In Years 8 and 9 students continue to study the same broad range of subjects. In addition, some students will start to learn a second language: German. Students studying a single modern foreign language will increase the number of lessons per fortnight dedicated to French whilst also receiving two additional lessons of English. These sets will complete the Foundation Certificate of Secondary Education in French by the end of Year 9.
Independent setting is introduced for modern foreign languages, science, computing and mathematics and English at the start of Year 8 on the basis of performance during Year 7. Other subjects continue to be taught in mixed ability classes. History and Geography are blocked in Years 8 and 9 and so have the freedom to set students as desired. Our current model is for a lower ability group to be created in both X and Y bands leaving three other equivalent ‘mixed ability’ groups.
A special feature of Year 8 is the ‘student reception’. Every student in the year group takes a turn to work with Student Support for a day. They undertake a range of tasks from talking to guests and showing them around the College to visiting lessons to assist with urgent messages and deliveries. This is a very successful and popular aspect of community service that gives students an opportunity both to understand more about how their College works and to show they can play a responsible part in contributing to it.
Under the leadership of the year 8 Student Council they prepare and run their own Christmas Fair to include stalls with games, devised by the students, and sell homemade cakes and biscuits. All funds raised go to a charity nominated by the students.
PSHE in year 8 covers a range of topics under the headings of personal and economic wellbeing including managing a budget, the dangers of smoking and the need for good nutrition and regular exercise. Each term students take part in an inter-form sports competition including games such football, netball, cricket and rounders. Citizenship covers national government and the electoral system. The number of arts subjects increase to include dance and are organised into different mixed ability groups that operate in a rotation.
Extra-curricular activities open to students in year 8 include sports, dance, drama and music.
Students can also apply for a place to take part in a number of activities, taking place at the end of the year, including residential trips such as walking in Derbyshire and touring historical sites in Normandy. There are also a range of school based special activities running at this time which are open to all Year 8 students. These currently include a specialist led workshop with a visiting artist, dance, art, cookery, music and a cultural visit to a nearby town or city.