What a year it is for year 6 children, I have to say I did approach this academic year with so much naivety. Year 6 brings sudden growth spurts across the class and personality changes and Its such a rollercoaster of emotion for all the children, which then extends to parents and even grandparents! The moment schools close and they leave year 5 looking forward to the summer holidays, its holiday that can't really be enjoyed like others as the dreaded 11+ awaits on their return to school. Either revising for this exam or just mentioning the name 11+ is something new to the children and an indication of their inner personality how they will now cope with this daunting experience. It is a challenging time and just one of many "life" tests they will face in our lives. A cruel lesson to learn some will say? Which is a debate for another day.
Once our children return all excited from the holidays telling friends everything of what they did in the summer, the clock slowly ticks away as the day of the 11+ approaches. Rightly or wrongly in your viewpoint a test which does put pressure on our children and probably the first really stressful period of their lives that they will face. No sooner as this test is over and the relief surfaces in their personality, it's time to look at new secondary schools. A school they will need to endure for a large part of their lives and a part we want them to be happy with in their choice. Another sign of how times have changed as many years ago when I was this age... My parents told me what school I was going too, whereas in this day and age it's the children making their choice of which school they'd like to go too? It isn't too long before the anxious wait starts again for the results of the 11+, which determines which school they can now realistically and academically apply for?
With this stage finally over you'd think the year is all down hill from here and plain sailing. Christmas comes and requires practicing for their last Christmas activity performance. An event they've been doing since aged 5. The New Year starts and the children have settled into a daily routine, A routine soon to be broken as parents wait for the dreaded "email" of news of what school their child has been accepted into. A decision made by the council, which is out of all control of every parent, which then brings joy! Disappointment or anger with the decision made by algorithms of a computer of what school their child will now be sent too, to fill spaces rather than human mind which uses common sense and locality?
Once this dust settles it's not too long before the dreaded SAT's test week starts and parent s feel they are still on square one and time has gone backwards to the 11+ period earlier in this school year as it plays with emotions and it s week children just want to get over and done with.
From here on [good news] it is plain sailing suns out, applying sun lotion before leaving for school, no wearing school jumpers to school, playing on the school field very little work or high levels of work having to be maintained. School excursions and the fun sports day and before long the last week arrives of the last school activity performance, leavers disco or as it's more commonly know now as the school prom. Parents running out to buy special outfits. Booking a limousine to take a group of children to school, girls having new hair styles and getting pampered visiting the local nail bar and getting freshly painted fingernails, all of which , makes our children look more grown up, rather than being aged 11!
It certainly was a busy time for me with all the above but this last week finally you see light at the end of the tunnel. Yes it's sad seeing children go all their different ways and leave friends they've know for many years and I hope in this day and age with technology at their disposal they can keep in touch with friends more than we could. We didn't have mobile phones or tablets and used Commodore 64, Spectrum and BBC computers with ridiculously slow internet speeds. I remember getting told to get off the house phone so the next person could use the phone and their certainly wasn't notifications via call waiting!
This definitely is a time a time for great photography and I made sure my camera was in great shape and I was on top of my game as I was asked to take pictures for our schools sports day and for a group of friends attending the prom. I took many pictures within this time for memories alone. Memories I wanted to help share amongst parents and class mates of their gorgeous outfits and their attendance to the school "prom" Its also something for everyone needs to look back on reminding them of what they wore and how much they will have changed over the years. An American tradition but its slowly gathering momentum here in the UK. Like it or not it's an expensive time for parents but a period in children's lives and one which they want to join in with, with their friends and adds to their school life memories. As a parent and photographer, trust me it's a pleasure to help in this way. I just wonder how many parents of older children kept this year 6 a secret from me, who could have warned and helped me prepare better for this year better. Or did you warn me and I was just to naive to really understand? I've learnt a lesson now to which will prepare me second time around for my younger daughter but either way... Parents of younger children soon to be In year 6 read and re-read the above article plan ahead and get your head in the game. Year 6 is a tough year for all parties involved but a lasting and memorable one to cherish. Good Luck one and all!!