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The Covid & Summer Brain Drain; What is it & 8 top tips to defeat it!

Updated: Dec 3, 2020

Ok, so summer finally is here. Almost. Time for a well-earned break or time to catch-up; even get a headstart. Choose the former & may suffer from the brain drain, setting you back months. Today we look at how to beat it so you can hit the ground running in September.

What is the brain drain

In short, the brain drain is the regression in skills that occurs over extended periods out of education, making the summer holiday the main culprit. Many people have had a headstart on the brain drain already with the lockdown closing many schools, leaving students in a position where they have only covered a fraction of the work they would have completed under normal circumstances. It is very common and it can have serious consequences and implications in relation to a child’s educational development however luckily for us it is not irreversible. Scroll down for my top tips on how to beat it.

While the weeks upon weeks without daily lessons are part of the problem, another major factor is that masses of students and young people are left alone for much of the summer, with little or no intervention to stimulate their minds intellectually challenge them.

According to many studies, when students return to school for the Autumn term, they are on average at least a couple months behind where left off in the buildup to the summer exams period. The effects of this are more prominent for the most at-risk students; those who may already be underperforming, those who have challenging circumstances at home, and those from BAME communities; all groups close to my heart, who may fall behind even more severely.

So what can we do to stop it?

Below are my top 10 tips to beat the summer brain drain.

1. Have a plan. It doesn’t have to resemble the national curriculum, but a plan of some sort will certainly help and get your mind in gear about what you want to learn. Do you need to catch up on your algebra? Do you really want to master the properties of the elements in the periodic table. Great. Write it down. It can be that simple. You can develop it more by adding more info later but the most important thing is to have a plan of action.

2. Wake up early. Sometimes most inconspicuous way to waste and lose your summer holiday is to spend it in bed sleeping. Sound familiar? Decide the previous day what you want to do that day when you wake up, set an alarm and do it. Remember it doesn’t need to be at the crack of dawn.

3. Set up a routine – and try to stick to it. Again this doesn’t need to be executed to military perfection. A simple to-do or check list can work just fine in most cases. Having one will help motivate you and the satisfaction you get once you start ticking off those activities. Priceless.

4. Keep Active. You’ll want to make sure you keep fit and healthy while you are off. How about joining a sports club or camp. Even something as unspectacular as going to the park or going for a walk can make the world of difference.

5. Start a summer business / project. Make sure you chose something age appropriate. Charity fundraising with family and friends could be a great idea for a younger person, whereas something a little more challenging may be more appropriate for an older student. This will also give you plenty of opportunities to learn and apply new skills.

6. Read at least one book. Feel free to read more if you can. The more you read, the more you will learn. The more that you learn the more places you will go.

7. Go on an educational trip. How about to the zoo. Or a museum or gallery. Or a virtual trip if due to the Covid restrictions this isn't possible. It doesn’t even have to be an educational one- you can make it an educational one if you put your mind to it. Spend a little extra time planning what you can learn and make the most of the experience.

8. Pick up a new hobby. Ever wanted to try out something new? Summer is the perfect time to do so as you’ll have more time on your hands. Perhaps you could start learning a new language, sharpen your culinary skills or learn how to code. The possibilities are endless. You’ll also have plenty of time to master your latest endeavour!

The best solution: The brain gain

It doesn’t have to be like I described earlier. Summer can actually be a fantastic time to learn. In the past I have worked with many students over the summer months to help them catch up and excel. When they come back for the new semester they find it much easier to cope with homework, to understand what is going on in class, feel much more confident in their abilities and find themselves in higher sets and streams.

This year over the summer I am working with many parents who are preparing their children for entrance exams into some of the best schools in the country, such as City Girls Academy, Dartford Grammar, Godolphin & Latymer, Bexley Grammar and Dulwich College. Contact me now so I can help your child prepare for entry to schools such as these.

5 reasons I believe summer is the best time to study.

More time. Most students will have more free time on their hands during the summer. Especially those under 18. Make the most of it. Use it or lose it.

Flexibility. You can study when you like. Are you more of an early bird or burning the midnight oil kind of student? Do you have other commitments you would need to arrange your studying around? Great- you can as you chose when to study.

You select / choose what you learn. Ever wanted to learn something not on the syllabus, or have an interest in a subject that goes beyond what your teachers are prepared to teach? Want to get into a top institution, but find the material being taught insufficient? The truth is most students do. As you will be selecting what you learn, you will not have this problem.

You set your own deadlines, goals and targets. You can really push yourself. Stretch yourself to your limits, expand your limits and see how far you can go. In my experience it is possible to make unbelievable gains during the summer.

In my experience I have also seen students suffer unbelievable regression. While it is true some students are making leaps and bounds in terms of progress, others are falling behind. Severely behind. In fact most are, as they do not fully utilise the summer holiday as an opportunity to spread their wings and take their education into their own hands and suffer from the brain drain.

So what should I do?

If you would like to make the most out of summer, catch-up or even start to excel, please get in touch with me now. I will be running master-classes and sessions throughout the summer and can also help out with tailored 1-1 tuition to help you meet whatever goals you have whether it be helping out with homework, helping a child understand and keep up with what is going on in class, giving them the knowledge and the confidence needed to excel or inspiring a burning desire to succeed

Additionally, take a look at the points mentioned in my top 9 tips to beat the summer brain drain. They are fairly easy to execute, but if you would like help on any of them or are looking for other ideas get in touch and I’ll be happy to help.

Remember, the outcome of the summer lies squarely in your hands. Spend your summer overindulging in the wrong activities and fall victim to the brain drain.

Spend it investing in your future and benefit from the brain gain. Take action today and help your child get the best out of summer and protect them from that brain drain!

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