Year 8 is a momentous year for a boy at Prep school. Top of the school, his next school chosen, it is a year of both consolidation and new beginnings. The Year 8 have high expectations of themselves and each other, as do we. It is important that we help each boy in his last year at the school to remain focused, free of anxiety and looking forward to the future.


The Head of Year 8 works closely with the boys, their tutors and parents to help oversee the welfare, academic progress and conduct of each boy during his final year. He will assist the boys through their preparation for mock exams and interviews, ensure that they are following the specially tailored revision programme, and he will help mentor them through the final exam period.
The final year begins with an away day of team building exercises, which eases the boys gently back in to work mode after the long holiday. It also helps to establish the year group as a cohesive unit with an important common aim.

The final term of school

Scholarship and Winchester College entry exams are quite early in the term, but Year 8 lessons continue until the end of the final summer exam, with teachers taking the opportunity to teach beyond the syllabus and to extend the boys’ knowledge. Spanish and German may replace French, for instance, or Ancient Greek may be taught instead of Latin; different periods of history may be studied. This continued sense of purpose helps to maintain the focus for the boys who have yet to sit their exams.


Once Common Entrance is finished, all the boys begin their Leavers’ Programme. Curated by the Head of Year 8, this is a series of activities and events designed to be fun or educational, and often both. It has become a Pilgrims' tradition to mark the launch of the Leavers’ Programme with a celebratory round of ice-creams for the last exam candidates and a mass exodus of the whole of Year 8 to Lymington for a crabbing competition.


As part of their Leavers’ Programme, the boys undertake a personal enrichment project, entirely of their own devising. Many opt to raise money for charity, through sponsored events or sales of something they have made. Others may use the opportunity to research a keen interest in further depth. Some work alone, others choose to combine their skills in a team effort. Past projects have included making a surfboard, a rocket, producing a guide to rearing hens, staging a magic show, coordinating a sports tournament and producing a fundraising concert in the Cathedral.

The programme varies each year but the basic framework will include a Leaver's project and a residential week at an outward bound centre (the cost of which is included in fees). Additional activities have included:

  • A tour of the Houses of Parliament
  • A day learning bushcraft survival skills
  • A cycling expedition in the New Forest
  • First aid skills training
  • A guided tour of historic Winchester and Winchester Cathedral
  • A water polo tournament
  • What happens next - an informative chat from a senior school housemaster
  • The Great Tech Challenge
  • A trip to the Normandy landing beaches
  • Fathers v Leavers cricket match, with a barbecue and camp
  • Leavers’ Evensong in the Cathedral
  • Valete - a champagne reception after Prizegiving for our Leavers and their families