Now that the dust has settled on the Common Entrance results, the Year 8 students are in a period of long awaited limbo land. Mostly, they are in the final year of their Prep School and have licence to kick back and cruise towards the end of term.
How do children cope without structure though? For many, school becomes a stream of videos in class, an afternoon ‘on the fields’ and, best of all, no homework! To start with, the freedom is great as no one is badgering anyone to finish that Geography project or learn those irregular verbs. The pressure has been released and the atmosphere is one of calm relief all around. How long can this last?!
Some schools will organise a detailed and constructive Post Exam Programme, perhaps with a week away on PGL or an adventure in Morocco climbing Mount Toubkal. For those less lucky though, a little entertainment is often required. This can be a great time to learn new life skills such as First Aid, touch-typing or, simply, how to iron a shirt. Schools will often call in guest speakers to instruct on something specific. Indeed, they may even ask parents to come and share details of their professions and discuss what it is like to be a pilot, a surgeon or a banker.
For those that still need some kind of academic stimulus, why not try a taster course in a new subject? We have a couple of post- Common Entrance girls starting beginners Spanish next week to warm themselves up to the subject ready for a holiday in Spain first and foremost, but also ready for starting Spanish properly at their new schools in September. One Eton boy is practising public speaking with one of our drama tutors. He loves English and scores highly in his comprehensions and creative pieces but he panics when it is his turn to read out loud a character in a play or to recite a poem. He stammers and cannot focus or find his place. Though not assessed at Common Entrance, children do need to feel confident with speaking out loud and this could be a golden opportunity to develop their presentation skills.
The teachers understand that entertainment needs to be light and as fun as possible but, judged carefully, this time can be used purposefully as well.