Secondary Ready: 11-year-old Gabriel completes the English Programme ahead of high school

Sep 2020
“I’m very proud of my achievements, it’s amazing that I’ve completed 27 levels of the Kumon English Programme."

Enthusiastic English Completer, Gabriel, began his Kumon journey at the Kumon Frome Study Centre at the early age of two. His proud mother, Susan Gatward - who is also the Kumon Instructor of the centre – has been there to guide and support Gabriel along the way. When Gabriel started Kumon, his older brother Elijah was already studying the English programme, and Gabriel soon followed in his footsteps to develop a love of learning. Nine years later, aged 11, Gabriel has accomplished his goal of completing the Kumon English Programme ahead of starting high school.

We caught up with Susan to find out what prompted her to enrol Gabriel at Kumon when he was two. “Gabriel was keen to start Kumon, like his older brother”, she told us. “He also showed a great interest in books from a very young age. I had seen the benefits of Elijah starting Kumon English at two-years-old and wanted to offer the same opportunity to Gabriel. However, Gabriel was very different from Elijah in that he was very active and not one to sit down for any length of time, so I wasn’t sure how he would take to it – but he loved it!”

Daily Kumon study soon helped Gabriel become a confident, independent learner, which gave him a head start at school. Interestingly, Gabriel can remember his very early days of Kumon.

“When I went to school in Reception I could already read and write well because of my Kumon practice and I used to help my friends with their school work. I progressed quickly through the school reading book levels because I’ve always loved reading. I still read every day; I loved reading the Eragon trilogy – it was amazing! I’m reading the Scythe trilogy now.”

As well as nurturing his love of reading, Kumon has helped Gabriel improve his spelling ability and understand the format of a wide variety of different texts, such as playscripts, poems, stories and non-fiction. Kumon has also helped Gabriel develop a study routine.

He told us, “It hasn’t always been easy completing Kumon daily, particularly as I have a very long school day. But Susan, (my mum!) has given me the motivation to keep going – by telling me what was coming next and setting me targets. It also helps that my brother Elijah, who also works at the Kumon centre, also completed the English programme himself. Even when school was closed during the pandemic, we carried on each day. My mum was on Zoom calls with students all day, but I was able to work on my own and then mum marked my work in the evening.”

Susan is equally pleased with Gabriel’s level of independence.

“Gabriel is just moving up to secondary school, which is a difficult transition at any time. But with the current pandemic situation and school closures this year, I have been very impressed with his ability to study independently with both his Kumon and his school work, while I have been working full time. Gabriel is not only working ahead of his age in maths and English at school; he is above national standards in all subjects. He approaches all his subjects with the same ‘have a go’ attitude and achieved results at the top of his year group in maths, English and science in his Year 6 exams. It was great to read his Year 6 report, where his Headteacher commented ‘It is rare to see a set of reports this strong, Gabriel; they really are a pleasure to read!’.”

Reflecting on his Kumon journey, Gabriel said, “I’m very proud of my achievements, it’s amazing that I’ve completed 27 levels of the Kumon English Programme. Kumon has certainly developed my confidence over time and I’m certain the skills learnt at Kumon will help me during secondary school. I am looking forward to starting school and making new friends.”

Susan added, “I would like Gabriel to have choices, to be able to pursue whatever subjects he would like to in his studies and later in his career, and to have the skills to tackle changes and challenges with resilience. I feel Kumon really develops these skills, particularly for children who study the programme longer term from a young age. I am also very keen for him to develop as someone happy to help others and enjoy all activities at school without having any worries about the academics.”

Congratulations, Gabriel, on completing the Kumon English Programme and achieving outstanding Year 6 results! As you set out on your journey to secondary school, we hope that you continue to take learning in your stride.