In praise of Year 8

The last few weeks of school, since before May half-term even, were relentless. I had no idea just how full-on it would be to have one child leaving primary school and one child doing his GCSEs, then finishing school early and hanging around at home asking for lifts. There have been so many events and so much driving around, it has been exhausting.

I was joking about it to another parent on social media who was going through the exact same thing. And I said ‘At least my other one is just in Year 8’. And she went on to tell me that she’s a big fan of Year 8. I hadn’t thought about it, but actually, Year 8 is the easiest year in the whole of secondary school, so as parents we should really make the most of it!

Think about it:

  • Year 7 – start secondary school
  • Year 9 – take options
  • Year 10 – starts GCSE courses
  • Year 11 – take GCSEs and potentially finish school (but do apprenticeship or college if not staying on)
  • Year 12 – start A Level courses/ do AS Levels
  • Year 13 – take A Levels, do university applications and leave school

And then there’s Year 8, when all kids have to do is sit back and enjoy the fact that they are no longer the youngest in school. There is absolutely no pressure.

But if your child is still in primary school and you think it’s ages until Year 8, fear not! There is an alternative. I give you Year 4…

A teacher friend once told me that Year 4 was ‘the least important year in primary school’ before rapidly backtracking and saying, but of course, ALL years at primary school are really important.

Think about it:

  • Reception – start school
  • Year 1 – start Key Stage 1
  • Year 2 – end Key Stage 1 and do SATs
  • Year 3 – start Key Stage 2
  • Year 5 – start working towards SATs and leaving school, maybe think about grammar school entrance exams
  • Year 6 – do SATs and leave primary school

And then there’s Year 4, when all kids have to do is kick a ball around the playground and enjoy the fact that they’re not the youngest in the Juniors any more.

So there you have it, if you’ve got a child heading for Year 4 or Year 8, enjoy it! Because they’re the only vaguely relaxing years in their entire school career.

Year 8, School, Secondary school


Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. What a great way to look at it, though at our high school you choose your options towards the end of year 8 and study GCSEs for 3 years. Though I am sure it’s the ‘easiest’ out of the high school years. Roll on year 8 for our little ladies x

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    • Wow, they even get stress in Year 8 at your school! But, like you say, that still sounds less stressful than the other year groups. Our little ladies will be in Year 8 before we know it! x

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  2. This is both funny and worrying in equal measure. How stressful must it be for these little people with all that pressure piled on them in ever year of school but two??

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    • I know! That’s school for you – new challenges every year! Luckily most kids take it in their strides. x

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  3. Wow, primary school sounds stressful these days! Are the SATs to assess the school or do children get individual results?

    Here, at elementary level anyway, there’s nothing like that. There is some standard testing in grade 4 and 7 (aged 10 and 13) but no-one gets individual results, there’s no prep, and the overall scores are published for the school. It’s actually quite controversial – the teachers’ union doesn’t support it and lots of people opt their kids out (we didn’t).

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    • Ultimately the SATs are to assess the school, but kids do get their results. They do prepare for them in class. It hasn’t been that stressful for my kids, but possibly other schools put more pressure on.

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  4. Goodness that is so much pressure for kids. We don’t have anything like that. They don’t have standard tests through primary. They do get tested and monitored, but it’s done much more discreetly and throughout the year. They kids don’t know it’s testing their abilities or anything. The only year that things are tricky are the high school years. First year is fine and half of second is ok. Then you pick the subjects to study in 3 and 4th year. Good luck and enjoy year 8 x

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    • Thanks very much! To be honest, I’m not sure that the kids feel that much pressure, it’s more that the parents know that the years are ‘important’ for various reasons. I think year 6s do feel a bit of pressure for SATs, then there’s pressure when choosing their options in year 9.

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  5. I’ve never really thought of it this way but you’re sort of right! Saying that, our primary school experience was nothing but a pleasure. Not a whiff of pressure or stress not even in the later years. Maybe we’re lucky to go to such a fantastic school? As for secondary, there might not be much stress in year 8 compared to others but actually this was the year that both of mine became absolute monsters on a personal level! Haha!

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    • I’d say we were very lucky with our primary school too. Yes, they worked towards their Year 6 SATs, but they didn’t actually put pressure on them. Sorry to hear your kids became monsters in Year 8! My son has certainly become a lot more stubborn over the last year, but he’s pretty good really!

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  6. It;s true and I had never really thought about it like that. It is slightly different with us as we have the middle school, so Year 8 is the final year in middle school. That means that Year 7 tends to be the easy year as there is no pressure, no SATS and then in Year 8 it is all about who will be prefects, head boy and girl, take on responsibility and preparation for the next school. When you look at the breakdown of each year, it does make you realise how much pressure kids are on though

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    • I did think about people with middle schools and thought it must be slightly different! Kids definitely do seem to be under pressure nearly all of the time, although I’m not sure that they all feel it, especially as it is the norm for them.

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  7. It all sounds very stressful nowadays. My favourite year at school was year 9.


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    • It does sound stressful, but I don’t think the kids find it that stressful on the whole. They know what to expect in every school year and it feels like a natural progression. I think my favourite was year 10 (although we called it 4th year in those days!).

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