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Year 8 - the 'forgotten' year

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by Roseanna2, Jul 3, 2019.

  1. Roseanna2

    Roseanna2 New commenter

    Hi all,
    I have an interview for a HoY position and I'll be taking over year 8.
    In interview, I want to mention that year 8 can often be the 'forgotten' year group and how I plan to change this.
    Is there any research available to support this statement? Or does anyone have any ideas on how I may be able to tackle this stigma that year 8 have?
    Thanks in advance!
  2. thecagedbird

    thecagedbird New commenter

    I think it depends on individual schools. Some move ‘ks4’ to years 9-11 and then year 8 becomes their ‘options’ years.

    I don’t necessarily agree with this but think it’s what some have done to make year 8 more significant.
  3. peter12171

    peter12171 Star commenter

    Having done plenty of supply over the years I have found that Year 8 (and sometimes Year 9) behaviour reflects this truism, although firm factual evidence would be difficult to find. My suggestion is that Year 7s have a lot of attention paid to them because they are new, and most are also quite nervous as they are now at 'big' school. Years 10 and 11 get loads of attention, and tend to focus better, because GCSEs are looming. Years 8 and 9 are the years that get less attention, and thus cause greater behaviour issues (this is very noticeable on supply!).
    phlogiston likes this.
  4. ScienceGuy

    ScienceGuy Established commenter

    Adding to what Peter has said, if staffing is an issue in a school, Yr 8 is also more likely to have non-specialist teachers teaching them (or sometimes the newer teachers) as it does not directly affect the GCSE teaching.

    On a separate note, Yr 8 is often when puberty issues start kicking off which adds to the difficulties some of the students are facing.
    peter12171 and phlogiston like this.
  5. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    Possibly you are looking at transition research. I would be less focused on them being the forgotten year and more focused on them receiving an inappropriate curriculum. Watered down GCSE lite content and assessment for KS3 is right in the centre of ofsted's new bullseye. A better though out curriculum including some of the things you are thinking about with the forgotten year would frame this cleanly within a contemporary context.
    phlogiston, Roseanna2 and minnie me like this.
  6. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    A long time ago the focus of Y7 was settling and forming good habits / routines / developing a disposition for ‘learning’ - (and from experience they were no longer the shy, easy to work with, fazed by the ‘big ‘ school sorts - in fact increasingly street wise and over confident ! ) Y9 used to be dominated by SATs. Y8 lacked a kind of focus ? Agree totally that ‘a fit for purpose ‘ coherent curriculum is key. Will you have any influence to bare because tacking what you perceive to be an issue cannot be done in isolation, firefighting or being a traditional ‘ floating head of death’?
    Roseanna2 likes this.
  7. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    I remember my tutor group arriving back in September one year, very clear that the biggest thing about year 8 was ... that they would have their BCG jab!
    Piranha likes this.
  8. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    Seems a touch untactful if you ask me! The school may not think it is true for them, and therefore not like the idea of being changed. But you can still discuss your ideas.

    I am not sure you can do a lot about the curriculum - the various departments tend to own that. But I assume that Year 8 tutors will be guided by you. U rather enjoyed tutoring groups in Year 8 who I had welcomed into the school in Year 7, and hope I helped them to see it as a significant year.
  9. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    There are several thoughtful comments above. I see where you're coming from with regard to them being the forgotten year, but think that it's not so much "forgotten" but no impending assessment targets. I suspect that on some school timetables, they're the last year group to go in, with the timetable mismatches that may therefore occur.
    Year 8 often have behaviour problems, all the puberty stuff with emotional intelligence lagging behind. In addition, those with learning difficulties, will be discovering more problems trying to keep up with their more fortunate peers both academically and socially.
    Some of them will need fairly intensive pastoral or learning support help to keep them on track. The year group as a whole need a worthwhile and appropriate curriculum, but also celebration as a year group. This should be the year for the cross curricular projects, the exciting trips or events, the big bold broadening experiences before the nitty gritty of exams grinds in.
    This is also the year where a lot of kids work very hard and develop the skills and confidence to move towards the years (and tears) of formal assessment. They need cleebrating too.
    peter12171 and Piranha like this.
  10. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    I should point out that the Year 8 curriculum is the entire school experience - what we call extended school. So everything, every club, every PSHE, every trip and including the subjects. Whole school leadership is exactly that - leading across the subjects rather than within the subjects. It's a good step up.
    Piranha likes this.
  11. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    I think in days of yore it was known as ‘ the hidden curriculum ‘ :D
    MrMedia likes this.

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