


Head & Heart by Joel Corry Feat Mnek stands at number one this week.


Everyone is checking out the new game in town ‘Fall Guy’. The ultimate knockout game which can be played on your PlayStation console or Windows device. For players aged 3 and up (yes that is right!). Released a few weeks ago, Fall Guy has seen a huge demand for its escalating chaos. A great laugh and anyone can play. Check out the trailer here. We have seen people of all ages downloading and trying this playful game…… everyone is hooked.


Looking for a great app to help with your fitness levels? Try the  Couch to 5K Podcast App




Educational Activities

Because you are heading back to school in a couple of weeks, we thought we would keep this weeks educational activities light, take a look.

The Festival of Literature For Young People is running the eight week challenge and although it is too late to enter their competition, if you are a keen writer this is a perfect set of exercises to keep your brain and writing mojo working at full pelt…. Try the challenges each week for eight weeks and have fun along the way. Use this as a trial run to enter next years competition with a bit of an edge.