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Introduction to Year 8

Your child will continue to face big changes and will have started to become more familiar with the secondary school environment: finding their way around more confidently and being clearer on expectations and subjects. 

This is a vital time to discuss keeping safe online if your child is turning 13 in this year. Social media such as Facebook and Instagram require everyone to be at least 13 years old before they can create an account. A useful website to help your child stay safe online is Internet matters.

As a parent, your relationship with the school will be different, and you may feel less in touch. The school has an obligation to keep you up-to-date with your child’s education. Don’t hesitate to ask how the school intends to communicate with you, and remember, teachers welcome email contact.

In year 8, all children continue to be taught the same range of subjects. Generally, this involves Art, English, Dance, Drama, Humanities, ICT, Maths, Modern Languages, Music, Science, Sport and Technology. Some schools might offer you a choice of modern foreign languages and some will teach some subjects (such as food technology or textiles) in a rotation during the year.

Year 8 is the second year of Key Stage 3 (KS3), which is a period of transition between primary school (KS2), and the exam preparation years (KS4). Key Stage 3 lasts for three years: Year 7, Year 8 and Year 9, when pupils are aged between 11 and 14. Towards the end of Key Stage 3, pupils chose the subjects that they will be studying in their GCSE examinations. Some of these subjects are compulsory, whilst others are optional.

How you can support your child at school

  • Find out how to contact your child’s teachers and communicate with them. 
  • Find out about Parent Forums and Parent Voice
  • Keep an eye on your child’s progress and encourage them in all their subjects including English and Maths from year 8. If your child is working below target in English and Maths, ask the school for additional support and intervention.  They will have lots of ideas and suggestions.
  • Speak to the school if your child experiences any issues with his/her work.   Talk to your child every day about what they’re up to at school, what they’ve enjoyed and what challenges they’ve overcome and how.
  • Start thinking with your child about the subjects he/she enjoys most and how they feel they are progressing and can progress.
  • Find out when the qualification option choices will happen. It will be either year 8 or 9 depending on your school.
  • Find out what your child’s favourite courses will entail in year 9 (How much written work? What type of examination and qualification?) How can you support your child?
  • Talk about other skills your child is developing positively, like curiosity and creativity. Critical thinking and problem solving skills.  Learning from mistakes and trying again. Helping others and giving advice. 
  • Talk about the world of work with your child and help them to develop an understanding of the type of behaviours that employers will be looking for. 

Job types and career ideas in Plymouth    Careers advice

Maths and English

Maths and English are essential skills for helping young people achieve in their lives. These subjects help young people with all the other subjects they are learning. Maths and English build confidence and self-esteem, preparing young people for the world of work in the future. 

It is now a government requirement to be working towards a Grade 4 or above in Maths and English Language. This is also the entry criteria for some apprenticeships that’s expected by many employers.  

Whatever subject or trade young people want to specialise in, those who have not achieved a grade 4 or above in Maths and English Language by 16 years old will continue studying these two subjects.

There are lots of ways to improve your Maths and English. Speak to your child’s teachers for some advice.

GCSE grades are changing

It’s a good idea to understand what your child will be working towards. 

Here’s a quick video to explain:

How qualifications work

Find out more information about qualifications by visiting our qualifications explained page.

Moving schools in Year 9

If you are considering a transition in Year 9 to Scott Medical and Healthcare College in Plymouth or the Atrium Studio School in Ashburton, start to find out about them. All parents will receive a letter from Plymouth City Council about other education options at different ages each summer. Find out more information about Plymouth Schools. There may also be similar colleges in other Local Authorities that take students at Year 9. More information is on the Studio Schools website.

Find a secondary school    Find other KS4 schools