"My MagiKats workshop" by A Student*

It's Tuesday, so it is MagiKats day. I go to visit my mentors, Matt and Jane, and the Principal, Paula, once a week. When mum suggested I start going for extra maths and English I was dreading it! Right from the first time I went though, everyone was really nice and the time just flew by! I now go every week and stay for two, 40 minute sessions. Sometimes it is hard, but my mentors are always encouraging and I know that if I am struggling, they will help me. Besides, working with the other people in my group is fun and they sometimes struggle too, so I'm not the only one! Mum picks me up from school and I have a drink and a biscuit on my way in the car. We do a run with Josh’s mum, so this week mum is dropping us off and then Josh’s mum is picking us up. There are girls and boys from lots of different schools at the MagiKats class – some of them are very big! As we arrive, Paula says hello and has a quick look at what I did at home last week. I missed one day because I was sick, but I am not in trouble, so that's good.

When I first started, it was strange walking in as there were lots of younger and older boys and girls. When I sat in my group for the first time, there were five other people as well as my mentor, some were older and some younger – but they were all friendly so that was good. Mum wanted to stay and watch – which would have been so embarrassing – but Paula explained that mums and dads have to wait in the waiting room or can go and get a coffee – so that was a relief!

It's maths with Matt first, so I go to his table and sit down. We are on the third week working on fractions and it is starting to get really tricky. I am a bit nervous about how hard it might get, but Matt explains that it is the last week on this topic and then we are moving on to something else. He suggests I start with a wrap-up and I love those, so I am happy! Everyone in my group is doing something slightly different as we have all reached a different place in the work. Matt works with Lucy and I for a bit, helping us work out which numbers go together to make up certain fractions. We then work on something alone and then work together again on a matching game all about fractions. Suddenly, the buzzer goes – that means there is five minutes left.

Matt gets me to do my feedback sheet. I have to choose my ‘face’ for today and I choose smiley. It's not because the work was easy, but because I enjoyed myself and am proud of what I managed to do. Matt agrees and chooses a smiley face for me too – plus he writes that I need to practice my tables more but that I understand fractions well at this level. I then earn two stamps, one for doing my work at home and one for working well today. I got a prize last week, so I have started a new stamp card today.

English comes next – I hate English. I find writing really boring and spelling really hard. I enjoy reading though. Jane tells everyone in the group that we are starting something new this week – characterisation – whatever that means! We start by discussing our favourite TV characters and everyone in the group seems to like Doctor Who, so we talk about him. I then have to write down all about his character and I don't enjoy that, but Jane encourages me to write at least one sentence in each of the boxes on the page and I manage that. She then lets me take a break by reading one of the short stories I love.

Even though I don't like English, the buzzer seems to come very quickly and another 40 minute session is almost over. I do my feedback sheet and stamps with Jane too and then it is time to go home. Josh’s mum comes to pick us up and I almost forget my homework – but she reminds me – shame!

I go to MagiKats almost every week now. I heard mum compare MagiKats to going to the gym – she pays for both every single month no matter whether we go every week or miss a week. Neither of us goes absolutely every week but we get a different kind of workout each time we make it. We even still go in the holidays – unless it is really sunny outside then mum sometimes takes us to the beach instead! I really like my mentors – I have been working with the same ones since I started MagiKats. My teacher changed in September – but my MagiKats mentors didn’t! I don’t know for how many years I will keep doing MagiKats but for now it is fun.

*'A Student' is obviously not real! This is a typical experience for a student attending the MagiKats workshops. Every child or teenager has their own, individual programme and therefore their experience will vary.

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