Supporting your child in Year 8

By Year 8, our students should be familiar with the routines and organisation of secondary school life and able to get off to a flying start. In our experience they also really enjoy not being the youngest, and we rely on them to support our Year 7s as they settle into their new school.

Please support them in becoming more independent; encourage them to take responsibility planning their homework and remembering their kit, so they can learn to organise themselves. It’s great preparation for later in the school when self-management becomes more critical.

It’s possible that, for some Year 8 students, the novelty might have worn off slightly, and so it’s important to encourage them to stay engaged and continue to throw themselves into all aspects of Bourne End Academy life. There are a real range of activities taking place before, during and after school, from sports and performing arts groups to scholars clubs, and it’s certainly true that the more they put in, the more they’ll get out.

Social media use really ramps up in Year 8, and it can be hard for the students – and their parents – to keep it under control. We suggest imposing set limits, such as agreeing a post-9pm watershed after which their screens are out of bounds. Following the advice of e-safety experts across the board, we also recommend that tablets and mobile phones come out of students’ bedrooms at night, so they aren’t tempted into any late-night browsing.

It is also crucial that you encourage your child to think very carefully about what they post online. Please work with us to help them understand how the use of inappropriate language, or comments that could be deemed threatening, racist, sexist or homophobic could impact their future career paths. We will of course deal in school with any issues of this kind which arise, and any student involved will be held to account. All students must focus on communicating positively with each other, whether in person, or online.

It’s equally important for parents to understand what’s going on in the online world, as it changes so quickly – put simply, we need to try and stay one step ahead of our children. We will share the resources that are used to support students in personal development lessons via our school newsletter.

Year 8 is also typically the year when friendships undergo real changes; groups that were established in the students’ first months at the school often dissolve and reform around this time, which some students find difficult to manage. If your child is unhappy or you have concerns about their relationships, please do speak to your form tutor; we want to know, so that we can help.

More generally, if you’re concerned about your child’s anxiety levels or emotional wellbeing, you might find the Young Minds website a useful source of information – but again, speak to us too.

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