Is Year 8 a 'lost' year - Advice and Information needed

(51 Posts)
minesawine Sun 07-Jul-13 09:41:09

Hi all. Year 7 is nearly over, with all the trials and tribulations that went with it!

It has been a year of change and settling into a routine that is so different to primary school, but it has been mostly a good experience for my DS.

I have been told that Year 8 is a bit of a lost year, where not much happens, but nothing is new. They said it is the year when the kids are most disruptive, get bored and drop their grades and standards. Hormones kick in and school is way down on the list of priorities.

I find that a little bit worrying. Is it true? What happens in schools in year 8? Is it onwards and upwards or just a filler year before GCSE's start?

It has been onwards and upwards for my DS. Yes, it is a quiet yr without the pressure of being new and settling into a routine but you don't have the exam stress of yr9 and beyond. It is a time to just get on and learn. I wish there were more years like it but the current exam system doesn't allow it when schools are routinely having them doing GCSEs in yr 9

Hormones kicked in in this house in yr 7 so no difference this yr.

It will be fine. smile

HSMMaCM Sun 07-Jul-13 09:49:28

My DD's year 8 wasn't lost. She was comfortable in the school environment, no longer one of the little ones and really started to find herself. Learning accelerated, friendship bonds were secured and altogether very positive. Year 9 has been a bit rocky with pressure of choosing GCSEs, many assessments, etc

JWIM Sun 07-Jul-13 13:55:29

Have kept a close eye on DS this year - making sure he knows that he knows that I know it is an 'easy' year and any thought of not doing his best will not be OK.

We are now at the end and I hope he will move into next year with a positive attitude to learning.

That said, it has been hormone central on occasion!

It's been a lovely year for dd, she's comfortable with her friends and been able to just get on with the rhythm of school life. A good year for confidence building.

It's been a lovely year for dd, she's comfortable with her friends and been able to just get on with the rhythm of school life. A good year for confidence building.

Apparently it was a really lovely year.

In Y8, DS1 has learned to organise his time and his homework more effectively, and has made some effort towards learning how to revise effectively. I'm happy with his progress.

Talkinpeace Sun 07-Jul-13 17:13:41

DS is just finishing year 8 : its a building year
DD is year 10 so I've been through it before

8 is a year to start to find out who they are, who they want their friends to be and what they are really interested in
academically its lots and lots of groundwork - that seems boring - ready for the piledriver of year 9 building up to options
enjoy it

oh yeah - and the testosterone and growing an inch overnight ....

BrianButterfield Sun 07-Jul-13 17:53:46

There tends to be a lot of friends drama in y8 - I have more y8 girls crying than in any other year! Academically for me teaching English it's about starting to really embed some skills they'll be using in GCSE such as the rudiments of essay writing and so on.

minesawine Sun 07-Jul-13 17:56:14

I am feeling a bit more reassured, but happy to hear what everyone else has to say.

Hopefully DS will also grow an inch overnight, he is the smallest in his class and has not grown since year 5. sad

basildonbond Sun 07-Jul-13 17:57:01

Actually y8 here has been really good so far - ds2 is much more confident and comfortable in the school setting and has come out of his shell a bit more - he's even volunteered for a couple of things which would have been unheard of a few months ago

Academically he's not had to break into a sweat but did well in the end of year exams and his Spanish is coming on very well

No chafing against authority here (but still a way off puberty I reckon) and he is a rule follower so hates the thought of getting into trouble (unlike his big brother ...)

So all in all I'm pretty pleased

pixelchick10 Sun 07-Jul-13 20:22:23

yes great year - DD really settled in and became confident

pointythings Sun 07-Jul-13 20:32:25

I really hope DD doesn't accelerate her growing in Yr8, she's shot up 5 inches in Yr 7. confused

I do want Yr8 to be a year when she can settle down and really learn stuff - she has achieved a lot in Yr7, no complaints there, but it has been a year of change and after the pressure of Yr6 it will be nice to have a year when she can actually focus on learning new things and gaining in confidence.

treas Sun 07-Jul-13 21:53:17

Yr 8 for ds is his last year at middle school - he's had G&T trips including a History/Art trip to London on a Saturday and a Music/English workshop tomorrow with the chap who composed the music for the 2012 Olympic Games.

He's had extra Accelerated Maths classes and managed to get level 8s and 7s in his subjects.

Oh yeah and he had his first girlfriend - for all of a fortnight.

Good year with lots of hard work, good results and most importantly fungrin

pointythings Sun 07-Jul-13 22:00:47

treas he sounds amazing, so bright and rounded!

CatsAndTheirPizza Mon 08-Jul-13 00:29:48

Girlfriends in Yr 8? shock

treas Mon 08-Jul-13 08:41:48

Thanks pointy I thinks so but then it could be said I was biasedgrin

CatsAndTheirPizza - At this age all it involves is that when you go out in a group of friends you get to sit next to each other. They didn't even hold hands. After a fortnight they came to the conclusion that they were better off as 'just friends'.

Have to say my ds school have been brilliant with him and have really got him to perform rather than coast along as he did at his 'outstanding' First School.

Personally I think if you can get you child to understand that if they work hard they will see the benefits then Yr8 need not be a waste.

CatsAndTheirPizza Mon 08-Jul-13 10:51:32

Treas Aww. that's very cute.

I hope DS's school can get him to do something other than coast next year.

treas Mon 08-Jul-13 11:51:00

CatsAndTheirPizza - The turning point for ds was in Yr5 when although he achieved top marks in the tests he didn't get as many grade A's as he thought he should.

I told him go ask his tutor why that was and she told him straight that it was because he was not putting in as much effort as the children who were getting lower test marks and that he could achieve even more if he worked harder.

Have to point out it was all stuff I and Dp had already told him but obviously if the teacher said it then it must be truegrin

pointythings Mon 08-Jul-13 18:03:55

I'm very lucky in our local secondary, though I suppose it might backfire for some - DD1's group have been told that they are shooting for A and A* at GCSE in all academic subjects and less will not be good enough. Fortunately she's ambitious. She's a borderline L7 in maths, top of L6 in English and Science, similarly good in everything else and ahead of the curve in new subjects like History, Geography and MFL.

CatsAndTheirPizza Mon 08-Jul-13 18:51:33

Yes treas funny how they listen to the teachers hmm.

pointythings what are the expected levels in things like History and Geog for someone expected to get As and A*s at GCSEs? Our school gives results in enormous detail, but doesn't benchmark them in any way. DS (Yr 7) is 7c in Maths, 6 b in English, which I know are strong results, but I have no idea what a good result is in the other, newer subjects.

pointythings Mon 08-Jul-13 19:19:00

Cats I'm not sure what the expected levels are as they start at a much lower base (think L2 to 3 in Yr 5) but hitting L5 in these new subjects in Yr7 is considered very good, and her teachers have made their expectations very clear. Because they're new subjects they do tend to fly through the levels pretty quickly, so I imagine by the end of Yr9 is has all evened out a bit.

CatsAndTheirPizza Mon 08-Jul-13 19:33:22

Thanks pointy

gandalfcat Mon 08-Jul-13 19:45:59

My DS struggled with confidence in Y7, but Y8 has allowed him to realise he is capable of some great stuff, and has improved his planning, revising skills etc. We have had far less last-minute flapping on homework etc., and far less nagging required from me! I think Y8 has made him ready for Y9 IYSWIM, and I guess that is exactly what it should do.

pointythings Mon 08-Jul-13 20:58:43

gandalf the funny thins is that it's been Yr7 which has allowed DD1 to blossom. She's gone from always underplaying her academic strength (because people picked on her for it) to feeling confident and proud about doing well - because she is now part of a larger group of able children who are expected and expecting to do well.

She's also really enjoyed being able to take part in out of school activities - she plays netball and basketball for the school teams and does drama, and she's made a lot of new friends. It was Yr6 that she found really tough.

Meow75 Mon 08-Jul-13 21:05:46

A student achieving a Level 5 at end of KS3 would be expected to get a Grade C at GCSE, Level 6 = Grade B, etc, etc.

But of course, Dickhead at the DofE is fanning about so by the time current Y7 students get to end of GCSEs, they might be expected to give a kidney too!!!!

pointythings Mon 08-Jul-13 21:07:20

Meow and the pound of flesh nearest to their heart as well... If I won the Lottery I'd start HE tomorrow just to get my kids out of the clutches of this lunatic.

Talkinpeace Mon 08-Jul-13 21:10:50

My DCs went to a small primary so were climbing the walls with boredom by the end of year 6.
One term of year 7 and they realised that there were other people like them (bright) and who were better at sport and music and computing.
So year 7 was a whoosh of getting used to the (very) big school
Year 8 consolidating
Year 9 slogging guts out to get grades good enough to have choice in options
Year 10 - first half of GCSEs

May I join the queue to subject Gove to medieval treatment - properly researched of course

CatsAndTheirPizza Tue 09-Jul-13 17:01:32

Meow75 when does KS3 end?

CatsAndTheirPizza Tue 09-Jul-13 17:03:07

Googled - KS3 = yrs 7,8 and 9, yes?

CatsAndTheirPizza Tue 09-Jul-13 17:04:04

Sorry Meow another Q - is that the same in all subjects (i.e. even languages they have only just started?). Also, how do you know all this - is it written down somewhere?


Meow75 Tue 09-Jul-13 22:49:41


I know this because I have taught Science for 15 years, and it gets rammed down our throats. The students are also supposed to know the level they're on and their end of year and end of KS targets. Most, of course, don't know their arse from their elbow most of the time, even when you mark work and give targets for improvement.

I am not aware of parents being told of requirements for reaching any given level - I think most senior managers feel that this would overwhelm many parents, particularly if their own educational level isn't great. Only the short term targets given via verbal or written feedback are shared at my school.

As for other subjects, my good friend is a French teacher. It seems to be fairly normal for Y7 students to finish that year around Level 2/3 or 4 if they are bilingual or considered to be particularly talented at the subject.

Not being my subject I may have got this wrong, but this is my grasp.


Meow75 Tue 09-Jul-13 22:51:25

Also, I officially, many schools including the one where I work, are now classing Year 9 as KS4 not 3. According to gov't and NC, it is KS3.

Still not sure how this works, but have been doing it for 2/3 years.

Meow75 Tue 09-Jul-13 22:52:03


CatsAndTheirPizza Wed 10-Jul-13 00:10:43

Thanks Meow - that's helpful to know.

We get given targets for each subject - reviewed three times a year. However, like I said, they are not benchmarked in any way so are pretty meaningless unless you have insider knowledge.

DS1 is due to finish the KS3 course in Science, Maths and English in the December of Y9 and will then start the GCSE courses in those subjects in the January. So I can see why Y9 would sometimes be described as KS4.

In case Meow75 is interested, the Science course seems to be based on 'Exploring Science'. He has completed 32 out of the 36 units.

minesawine Wed 10-Jul-13 13:26:33

Thank you everyone, this was a really interesting discussion.

It is good to benchmark him against others, as he is low Level 7 and top Level 6. So academically he is doing really well.

I am still confused as to whether he will be the first year of the horrible new style GCSE's or the last year of the current style GCSE's. Does anyone know?

pointythings Wed 10-Jul-13 16:05:14

If he's Yr8 this year then he will be doing old style GCSEs. As opposed to my DD1 who is one of Gove's Guineapigs. sad

Talkinpeace Wed 10-Jul-13 16:12:50

If he's Yr8 this year then he will be doing old style GCSEs
What do you mean "old style"?
Modular went last year, the new linear ones are already well underway for year 10 (hybrid) and year 9 (full linear)

Gove's syllabus change is all hot air as the NC only applies to LEA schools and there are not many of those left

For Biology, Chemistry & Physics, DS1 is due to do iGCSEs with CIE. They are already linear and have no coursework. Not sure how much Gove is planning to change them.

Talkinpeace Wed 10-Jul-13 16:54:35

iGCSE are nothing to do with Gove.

I'm yet to work out who DOES set the curriculum standards for them as its not the AQA

pointythings Wed 10-Jul-13 16:55:49

talkin I meant 'new old' style GCSEs as opposed to the 'Gove' levels which are coming in starting 2015. Who can keep up with it all? And who knows what's actually going to be in them? On second thoughts every child between the ages of 4 and 16 is a guineapig for the man's grandiose ideas for a return to the 1950s.

Talkinpeace Wed 10-Jul-13 17:00:04

"Gove levels" are not real .... check the AQA details ... its all unravelling around his ears .... not much is changing from what already has

pointythings Wed 10-Jul-13 18:19:19

I hope his hair unravels around his ears.

I actually welcome the move to more linear exams, can't imagine what it must be like to never have a break from assessment. But after 3+ years of this I wouldn't believe Gove if he said the sun was a little warm.

minesawine Tue 16-Jul-13 19:47:32

I have just got back from the end of year pupil achievement evening and was told by head teacher that at the start of year 8 parents will need to attend a session where they are advised of the targets and expectations for the year. They said they are going to really push the children. This will all be monitored on FROG. My mind has been put at rest. Bring it on....

bigTillyMint Tue 16-Jul-13 19:51:48

Y8 was OK for DD, both academically and socially. Y9 has been much more tricky socially, fine academically as they start their 3yr GCSES courses/

I am hoping that DS might settle a bit more in Y8 after a horrendous surge of puberty hormones over the last few months! And he will be a Gove guinea-pig.

gazzalw Wed 17-Jul-13 11:34:31

I am hoping Y8 won't be a lost year for DS. He has failed to knuckle down this year at his super-selective and knows that he needs to up his game next year....fingers crossed....

CeliaFate Wed 17-Jul-13 14:12:14

This is spooky. I just came here to post exactly the same thread title! My dd has just finished year 8 and it was completely different to year 7. Much less homework, far fewer tests, very little pressure.

I think after the setting, testing and juggling sets they did in year 7, year 8 is treated as a "breather". We've been a bit disappointed in the lack of "push" year 8s seem to get.

That's interesting because my DS's homework definitely went up this year. I don't think he did very much at all in Yr 7 although he did quite a bit of it at school in the lunch breaks (he has AS and isn't 'troubled' by friends so whilst that generally worries me, it did at least allow him to spend lunch getting his homework done). In Yr 8 he doesn't have time to finish much in his lunchbreak.

They have had the same assessments and target setting this year - maybe one more formal level report, I can't remember now. They still have end of module tests every few weeks.

Schools are so different, aren't they?

Pointythings - "I actually welcome the move to more linear exams, can't imagine what it must be like to never have a break from assessment"

That is exactly how I feel about it. DS has to take his first GCSE next year (Gen. science) and then it is non-stop until 18, assuming he does A levels. It is too much. sad

Madsometimes Wed 17-Jul-13 16:38:40

A good year for my dd. She was the only one from her primary school at this secondary, so year 7 was a bit of a settling in period. Academically she plateaued, and had mates at school but not very good friends.

In year 8, her secondary school feels like home. She has made some good friends and her NC levels have increased quite a bit. I would say that year 8 is a happy year for my dd, so I'm pleased with how this year has gone.

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