Beacon Academy have been running exam breakfasts for a few years in an effort to combat their pupils’ pre-test stresses. Here, Eileen Leahy finds out if fuelling appetites serves up success
Staff at Beacon Academy in Crowborough have been running regular breakfast clubs for students before they sit their exams in a bid to calm their nerves. And given its success over the past few years, the signs are there that it seems to work.
‘Exam breakfasts really help me to have a good mentality before an exam. They’re relaxing,’ says Year 11 pupil Charlotte Long.
‘They help to put us in a good mindset, and allow us to ask our teachers any last-minute questions about the exams,’ add fellow students Charlotte Cooper and Kiera Best.
For this year’s first breakfast of the exam season, Beacon invited Janice Akehurst, Team Manager Partner at Waitrose, also based in Crowborough, to join GCSE pupils to sit down and enjoy an array of muffins, cereals and fruit baskets just ahead of their English Literature GCSE.
For the past few years, the supermarket has contributed various items to the breakfasts, and the school wanted to thank their representative.
The academy’s Head of Partnerships, Mrs Katie Harrison, told the Times: ‘The exam breakfasts are incredibly important to our students, allowing them to give their very best at such a critical time. Thanks to Waitrose, we have been able to offer particularly nutritious and tasty breakfasts to our Year 11 students, which has been a real pleasure.’
Ms Akehurst, agrees that the idea to fuel students’ stomachs certainly helps to fuel their brains, too – as well as calm their inevitable nerves.
‘I really valued the time I got to spend with the students, and it was clear to me that they benefitted in many ways from this facility,’ she says.
‘I was also impressed with the devotion of the teachers involved, especially in the organisation, but also by making themselves available in this relaxed environment for last-minute questions.’
One of those teachers is Sue Layne, Assistant Head of Years 10 and 11, who originally had the idea of hosting these beneficial breakfasts and recently won the Lewes and Wealden District Pastoral Care Provider of the Year Award, presented at the Sussex Teacher of the Year Awards in Brighton for her extra-curricular efforts.
Her involvement is greatly appreciated by students such as Callum Winn, who says: ‘Exam breakfasts help me to have a last-minute revise.’
Mrs Layne, who received her top teacher award at a ceremony in Maidstone last week, has also inspired pupils like Jake Beeson, who finds them ‘Relaxing, with useful encouragement from all teachers involved’.