Over the next few weeks, Year 6 leavers all over country are going to have a look around their new high schools and will be finding out what they will be studying next year. Most of them will be approaching the experience with a unique combination of terror and excitement. Their parents, meanwhile, are misty eyed and reflective. It’s interesting to observe children as they approach the end of Year 6. Most of them have clearly outgrown their old school and are ready to move on. They strain at the leash of primary school and probably get on the teacher’s nerves. This is a perfectly normal rite of passage.
Typical Year 6 leavers behaviour
They may find some of the rules, which are in place to protect younger members of the school population, a bit suffocating. They are learning to behave like adults and want to be treated as adults. Of course, that is not always possible in a primary school environment. Nevertheless, I think there is something to be said for allowing Year 6 leavers to take on more responsibility. In return they can be awarded privileges.
I also feel that they deserve an explanation if they are asked to do something or asked not to do something. It is a courtesy that we would afford our fellow adults and is one that should be extended to them whenever possible.
Year 6 children can be very articulate and deserve to be listened to. Although I accept that this needs to be within the respectful confines of a teacher-pupil relationship! They are able to put together a coherent argument. We are raising a generation of critical thinkers and that, I’m afraid, will mean that we come in for criticism as well. We need to teach them how to level that criticism appropriately through the correct channels.
Spot the Year 6 kid!
It’s also easy to spot the Year 6 leavers from their uniform! If mandatory school uniform is in place in your school it is not unusual for Year 6s to ‘experiment’ with what they can get away with. They have been wearing that uniform for the last 6 years. They are probably fed up!
At the same time, you have parents like me, who have their last child leaving primary and have no intention of buying new uniform at this time of year. Especially with the expense of a whole new high school uniform just a few weeks away. Threadbare sweatshirts are retrieved from the bottom of wardrobes. You mutter ‘it’ll do’ as you cram them into a pair of school trousers that they outgrew several months ago. Roll on the summer when the whole lot can be thrown away!
I’d love to hear about your Year 6 experiences!