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???

MummytoMog Sun 23-Jun-13 10:02:54

She has had an EP assessment by the way, when she was 3.4, I didn't rate it much, but it did happen.

MummytoMog Sun 23-Jun-13 10:01:41

DD is a late August baby starting reception next year. We'd love for her to repeat nursery, which the school would be totally fine with, but then she would skip straight into yr1. How I wish I'd hung on the extra week. She has a speech and language delay, some similar emotional problems to your DS and the big improvement over this last year just makes me think that if she was with the next age group down she'd fit in much better.

Incidentally, she also had a traumatic birth, six hours pushing before they spotted she had got turned about and was completely stuck, then forty minutes shoving at her with the ventouse before cracking out the forceps and delivering a baby covered in meconium and an apgar of two. Does make me wonder sometimes.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Fri 21-Jun-13 12:52:32

Emma I am glad you are feeling better but must advise caution regarding their suggestion of putting him into reception "now and then" if things "get too much" as it could easily become something which happens daily if you are not careful.

What would they hope to acheive by changing him to the other class when work is hard? He won't be able to keep up if they just take him out...he needs more support within his own class not to be shunted backwards when it suits them.

If he "feels out of his depth" when his peers are doing an activity then he needs HELP...not removing.

My own DD was in a small private school which had a similar "when it suits us" attitude to any child who needed additional support....her friend who it later turned out had ASD, spent most of year one in a side room alone or in nursery playing.

I pulled my DD out and sent her to an outstanding state school where she thrived.

TeenAndTween Fri 21-Jun-13 12:42:40

Sometimes state schools are better than private for children with additional needs. They are more used to it, have more structures and resources in place.
It is something for you to consider, because once you get into additional needs your criteria for choosing a school can be quite different.

bico Fri 21-Jun-13 11:55:41

Sounds great but you need to ensure this is all implemented as agreed and regular meetings are set up to monitor progress. You don't want to be in a similar position at the end of year 1 with regard to lack of information on progress. Hopefully they have realised they have failed you and are keen to make amends but the follow through is key.

That sounds good - lots of support in Y1 and the flexibility to retreat to YR if it all proves too much. It sounds as though you have the basis of a good working relationship with the school there too.

bizzey Fri 21-Jun-13 11:29:22

emma so glad for you smile I think the flexible time sounds good

Hope it all goes well

emmamayminford Fri 21-Jun-13 11:24:01

I have to say the school were incredibly supportive. They listened to our reasons for not wanting to keep him down and were very sympathetic. It made me realise just how much they are thinking about our DS all along.

We discussed what we were all going to do to support him going forward, getting an EP, IESP, SALT, meeting with the SENCo next week, and of course we have lots of fun homework to do over the summer holidays!! They have said they are still going to be flexible and he can have some time amongst the reception class if it all gets too much or if his class are doing anything that is going to make DS feel out of his depth. To me, it seems like a perfect solution, and although I am feeling still very anxious for him and his future at least I now feel confident that the school is looking out for his best interests...100%!!

Thank you to all who helped me through this difficult time!

bico Thu 20-Jun-13 15:05:18

The school should have contacts/recommendations for an EP. I'd be very hmm if they don't. At least getting a EP evaluation will be a starting point for you to consider what you do.

You need to ensure you have the support of the school with involving an EP. If the school are against the idea then you will find they will be reluctant to implement any suggestions/recommendations made by the EP. If the school are against getting an EP I would seriously be looking for another school.

As it is selective is it one that weeds dcs out at various ages? There are plenty of good non-selective schools around that are supportive.

Sorry, OP - I know you have a DS, not DD, but my phone thinks it knows better hmm

Not all independent schools are selective, and some do have good learning support. Judicious use of the ability to move DC between year groups can also work well - sometimes a child just doesn't belong in their chronological year group and I have seen moves in both directions work for DC I know.

That said, OP, I understand your reservations given that your DD is one of the oldest and tallest. My DS moved the other way - into reception at 3.10, at the school's suggestion, but he "fits" in the year above, physically as well as academically. If he had been a tiny, July born child then I would have vetoed the move.

MerryMarigold Thu 20-Jun-13 13:51:54

Emmamay, I am so glad you have decided this. Please do stick to your guns. My heart sank when you said you'd decided to keep him down a year. He sounds very aware, but like his physical development is a bit behind his emotional development. My ds1 is like this: his reading, writing, understanding of concepts etc. is way behind his ability to understand where he is in relation to his peers, how teachers relate to him etc. This difficulty - feeling 'stupid' because he is so aware of what he cannot do, has really damaged him. I could imagine what keeping down a year would have done. He has had a lot of help, input from the SENCO, assessment by Occupational Therapy, a great deal of TA support and has come on leaps and bounds in Y2. Your school should be offering all this - and MORE if you pay for it. Ignoring issues for a year doesn't mean your ds will just grow out of them (my ds1 also had a very traumatic forceps birth). They are likely to be problems that he has to learn to overcome and have strategies for this.

Your ds's popularity is really crucial and I am so glad he has that. It will really make a difference to his confidence.

Hope your meeting goes well.

MrsHuxtable Thu 20-Jun-13 13:38:37

There was a thread on here recently where it became obvious that most private schools can't or don't want to cater for children with extra learning needs (not sure if this is the correct term). It's often part of the terms and conditions and because they're private selective schools, it's not classed as discrimination. This wouldn't be possible in a state school.

My guess would be that the school simply doesn't know how to help your son or doesn't have the resources and letting him repeat a year is all they can offer.

Depending what the exact issue is, if it's something that's likely to be ongoing, I think I'd consider changing schools tbh. Find one that can cater specifically for your son's needs.

Hi op, nothing helpful to add but i feel your pain as my child has speech delay and sn.
Strangley enough i also think somehow her birth caused or indirectly caused her problems. I had trouble at pushing stage and was pushing for quite some while, menconium was in the waters and it took a very long time for the mws to alert a doctor, in that time her heartrate dipped and she was eventually delivered by ventouse, she didn't cry straight away and for what seem liked forever but was probably only a few minutes she finally let out a cry.
Her head was cone shaped for quite some time and i started noting a delay in speech aswell as behavioural problems from around 2, she also reached all her milestones late. She is in reception at present and is due to start yr1 in september this year.
Her speech hasn't really improved significantly and her learning is very behind that of other children her age, she has extra help in school from TAs and see's a lady from the special teaching service regulary, but other than that i don't actually know what is wrong other than sn.
I have also struggled for months trying to get her a hearing test to rule her hearing out of the equation but i have only just been told this won't be done until july.
I know that next year a lot will be expected of her and i'm hoping she will get a teacher that can fulfill her needs but tbh i think she could do with repeating reception also but didn't realise this was a possibility and after reading this thread i might do some research into it.

emmamayminford Thu 20-Jun-13 13:08:36

does anyone know how I can get a EdPsych at such short notice???

SaveMeNow Wed 19-Jun-13 22:42:21

I think you are right - you really need to see an EdPsych and find out exactly what is going on before you can make any decisions. You may need to get on to this quickly though and do it privately if you can, so you can fit in the EdPsych observing your son in school before they break up for the holidays. Children are often very different in different situations so I think it's vital he is seen in the classroom.

Once you know specifically what his issues are -and with the guidance of the EdPsych you'll be able to make an informed decision as to whether repeating the year will be best for him or not. It may be the right thing to do with certain supports in place or it may be better to leave him with his peer group and have added support in Yr 1 - but I really think it's impossible to take such a big decision without the hard facts.

Fingers crossed for you x

emmamayminford Wed 19-Jun-13 22:10:05

in answer to Onetwo34 its so tough isnt it??? if my DS were one of the youngest I think I would consider repeating. he is one of the oldest and is the tallest in his year so it would be really tough for him..he would feel and look different and it would remain like this all the way through junior school!

dietstartstmoz Wed 19-Jun-13 22:01:51

Hi OP,
I dont have much knowledge of how the private sector works, as both our DC attend state school and both my DH and I work in the state sector. Our youngest DS also had developmental delay,emotional delay and speech delay. He was diagnosed with high functioning autism when he was 3.5, and I'm not suggesting your DS has the same, but there are many children who need extra support in different ways.
I dont agree with repeating a year and I'm glad to see that you dont think this would be right for your son. In a state school, I would say it is unusual to repeat a yr, although not unheard of. If a child has any issues or is struggling it is more usual to write an IEP, offer extra support, etc.
If you have concerns about your son you should ask what extra support they will put in place,and you could also go to your GP and express your concerns. They may make a referral to a developmental paed who may monitor your child and see how he progresses.
I know how scary it is, but you are the best advocate for your child and do put the emphasis on the school-what are they going to do to support your DS? And then arrange a follow up appt before the end of term, and don't let them force you into anything. You can always say you want to think things over and then get back to the school.

emmamayminford Wed 19-Jun-13 21:51:27

thanks once again to all posts. I have been talking to many people over the last 24 hours and have shed many a tear!! I have to say I am now of the opinion that maybe the school are just choosing an easy option for them.

it has been a really important year for DS, although he has emotional issues he has come a long long way since nursery and has made lots of very good important friendships. He is one of the most popular kids amongst his peers! All these achievements may be at risk if he is then taken away from all his friends and put back amongst younger children. He is totally aware of what goes on around him and I am now worried that it may be more damaging to his self confidence and happiness. the school are concerned that being out of his depth academically will be more damaging to his confidence and self esteem. I think they need to look at what the issues are and deal with them. With an ED Psych assessment we can then get a plan of action and all work towards helping him learn. how can we help him if we have no idea what the problem is??? repeating the year is not going to help!!!

I am meeting with the school tomorrow afternoon and am going to tell them I am more than concerned. It is a selective school and you are right, maybe their support for SEN is limited / non existent....there purely as lip service rather than for children with real needs!

I would prefer for us to take a chance, move him up into year one, get the as much support from school and then also continue support privately and then if DS isnt getting enough from the school look at moving.

Onetwo34 Wed 19-Jun-13 19:47:06

She has struggled this year. Would it all be that bit easier if she started again, then better through her school career? Or would it be horrible and traumatic to be kept back when everyone else goes ahead?

I go round in such circles!

Onetwo34 Wed 19-Jun-13 19:44:27

Oh! I am in the same position but at a state school.
I just don't know what to do for the best.

DD is the youngest in her year. They think she'd fit better in the year below.
I am absolutely stuck. sad

LIZS Wed 19-Jun-13 19:21:50

I think it is very early in his schooling and a hasty decision to get him to repeat . Did he attend nursery as the curriculum is the same as reception . ime a private school may well not be geared up for SEN - if that is the case with your ds - they tend to like children who "fit", and you could end up paying a lot of money for a style of education that is inappropriate and be no further forward this time next year. Who said he was 18 months behind ? Did you get satisfactory answers to :-

^ 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 ^ Definitely as a priority, no way is he too young, but they may say you have to find an EP privately, otherwise you can go through GP for SALT , Developmental Paed etc although this tends to take a long time Even then the school could disagree or say they cannot meet his needs and ask you to find another school

2) that his educational needs are then put into a personal plan! He needs an IEP (has this already been raised with you ?) and you should have regular meetings with the SENCO to review his progress plus what learning support the school can provide and whether they charge extra for it.

3) I will ask about issues he may face when he is older If he is out of year from September you may encounter problems later if he moves school or form primary to secondary . As a compromise could he change mid year if he made sufficient progress ?

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.

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".

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.

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