This article reports on the changing perceptions of the educational experiences of students as they move through the school system in one secondary school in south-west England. As part of a longitudinal study students were asked to express their thoughts and feelings about life in
year 8, often considered a year in which little progress is made and there is a ‘falling off’ of attitudes to learning. Students were asked to give their opinions about their learning experiences in year 8, and whether they still enjoyed the subjects they had been looking forward
to prior to transfer to the secondary school. They were also asked for the reasons they attributed to doing well or not doing well at school. Their views about the usefulness of homework were sought, and they offered suggestions for improving its usefulness. The majority of students in this
large secondary school felt that they were not ‘marking time’ and that they were working harder and learning more than they did in year 7. The research revealed gender differences with regard to the reasons for doing more or less well at school.
Research in Education has an established focus on the sociology and psychology of education and gives increased emphasis to current practical issues of direct interest to those in the teaching profession.