Supporting your child in Year 9

By Year 9, your child should be well on the way to independence, both in terms of learning and self-management. It’s important that they are able to take responsibility for themselves and learn from their mistakes, and this is something parents can really help them with. Try and refrain from fixing things for them; for example, if they forget their PE kit, don’t rush to drop it in for them. Leave them to accept the consequences and learn for the next time.

We too will be encouraging a heightened sense of responsibility in our Year 9s, who are the senior students at our lower school. There will be a variety of leadership opportunities available to them, including mentoring Year 7s and becoming a school prefect; please encourage your child to put themselves forward for these roles.

We also recognise that, by Year 9, the issues they may be facing become more serious. So we offer a number of workshops and sessions to help them navigate aspects of teenage life such as drug awareness, stress management and safer use of social media and the internet. We will let you know when these are taking place, as they can be a useful trigger for your own conversations about these issues; however awkward you may find it, it’s always good to talk.

From a learning perspective, Year 9 students have already made some initial choices and will be further refining their options towards the middle of the year as they build their final GCSE portfolio. If they need any help deciding which courses to pursue, you could suggest that they speak to their class teachers; we will also invite you and your child to a GCSE choices evening before final decisions have to be made.

As a family, you might also find it useful to familiarise yourselves with the changes to the GCSE grading system; we offer a parent workshop on this subject part way through the year, but you can find a bit more about it on the government’s website  Please take a look at the slides from our Upper School Parents evening here.

At the end of Year 9, we mark the students’ graduation to our upper school with a summer ball, which students earn the right to attend by demonstrating maturity, resilience and independence. This is a really practical way of demonstrating one of the key lessons for this age group: in school, as in life, effort = results. Do please reinforce this message whenever the opportunity arises and encourage them as they work towards completing their graduation passport.

Please also reassure them that as long as they do their best, and work hard, they will achieve what they deserve.