Yr 8 blip

(22 Posts)
Branunion Thu 02-Jan-14 20:07:02

I sent mine to private secondary in year 7 rather than do 7 and 8 at a prep. They've enjoyed settling and doing lots of sports and music rather than the intensive CE grindstone of the last week years in a prep

By year 10 they all seem to be the same academically, whether they've entered at year 7 or 9

PointyChristmasFairyWand Wed 01-Jan-14 18:24:41

DD1 is really enjoying Yr8 in her state school. She is part of an established friendship group of about 10 girls (she thinks 12yo boys are a waste of space though she has some friends who are boys) all of whom are highly academic and very sporty. She is in what the school call a superset, which is an elite set above set 1 for very high achievers. They push them very, very hard and are definitely into GCSE territory in most subjects, but she relishes the challenge. Not a wasted year at all, more like solid foundations for the future.

teacherwith2kids Tue 31-Dec-13 14:30:35

State secondary, starting at 11 - Year 8 seems to be brilliant for DS so far.

They are all settled in, and are set for most subjects. Everyone has a common base on which to build (the pupils come from a large number of primaries) so in subjects such as MFL there is no longer any need to cover material that some children did not cover in primary (DAS had 4 years of quality French teaching in his state primary, others will have had a much smaller amount of teaching from a non-specialist).

The curriculum is still broad, no choices except second MFL having been made, so even for academic DS there is a nice sprinkling of 'hands on' practical subjects that he is unlikely to take for GCSE. Extension for the able seems to be by a mixture of acceleration (early GCSE planned in Music) and by broadening (challenge through some really tricky source work in history).

There is continuous pressure from staff to do well and to try their hardest (and significant knowledge of each pupil in order to detect slacking), but with no high-pressure end point it is about learning much more for its own sake, and academic curiousity is hugely encouraged rather than being greeted by 'we don't have time for that, we have to revse / cover the syllabus / do this exam-style question to check your technique'.

Social groups are established and comfortable, and most pupils have found their niche in the school's extra-curricular activities.

If in a school that prepares for both 11+ and 13+, isn't there a chance that two years get wasted in exam prep / coaching / revision? At least with an 11+ entry point, or conversely a school that only does 13+, only 1 year can possibly be wasted in this way.... (as it happens, DS's sptate primary doesn't 'do' SATs prep in any particular way, so even his Year 6 was absolutely normal with lots of interesting new stuff to learn, with a week of tests followed by lots of extra cross-curtricular stuff in the final half term - but I appreciate that this approach is fairly rare.)

summerends Tue 31-Dec-13 14:16:06

That's a shame LIZS re learning nothing new in year 8, again that must depend on the school. Revision just before the school exams and after the Easter holidays for CE , late scholarships seems not unreasonable but not the whole year! You don't need trips either, just the usual mix of extracurricular activities and extended learning off syllabus.
Seems from what you and others say that it is a worthwhile for parents considering a prep school to ask what is done in year 8 to keep the children interested.

LIZS Tue 31-Dec-13 10:21:17

We found they didn't learn anything new in year 8 at prep school. It was a lot of revision and practice papers. There were trips and events too but some of these are to compete with senior schools and cost accordingly.

summerends Tue 31-Dec-13 10:04:45

monet that is likely to reflect your DS's prep school than be generally true. We had the opposite experience and those who took CE just seemed to be working steadily and had a lot of fun with other activities at the same time. I think it depends on how restrictive and unexciting the prep school is for the older children, if there are no new opportunities for them and has been grown-out of then it is a waste of time.

Ladymuck Tue 31-Dec-13 09:48:11

LIZS, thought the numbers could go up to 140 from 80/85 but again depends on what other schools are doing/interest from overseas.

monet3 Tue 31-Dec-13 09:32:35

Year 8 in a prep school !!! The first half of term is spent revising for entrance tests and the second half is spent revising for common entrance. The children are fed up and exhausted.
I really think year 7 and 8 have killed my DS love of learning.

LIZS Tue 31-Dec-13 08:43:11

And if the senior school uses its own exams or pre-tests for offers, CE becomes less relevant to that child, so you can still get a blip .

LIZS Tue 31-Dec-13 08:41:17

I've had dc do both and tbh it depends on the child . Some children find Year 9 entry really hard going and take a year or so to feel comfortable as friendship groups are established and their cosy prep school group gets spilt up over several schools, with some boarding. Prep schools are in business to get 13+/CE results, they want bums on seats and to keep enough sporty children to sustain their teams for example. Fees are often pitched slightly lower than senior schools to try to maintain numbers. The atmosphere is different in year 7 and 8 and the academics rigorous for those who do not perform well either academically or extra curricular it can be demoralising. And it feels really odd having adult sized children among a prep school.

LM surely they take less than half again at 13+, ds' intake at year 9 was about 35 on top of 90-ish existing, many of which were boarders. Some do the other way round but all the local ones I know of take majority at 11 or are 13+ only.

Wobblypig Tue 31-Dec-13 08:21:02

Sorry, meant to add, so interesting for you to say that too.

Wobblypig Tue 31-Dec-13 08:19:35

Watfordmummy, that is part of what the school is claiming, that years 7 and 8 are very different in prep than in secondary schools .

Ladymuck Mon 30-Dec-13 23:47:29

Our senior school have certainly mentioned the year 8 blip, but no mention of a CE type approach to combat it! The school has its largest intake at 13 but that is due to it being a common boarding entry point, etc. So yes it has been mentioned as a key feature of a journey through senior school life, but not as a reason to stay at prep school. If anything the school seems to emphasis cocurricular involvement during this year as it is also the year where it is cool to drop music and clubs.

tiggytape Mon 30-Dec-13 22:37:36

I cannot really see how joining a school in Year 9 would be beneficial if most of the other pupils had joined in Year 7. Friendships are very well established by then and the start others have enjoyed would be completely lost to any new pupils. I am sure academically they would be slotted in but it wouldn't be the same.

If the intake is split evenly between Year 7 and Year 9 then I suppose there is more genuine choice and the secondary school will also be used to newcomers in Year 9 and on integrating them. Perhaps then it depends on whether they have outgrown their current school and maybe how many of their friends or year group will remain behind for Years 7 & 8.

And of course, some schools don't take any pupils until Year 9 so if you are aiming for one of those then the choice is already made for you.

watfordmummy Mon 30-Dec-13 22:20:32

Ds1 transferred at yr 9 from prep school, have to say best decision we made, youngest will also transfer at same age. As the prep school system is set up for yr 9 transfer I would go with it. Yrs 7&8 are when prep schools come into their own in my opinion grin

Wobblypig Mon 30-Dec-13 22:13:22

It was made to sound as if this was a well known secret amongst teachers. Sounds more like a ploy to stop a yr7 defection then.

tiggytape Mon 30-Dec-13 22:07:48

My DS is currently in Year 8 (state school) and if anything, the school really seem to be ramping up the pressure this year. DS is in top sets and they're already covering GCSE maths and English texts. There's lots of talk about future options and the homework is so relentless that the Christmas holidays have been a bit of a relief all round!

Perhaps they anticipate a Year 8 dip and compensate for this by keeping their noses to the grindstone? I am sure most schools don't just let all their pupils coast and misbehave fo ran entire year. For DS certainly, I cannot imagine that he could possibly be doing any more than he is now if he were at a prep school rather than state school.

DS1 has just had a Y9 blip (drop in motivation, falling behind in a couple of subjects). I'm very glad he has already been at the school for two years, that the staff understand him and know what he is capable of.

JugglingChaotically Mon 30-Dec-13 21:57:37

DC1 did not enjoy year 8 and I was told by many that it was a fairly hard year as settling in in year 7, starting to focus on GCSE choices in year 9, but that year 8 could be a horror.

invicta Mon 30-Dec-13 21:53:15

I have heard that year 8 is where pupils can loose academic interest.

scaevola Mon 30-Dec-13 21:51:09

It's utter bollocks, unless the destination school is not very good.

Wobblypig Mon 30-Dec-13 21:20:08

Headmaster recently raised the issue of the yr 8 blip as a reason to stay at prep school til 13 rather than leave at 11.
He stated that this was a recognised phenomenon in education circles and when a child start secondary school at 11 they spend the first year settling in and the next yr , yr8 has no particular focus so is often spent treading water and that behavioural problems were worse in this year.

He went on to say that transferring at 13 means that you maintain academic momentum getting through common entrance and then launch into goes options when you get to secondary school.

Has anyone heard of this or this a ploy to get pupils to stay on at prep rather than xiong 11+?

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