Exam time is stressful. Unfortunately for my two kids my cancer diagnosis was at the beginning of two very important academic years, GCESs and A Levels.
We were very open with the kids about my diagnosis (more abut this in future weeks). In fact I think I probably discussed reconstruction options with my son (then 18) a bit too much. I was however worried about them possibly being compromised by outside factors during their exams.
We contacted the school in advance of their exams and explained the situation. They were great. From a pastoral point of view they would keep an eye on the kids in case they had a melt down and they would let the examination boards know that during the exam period I was undergoing radiotherapy.
Whether or not they were given an uplift in their grades we don’t know (and don’t want to know) that is not why we disclosed the information. It was more that during such a stressful time for them at school that those who care for them at school were aware.
Two years on and the eldest has just finished his second year uni exams and will shortly be home for the summer. Unfortunately the youngest still has 6 exams to go over this week and next – but at least this time I am around and able to support her.
Schools and universities need to know if a parent or other relative is going through cancer treatment. There is no point in saying after an exam that their preparation/concentration was affected by external factors. They will be supportive and, if necessary, contact exam boards.
Good luck to everyone taking exams.