Year 8 is important as the final year of academic preparation for senior school, but it is formative in other ways. Boys grow more independent and self-disciplined.
Every boy in Year 8 is given a specific responsibility. Prefect, Set captain, leader of the orchestra, chair of the school council, a representative on the food committee, leader of a boarding house, and so on – each has the opportunity to carve a niche and influence his school.
An exciting Leavers’ programme curated by the school concludes the year. Teaching moves beyond the curriculum to an exploration of new ideas. Boys are also prepared for the new situations they will encounter at senior school. Day and residential trips include a week at an outward bound centre in Devon and a tour of battlefields in France and Belgium. Each boy undertakes his own Leavers’ project, often to raise money and awareness for a charity. As they end their time together, boys engage in a host of bonding activities – a scratch drama, Fathers versus Sons cricket match, a barbecue with Year 8 pupils from St Swithun's, and much else, with everything culminating in the signing of each other’s shirts at the Valete after Prize-Giving. Finally, as their last act, they exchange their school tie for a Leaver’s tie.
The Valete tradition of signing Leavers' shirts.
Riding for charity, The Dean blesses a Leaver's project.
We are always sad to say goodbye to our Leavers. We have seen them grow from small boys into impressive young men. We are proud of them, and we take great joy from seeing them return, often unannounced, to remember old times, say hello to familiar faces, and reconnect with friends.