Benefits of Years 7 and 8

The first years of secondary education are crucial; children should thrive in an environment where they feel nurtured, challenged and respected. The final two years at Skippers are one of the most exciting and exploratory stages of the children’s preparatory school education. Maturing at the ‘top’ of the school allows them to develop into well-rounded young people, more confident and socially aware, and better equipped at thirteen to face the rigours and demands of senior schools than they are at eleven.

Every year we welcome a number of new children in Year 7 who join our children to complete the Common Entrance course. Skippers offers tremendous opportunities and a variety of experiences to our older children. Reaching Year 8 affords our children a great sense of achievement and completion of their Skippers’ journey.

A recent research group led by Sandra Leaton Gray, an associate professor of education at UCL, found that segregating children into year groups during the Covid-19 pandemic has had one unexpected benefit: Year 7 children have flourished as they’ve been eased into big-school life more gently. Leaton Gray suggests that permanent change should be considered for this age group as a result. This research that supports Sir Anthony Seldon’s assertions and experience, both as an educator and child.

Benefits of Years 7 and 8:

  • ‘Big fish in a smaller pond’ and being at the ‘top’ of the school with extra responsibilities allows our children to thrive and enjoy their childhood, not feeling the need to grow up too quickly.
  • Being the oldest members of our prep school at age 12 or 13, as opposed to being the  youngest members of the senior school community, encourages maturity and independence.
  • Children have the opportunity to take on roles of responsibility within the school such as Prefects, Heads of House, Heads of Sport or Heads of Music, etc.
  • For a less self-assured child, remaining in the small and nurturing environment of a prep school for longer will help to build their confidence.
  • Years 7 and 8 are when many children will face new challenges with regards to physical and emotional changes as a result of puberty. This journey can be made easier amongst friends and adults whom you trust and who can devote time to guiding you through the challenges which you may face.
  • The pupils continue to be taught by specialist teachers in a broad range of subjects including Science, French, Music, Art, Drama and Sport.
  • Regular visits, workshops and field trips, including: a day trip to the Titanic museum in Belfast, the French Trip, a week long residential in the Summer, the Eastbourne International Tennis competition and visits to our local senior schools to support the transition of the children and to provide them with the opportunity to be challenged in a new environment.

I was at a prep school myself as a boy and those final two years were the most rewarding of my schooling career.   Personally, I think it is barmy for parents to move their children from a good prep school at age 11.

Sir Anthony Seldon, Formerly Head of Wellington College and Brighton College

Years 7 & 8 were certainly the best years I had at Skippers, so many amazing opportunities and experiences that I could share that has allowed me to feel ready to move onto Senior School.

Year 8 Leaver