Frequently asked questions re being a parent or carer of a Year 8 student:
How does Year 8 differ from Year 7?
Year 7 was a time of transition to secondary school life, adjusting to the new expectations of students and the breadth of the curriculum and opportunities open to them. Year 8 is a time for developing confidence, resilience and embedding themselves within the school community. Year 8 should become a time of stepping outside of their comfort zone to try new things and push themselves to reach their potential.
From a learning point of view, Year 8 is a really important year. The students will make big steps forward in going from knowing lots of facts to being able to explain their thinking, justify their opinions and explain how they arrived at a particular solution to a problem. Year 8 is a big step on the way to choosing GCSE options in Year 9. Students will spend time with subject experts, they will be thinking about what they aspire to do when they leave school, whether that be apprenticeships, A-Levels at Balfour or college. The study habits that they develop in school and at home in Year 8 are so important in helping them to do well in their GCSEs.
What will my child be studying in Year 8?
Details of the subject content that students will follow during Year 8 can be found here - Curriculum - Sir Graham Balfour School
How can I support with homework?
Doing homework on the night that it is set; revising properly for assessments and listening to the feedback from teachers are all important parts of making progress in Year 8. So please arrange an area in the home where they can work, preferably free of noise or distraction: listening to music may be helpful, but constant checking of phone messages will surely be a distraction. Further support with homework can be found here - Homework/Independent learning - Sir Graham Balfour School
What help can my child access?
Every student’s initial source of support is their Form Tutor, who is there to support them to manage low level issues, maintain good organisation and to work through the everyday issues faced by adolescents. For those students requiring a little bit more support we are able to provide peer mentoring support through our upper school mentoring programmes and our Personal Development and Welfare (PDW) mentoring which is provided via our Teaching Assistants. Students can follow packages of mentoring activities with their mentor, designed to support confidence, manage frustration, resolve conflicts, build positive relationships and help with personal organisation.
Where can I go for help to support my child?
The NSPCC has an excellent website, with plenty of resources to support a variety of issues. There are also a variety of resources and websites we can direct students and parents to for self-help advice. Many of these are often signposted in our parent and student bulletins.
Are there any year specific issues I need to be aware of?
Social media can become an issue for our students at this age in particular. It is important to monitor your child’s use of social media regularly and to also check that they are age appropriate as many social media apps do have specific age limits on them. Advice and guidance on this is occasionally distributed via our Safeguarding bulletin to parents. The Young Minds website offers some advice to parents on talking to your child about social media and cyber bullying. The NSPCC also offers advice on online safety.
What sort of extra responsibilities are available for my child in Y8?
School Ambassador: the students in Y8 are given the opportunity to be an ambassador for the day. They will sit in reception greeting visitors and will take responsibility for assisting the admin team and delivering important messages around the school. There is an award given each year for the best School Ambassador.
What else can I do to help support my child in Y8?
Year 8 is a time of emotional change which can be very confusing. The hormonal changes can affect mood, attitude and ultimately relationships with people around them. Talk with your child regularly and celebrate in their successes. Rewarding and recognising the positive choices, behaviours and accomplishments will re-enforce these and help your child to build confidence and a positive self-concept.