repeating reception year - advise needed!!

(47 Posts)
emmamayminford Tue 18-Jun-13 16:10:16

this is my first ever post. Please excuse any errors....as a mumsnnet virgin I feel there may be quite a few....

My son goes to a private school in west london and we have been advised by his teachers that he would benefit greatly from repeating reception year. He has had speech and language delays and is roughly 18 months behind, along with this delay he also has been slow to pick up all the other academic skills. On top of these academic problems he also suffers with dealing with his emotions. he is extremely aware of his 'issues' and really struggles to deal with them on an emotional level. He will get very upset, run off and the teachers find it very hard to 'get him back' ...luckily he isn't violent but still its very upsetting for him and his teachers! They are very loving and caring towards him but feel he will find it even harder moving up to year one. They feel he will be much more confident, emotionally more mature and academically better positioned if he does reception year again. My concern is that it is a huge decision for us to take at such a young age! He is a very tall boy in his year already, if he repeats the year he is going to be a giant...how will this affect him emotionally? I dont understand enough about his problems and feel that this is a step that should be taken once you have had him assessed by a ED psychologist surely? His teachers have said he's too young to be assessed but to be put back a year is such a big step they must have quite grave concerns. They haven't really given me any answers....no one has and I fell very out of my depth at this important stage.
Can anyone help???

Ladymuck Tue 18-Jun-13 16:21:40

Welcome to Mumsnet!

Not an error as such, but I recommend that you change your username asap. You should be able to do so under "My Mumsnet". Everything that you post here is very searchable on google, hence we all use nicknames.

Certainly you're correct to be apprehensive about keeping your son down a year. It can be a successful strategy for some children, especially those born in July/August, but I would be concerned that it is this school's only strategy for meeting his needs.

Does this school have an Ed Psych that they use?

emmamayminford Tue 18-Jun-13 19:33:59

thanks for advise ladymuck. have tried to change nickname but its not that easy. I may have to delete and start again, which isnt a problem as Ive only just registered.

i feel a little frustrated as its 4 weeks to the end of term and its just been dropped on us. still feeling quite upset about it. School have said they will support us in whatever choice we make but they feel its the best option for him. I think its his physical size that worries me the most as, like I mentioned, he's already heads and shoulders taller than his classmates ...he's was born on Christmas day so isnt young for his year, and we had a traumatic birth...(he was a breach birth delivered vaginally, on xmas day so low staffing levels, and they failed to assess his positioning at the time of examination....when they realised it was too late to do a Csection. It was very traumatic for all involved not to mention the staff who had no experience in delivering breach babies naturally. I sometime wonder if there is a link between his birth and his learning difficulties....

anyway as i said he's already tall for his year and I worry he will feel more self conscious. Not sure if the school has an Ed Psych...are there some questions that I should be asking the school?

I amnow going to change my details ....

Babycino81 Tue 18-Jun-13 19:37:56

I think you need to question the schools integrity on this one. I work with SEN children (not saying your son has extra needs but to give some perspective) and the absolute dire thought of repeatin a year makes me look at the schools practice. There is no such thing as being too young for support, which your post indicates he needs. To delay him a year will impact further on social development which is crucial to his learning at this age. Seriously, refuse to repeat the year and insist on the school pulling their finger out ASAP.

Babycino81 Tue 18-Jun-13 19:38:24

Apologies for typos - bloody phone!!!

allinatizz Tue 18-Jun-13 19:39:34

I agree with babycino, are the school looking at social development?

PS I have reported this thread to MNHQ, who can delete it if you want, to remove the full name username. smile

ilikesweetpeas Tue 18-Jun-13 19:45:36

Have you spoken to the school's special needs co-ordinator? I would ask to meet with them, and talk about an educational psychologist assessment. At 5 he is not too young for that. There are pre-school and early years specialists. I am not sure how you access that in a private school though. Des he have speech and language therapy? Keeping him back a year may help if his difficulties are purely down to delay, but not necessarily if he has learning difficulties. I would also be concerned that this could cause problems if you ever moved him to a state school as they would probably put him back in his correct year group.

LovingKent Tue 18-Jun-13 19:46:42

I used to work with children with speech and language difficulties. I agree with baby - they are never too young for support. All the evidence supports to the earlier the intervention the better in fact and Ed Pysch's are very good at assessing young children. Your DS may be too young for some of their more formal testing but a good Ed Pysch will also be observing in class / chatting to key teachers / speaking to you etc as well to get the full picture.

If your DS is struggling what has the school done about it during this year? They should have been discussing any concerns with you throughout the year and not just telling you about it now (although occasionally schools seem to decide that any problems are just due to "settling in" hmm )

SlowlorisIncognito Tue 18-Jun-13 20:06:55

I know it seems like a long way off, but what are the school proposing to do when he moves on to Secondary? If you are staying in the Private system, then it may not be such an issue, but in the state system, Secondary schools have concerns about them being the right age to take GCSEs for various reasons.

I think if his problems are severe enough to warant it, you should speak to your GP, and get an ed psyche involved. I think the school have behaved very poorly in not informing you of there concerns sooner, and presenting this like it is an ideal solution, and not informing you of any of the issues this might cause later in life.

I would be wondering if the current school is the best place for him, and if another might be able to deal with his issues better.

emmamayminford Tue 18-Jun-13 20:28:49

thanks to everyone for their support and advise. I will go back to the school and try and get some more answers...

his teacher has only really talked about his speech and language problems although the emotional issues have been on going throughout his reception year. I suppose because he is so young, they hope things will improve and they dont want to worry us unnecessarily, and of course they have given me a choice...they havent said he MUST repeat, they have just suggested it as being the best solution for him. i want some further clarification on what his issues are though, before taking this step so will definitely seek for more help...through school or through an Ed Psych. Salt has said she can only advise on his language issues not anything else :-(

feel totally stressed, upset and really worried for my little lamb!! Just want to make the right decision and feel like I am being pushed into a corner!

lljkk Tue 18-Jun-13 20:36:06

Being a giant in reception year (again) won't mean much, odds are he will even out with others by yr2-3.

I am very impressed you've been offered this.

AlienAttack Tue 18-Jun-13 20:37:52

Hi OP, I think you have received some good advice here and your decision to approach the school and seek more answers is a good one. I am really surprised that the school are making this suggestion so early on in your DS' education and I think you really need to question why this is their preferred option (if it is) versus more intensive support next year etc etc. In my experience, state schools would not be able to suggest this approach and it does smack of an "easy option" for the school. I think you really need to feel comfortable that this is being done in the interests of your child and not in the interests of the school.

Do you have any idea of where he is academically? Ie his levels? And does he have an IEP? This is an individual learning plan, not sure if private schools do them but it should detail what his individual learning targets are and how he is doing in terms of achieving them.

I would want to know what the school have tried in the form of interventions too. If they have tried everything and he is still behind then maybe it is best and he is just to yet developmentally ready. If not then it is less clear cut.

Has he had a speech and language therapist in to see him a school?

And does he have difficulties dealing with things at home too or is it just when faced with work at school that he can't do?

Itscoldouthere Tue 18-Jun-13 21:02:56

Hi Emma

I have a DS who repeated reception (now 15!) but he was the very youngest in the year and was really to young for the formal work that kicked in in year 1.

He was later diagnosed with dyslexia ( year4)

He was in state school (in London) and he has always remained in the year he was put in, we did transfer to a state secondary and did not have to move up a year.

He is now in private school and there are quite a few out of year pupils.

bizzey Tue 18-Jun-13 21:32:18

Humm tricky one ...I have been in your position OP and will try and give you my views/expeirience...and hope to be unbiased.

4 years ago I ...LTB grin and moved me and my boys 200 miles away nearer to my mum and dad . Ds3 should have gone into yr1 but there was no spaces and school and I mutually agreed he should do YR again...where there was a space (I knew he was "behind" so thought it would help).

He hated it sad...in hindsite now I realize he couldn't cope with "free play and learning" and needed structure (at the time everyone put it down to the move ....but now they believe me !)

At the end of the year a place came up in his proper year group ...so that September he move from YR to YR2. He liked the formal setting and it then became obvious under my insistance that he needed extra support at school.

A few things that you do need to think about ;

How is he going to feel if his friends/classmates move up and he doesn't...

Unless you stay private forever one day he will have to jump a year to get into his proper yr group. My ds is end of July born and I still had to move him up eventually they said ...state school.

My gut instinct is move him up but get an IEP /senco/support plan under way.

I keep re-reading your post to make sure I am getting my facts right and I know my expierience is state so might be sooo wrong....but he ust sounds so like my little ds in every way.

I have /can have more to say ...but I think I have gone on enough... Talk to school and see what extra help they can give him in YR1

Good luck

emmamayminford Tue 18-Jun-13 21:42:36

thanks all. Im not sure what support the school offers for children with learning difficulties but I am now certainly going to question this. Our DS passed the assessment process so I guess they will be a little annoyed?!

In response to checkpointcharlie what has been a little strange is that when he was at nursery he had an IEP but since starting school there has been nothing! Will chase thanx for reminding me about IEP's!

thank you lljkk for re-assurance about his size...it seems a silly thing to worry about but I do.

If I agree to hold him back I have decided I am going to insist on 3 things....

1) that he gets an assessment of some sort, or further clarification from the school on his ed needs so that I can understand what is best for him

2) that his educational needs are then put into a personal plan!

3) I will ask about issues he may face when he is older

basic eh? i feel a little niaive that it has taken these posts to help me formalise my opinions....I have obviously had my concerns as a mum and have voiced these over the year but have been told not to worry...I have now been told they want to hold him back...and OMG I am worried!!

stealthsquiggle Tue 18-Jun-13 21:53:58

OP - my DC's school does this when the need arises, and it seems to work well.

One question to ask would be whether there will be an opportunity to put him back with "his" year later. Of those children that I know of who have repeated reception some have skipped Y3 to rejoin their year group (hard to explain but it does work as it is the point where they move into another part of the school and there is lots of movement and more streaming) and others have stayed with the "new" year group.

For all of them, though, I would say it seems to have been the right thing to do . Instead of struggling on into Y1 they gain huge amounts of confidence and move on from a stronger base in 12 months.

emmamayminford Tue 18-Jun-13 22:21:35

thank you stealthsquiggle - i think my mind is made up...I feel the school is acting in the best interest of our DS2 and Im going to go with their advise. I will ask if he can make the time up later though

Well done, I think you should now get enough info to make a more informed opinion. Come back if you need to!!!!!

bico Wed 19-Jun-13 00:30:51

Before I'd make this sort of huge decision I'd want to know exactly how my ds would benefit from repeating the year and why this would be better than moving into year 1 and being supported.

I would also want to know why no IEP was provided in reception when he had one in nursery and has had problems in reception.

I would be concerned that the school are deferring a problem rather than dealing with it. If there is no greater plan than simply repeating reception I doubt I would agree. What do the school expect to happen in the repeated year and how will this be measured? What happens if your ds stays back a year and hasn't made sufficient progress at the end of that year?

Personally I would be getting an EP to assess him. I would be very hmm if ds's school raised this sort of issue just before the end of term.

LazyMonkeyButler Wed 19-Jun-13 00:40:26

Well, what jumps out at me first is that 5 is not too young for an Ed Psych assessment. DS1 had his first at 4.

Having a SEN child myself (DS1 has Aspergers and probably had ADHD when younger), I would be happy enough with this solution so long as I was convinced that DS would not be upset about his peers moving on without him.

LetsEscape Wed 19-Jun-13 17:11:47

5 years isn't too young for an EP when it is about complex issues like this. Could school be mistaken because EPs often feel that under 7 is too young for a dyslexia-type assessment? EPs training covers 2 to 19 years.

It's a big decision to repeat a year as once out of phase you have to stay out of phase. If they think he needs more play, could he go into year 1 and 'visit' reception for some sessions which are appropriate to him. Does he have a speech therapist , if so what is his/her opinion?

Biscuitsneeded Wed 19-Jun-13 18:42:31

I hate to be a cynic but if it's a private school and he repeats the year they will be getting another year's fees out of you. I don't mean to imply that they don't have legitimate concerns about his ability to cope in Y1, but it may be that, faced with a choice between having to fund some extra help for him dealing with the work of Year 1, or getting him to repeat reception in the hopes that things fall into place naturally at no cost to the school, they are recommending the latter because it suits them best. IMHO private schools are not best geared up to cope with special needs. Does the school even have a SENCO? What does he or she say? And I also wondered what they will do if at the end of another year he is still struggling. You don't then want to find he's got to move schools and go into a Year 2 class without having done Year 1.

AlienAttack Wed 19-Jun-13 19:01:20

Hi OP, I understand your mind is made up and you are going to go with the school's suggestion. All I would say is please please ask them exactly what they are going to do in this second Reception year to help your DS. Just waiting another year in the hope he will be more emotionally mature or more confident doesn't sound to me as if they are addressing the issue, especially given you've said there has been no IEP this year despite there being one in nursery. I'm not sure how best you broach this and i dont want to alarm you but I think you also need to understand the school's policy around encouraging children who aren't at the required standard in y2 to leave the school. I have had two friends recently who have been shocked to find their DC "encouraged" at this stage of year 2 to look for another school which may be "better able to cope with their needs".

Turniphead1 Wed 19-Jun-13 19:19:04

OP - is the school academically selective? (you mentioned an assessment earlier on). If it is, it may be that it is not as geared up as a more mixed ability school for a child that needs additional support. The way in which they have offered up the repeated year and no proper ed psych assessment rings alarm bells for me. Not that it might not be good for him - but I think they need to prove why that is the case.

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