7 years on: The end of primary school

And so Isaac’s time at primary school has come to an end. Now the clock starts on a whole new journey.

Seven years ago this September, a four-year-old Isaac made the jump from preschool to primary school. He waved goodbye to an extended family of staff and friends – which included his own brother and sister – and embarked on a grand new adventure. New friends. New teachers. And new lessons and experiences.

This September, an 11-year-old Isaac will move up from primary to secondary school. He waves goodbye to an extended family of teachers and friends – including his own brother and sister – and sets off on another grand adventure. New friends. New teachers. And even more lessons and experiences.

We’ve come full circle. One chapter ends; another begins.

A few struggles but many succeeses

Over seven years, we’ve watched our little boy grow into a young man. (One who is now barely an inch shorter than his mum.)

There have been struggles. He’s a sensitive, introverted soul and a natural academic, who hasn’t always been in with the in-crowd. He’s conscientious and a perfectionist, which means sometimes he puts too much pressure on himself. Plus he carries the additional burden of responsibility that comes with being the eldest of three siblings. He is so capable and mature and sets such high standards for himself that it’s too easy to forget he’s still more boy than man.

But there have also been many successes which have left me glowing with pride. Yes, there’s the academic stuff. The glowing school reports. The end-of-year prizes. Serving as head boy this past year. Earning a place at grammar school. But there have also been many achievements which go beyond mere academics that make me equally proud. Hearing about how well he works with and coaches learning partners in class. Watching him give his all in school plays. Seeing the easy, confident way he interacts with friends, teachers and even Ofsted inspectors.

He’s a much more rounded person than I was at 11. Back then, I was very much an academic geek with limited social skills. (As opposed to now, where I’m a social media geek with limited social skills.)

If you’ll forgive me a moment of self-indulgent proudparentitis, he is exceptional. He has taken some of the best characteristics of both his parents and become much more than the sum of his parts. Which is all any parent truly wants, right?

No fear

When Isaac started primary school, I was anxious – and, let’s be honest, more than a little afraid – about how our eldest child would fare in this big, scary new environment. After all, it’s a big change in a child’s life. Those first few days at school can set the template for the next seven years.

You could make the same argument about starting secondary school. But this time there’s no real fear or anxiety; I’m just excited for him. I don’t see stumbling blocks; I see opportunity and potential. I’m a little jealous, in truth.

For the past seven years, Isaac has repeatedly proven to us that he’s more than capable of rising to new challenges and confounding our fears. I know he’ll do the same in his new school in September.

One final look back at a few pictures from seven years of primary school. And then we’ll be looking only forward.

It’s been one hell of a journey these past seven years. May the next seven be just as eventful.


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