School Open Nights 2019 - Are P6 Pupils Welcome?

Should I take my P6 child along to an Open Night? Is it too early?

OK parents…don’t freak out, but this is when it all starts to get a bit real. Your child really is embarking on this crazy Transfer Test and this time next year they will be weeks away from sitting the test. YIKES!

So, what can you be doing RIGHT NOW to help the process go as smoothly as possible?

Well, one important step is to give your child something to work towards. I know that when I’m working my fingers to the bone I want to know what the pay off is. This is where Open Nights can really help.

I can vividly remember the first Open Night I attended when I was young (younger!). I remember the smell of the freshly polished floor, the maze of corridors, the brightly coloured classroom displays, and my Dad totally affronting my P7 self by attempting to speak German in a horrendous Ballymena accent! I have never had a beamer like it - it was still there the next morning.

For you, the Open Nights will hopefully leave fewer traumatic memories! They encourage you to visit as many or as few schools as you like with your child so you can both get a feel for the environment. You can see the classrooms, chat to teachers, even get involved with some lessons or experiments. Parents - think before you speak or volunteer. These memories will last forever!

Traditionally, Open Nights were for P7 pupils only. However, with the introduction of the AQE and GL exams, this has changed. P6 pupils are now more than welcome to attend Open Nights so they can get a feel for the school they wish to attend. I understand that at this point it is hard to know what school your child will end up at, so my advice is to attend at least one High School so that they can get a feel for it too.

When I think back to my own experience, the Open Night was a real clarification of the school I wanted to attend. I can remember feeling so excited at the prospect of attending that school. I looked at the teachers with awe and amazement, I imagined myself sitting in the classrooms, walking the corridors, making friends, embracing new subjects and embarking on this wonderful stage of my life. It made me work harder, aim higher and push towards my goals.

So, should P6 pupils attend Open Nights? Absolutely! Give them something concrete to aim for and make yourself feel really old at the same time. Listen out for continuous echoes of “it wasn’t like this in my day!”

January 2019 is going to be a busy month - here are some dates for Open Nights in the Ballymena Area.