Should I ask the school if my daughter can jump a year?

(21 Posts)
poshfrock Mon 01-Jul-13 07:25:55

So the background is that I have a 9 year old DD currently at the end of Y4. We moved house last year and she moved schools as a result. At the end of Y3 she was a level 3a/4c across all 3 subjects and was on the Gifted and Talented register. Her previous school had excellent provision for children who needed more challenging work - special reading and literacy groups taught separately in a group of 6 etc. The new school is half the size, has no G&T register and seems to be struggling to provide suitable work.
She was put into a mixed Y4/5 class and because the children are seated to together by ability she was put with mainly Y5 children and consequently has friendship groups are all Y5. She has progressed 2 levels this year (compared to 3 last year) and has come top in every subject (top out of both Y4 and Y5). In the recent optional SATs she completed both the Y5 and Y6 reading tests.
It seems that she has already covered al the Y5 work ( according to her teacher) so now I am wondering what happens next?
DD has already asked me ( unprompted) if she can just skip Y5 and go straight into Y6. She is getting bored academically and she is also concerned that when all her friends go to secondary school she will be left behind in Y6.
So any suggestions as to what I should do ? I have read several interesting threads about jumping a year written by both parents and "jumpers". Many of the concerns seem to centre around being able to integrate socially but as my daughter has already settled in with friends from the year above this worries me less. She is emotionally and physically mature for her age.
However it seems that the state sector is not geared up for this kind of move and she may have to repeat Y6 which rather defeats the object.
At suggestions on how to approach this.
The school has just failed Ofsted and has been put in Special Measures. One of the reasons for failure was that children were failing to progress sufficiently. This doesn't apply to my DD but clearly all resources are now being targeted at this aspect. When I enquired about additional resources for more gifted children I was pretty much laughed out of school.
Thanks in advance.

tiggytape Mon 01-Jul-13 08:31:09

If this is a state school it almost certainly won't be allowed (not unless an expert says it is necessary for her education and well being and is prepared to support you in challenging the LA over it)

But even if it were an option there would be two main things to consider:
1. secondary schooling - you would want a 100% cast iron guarantee that they would let her start Year 7 at a year too young. Most of them won't do this so you would then be left with her repeating Year 6 instead (which if anything is worse as in a lot of schools, she'd just do 2 lots of build up to SATS).

2. Social and emotional issues - a child who has the academic ability ahead of her years doesn't always keep up in terms of physical devlopment and emotional maturity which may not be such an issue now in the relatively cosy world of primary school but by 11 or 12 in a High School with hundreds of children per year, it might be.

To be honest - I would be more miffed at the current school throwing their hands up and saying 'well she's done year 5 already'
The top child in any class can be 2+ years ahead and still have their needs fully met. Differentiated work should mean she may be covering some of the same again but it should be adapted to be much more challenging.

clam Mon 01-Jul-13 08:51:43

You'd be better off concentrating your energies in persuading the school to provide appropriately challenging work for her in the 'right' year group. If they're in Special Measures then they will be being monitored closely by outside agencies, so you should have some back-up there.

By the end of Year 6, an average class has a range of 7 years between their highest and lowest attainers. This means that teachers should be well-used to differentiating work for students.

In my experience, it is almost unheard of for children to be allowed to start secondary school a year early. Many years ago, perhaps, but not recently.

scaevola Mon 01-Jul-13 09:10:56

I am old, and back in my day our LEA had a policy of allowing the highest achieving pupils to skip year 6 and go to grammar school a year early. It only really worked out as intended for children with September birthdays who were only a couple of weeks younger than the youngest in the year, as the social difficulties should not be underestimated.

Skipping year 5 doesn't strike me as conferring any advantage.

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 01-Jul-13 09:22:50

Posh It's not quite clear from your original post - are you saying she is a high level 5/level 6 across all subjects (you said she'd gone up 2 levels) or is she a mid/high level 4 across all subjects (that would be if she'd gone up two sub levels)? Either way, I don't think they will let her jump a year and unless she is September born I don't think they should. But if she is a mid/high level 4 across all subjects at the end of Y4, that's not off the scale unusual, it really isn't. She absolutely should be being given appropriate work for her level, and that might mean working with a different group fr some lessons, but there's a big difference between high level 4 and level 6. It sounds as though you might do better to be thinking about changing the school rather than asking her to be out up a year, to be honest. She wouldn't be unique in many Y5s (she'd have 2 or 3 peers at the least to make a viable, age appropriate, working group). If she is unique in her current school then that probably isn't the best environment for her.

Yellowtip Mon 01-Jul-13 09:40:27

I would leave her where she is in the interests of being in the right place in the teenage yeas and then the university years. Going up at 17 is doable, but can be far from ideal. I've always taken the view that there's no particular hurry in life and the social outweighs the educational. There may be benefits now but you may equally be laying down a whole host of issues for the medium term.

singinggirl Mon 01-Jul-13 09:50:46

I would say that 4a/4b at the end of Year 4 is a bright child, but not unusual for the year group. (Both of mine were at that level, they are in no way genius's). If she did skip a year and then progress on to Secondary in a year, it would be unlikely that she would be in top sets from those levels (round here anyway).

Lack of a gifted and talented register is no real marker of not teaching a child to their ability, it is the differentiation within the classroom that matters more than occasional 'bolt-on' activities. My DS's primary does not have a G&T register, but DS2 was already hitting 5c/5b by Christmas in Year 5, and during DS1's Year 6, they encouraged him to start a science club for the infants to extend him in that area. Your DD has been differentiated for this year; have you been told that she won't be next? Remember that level 6 is now available in Year 6, so when she gets there it may not be just the standard Year 6 SATs she will sit.

Two sub-levels in a Year is not concerning; three sub-levels over two years is expected progress, so five over two years is clearly very good. Remember that children don't always learn in a linear fashion either - there will be times when they make great leaps, and times when they consolidate their understanding before making the next great leap.

Finally, although your daughter is currently mature, puberty changes things - plus there is the logical conclusion that if you are a year ahead at school you will leave home for university a year early, and there is no way to judge now if she (or you) will be ready for that when she is 17.

If she came top of the class it is possible that she ceilinged on the tests - they only go up to a certain level so if she got near full marks on a test that goes up to 4a it doesnt mean that she is a 4a - she may be beyond that in the areas that she has been taught.

The school clearly is going to struggle to meet her needs but like others, I'm not sure if the battle should be to move her up a year, or whether it should be to get more provision for her in the school - which is actually what they should be doing.

EliotNess Mon 01-Jul-13 10:04:23

i think you will find that LEAs dont move kids up years

EliotNess Mon 01-Jul-13 10:05:24

oh and wrt G and T register - take with a HUGE pinch of salt.
Mine went from G and T maths etc to a grammar school at the second bottom set.
Its really a load of bollocks

also - ffwd to teenage years - how will you cope when ALL her mates are out drinking or driving - believe you me fitting in socially is a big deal

hatchypom Mon 01-Jul-13 10:10:33

Never under estimate the social aspect of being out of years, particularly when older ( driving, going to the pub etc) - the school needs to work harder and you probably need to consider expansionary work and reading too. Don't focus on the tests - think creatively about long term projects with the school that challenge.

poshfrock Mon 01-Jul-13 10:32:17

Thank you to everyone who has responded. This is very helpful. Just to clarify , she has progressed 2 sublevels so is now levels 4b/4c across all subjects. We have already been told that she will be taking the level 6 SATs in Y6.
We had thought about changing schools but she has already moved once 12 months ago when we moved house so I don't really want to uproot her again.
With regard to university she would take a gap year regardless of whether she moves up now or not( she has already discussed this and knows what she wants to do).
I don't think the local secondary would take her a year early so she would have to repeat Y6 however the local grammar school would ( I have checked since posting) subject to passing 11+.
I think we will leave her where she is for now. I will try and speak to the school regarding her work - I have emailed the interim head twice in the last fortnight asking to discuss various issues but have not yet had a response which is disappointing.
My biggest concern will be all her friends leaving this time next year. I've tried to encourage her to make friends with her peers in Y4 but she finds them all "babyish and silly". Not sure what the answer is to that one !
Thanks again !

tiggytape Mon 01-Jul-13 10:41:26

poshfrock - 4b at the end of Year 4 is very good indeed.
But it is not 'abnormally' advanced in the sense that any primary school should be able to cope with this and indeed should expect several children to be working at high level 4's at the end of Year 4.

She is on track to be level 6 at the end of Year 6 which is exactly where the other bright children of her age should be and where she needs to be to pass the 11+ in most areas.
She is definitely ahead but not so far ahead that she would be considered unusual in most other schools. I therefore think the problem is the current school.

If they say are not used to dealing with childen of this level, differentiating work for them or even responding to parental queries then all of that raises concerns. If you definitely want to keep her there you want to make sure she isn't going to be left marking time for another year. Can you book a meeting with her teacher or the Head to discuss this?

toomanyfionas Mon 01-Jul-13 11:04:58

It's a tough one. If the grammar would take her early then I would be inclined to ask for her to move up as it doesn't sound as though her school is offering a lot.

Pantone363 Mon 01-Jul-13 11:14:19

It's good but not child savant good. The LEA will never say yes.

Heifer Mon 01-Jul-13 11:19:38

I also agree that those levels are good but not especially so. My DD has got similar results (same age) as isn't even top of her class. Some schools are more geared up to deal with bright children.
I would look for a new school rather than move up a year tbh.

Sunnymeg Mon 01-Jul-13 11:35:10

My county has a blanket policy not to move anyone up. My DS finished the primary school curriculum in Year 5. He has spent Year 6 spuddling around doing not a lot. We complained to school on many occasions and were told that he was maturing on other levels, but his work has completely stagnated. This was not helped by the fact it is a small village school with 13 in his year, so there was no advantage to the school to teach one pupil Level 6 work, so they haven't bothered.

clam Mon 01-Jul-13 12:26:01

I have three children in my current year 4 class who are 4Bs across the board. Some have elements of 4A. It's really not that unusual.
I would be working on the fact that your dd might possibly be alienating herself from her peers if she's viewing them as 'babyish.'

poshfrock Mon 01-Jul-13 15:00:57

Thanks for all the advice. I think she can stay put for now.

kitkat1967 Mon 01-Jul-13 15:01:49

My ordinary yr 4 (good for his year but not at an exceptional level) DS is 4bs/4as accross all subjects. In fact I do know he has reached a 'ceiling' on the tests as he got 100% in both Maths papers and some of the Literacy that were recently done in assessment week. I suspect several of his mates will be at a very similar level.
I think it's a great place to be but absolutely no reason to think he should be moved ahead of his peers. My view is that it is a great opportunity to expand side-ways and enjoy school.
I have a very young in year DD and have seen first hand the many impacts of being younger than our peers and would never actively choose that.

Talkinpeace Mon 01-Jul-13 19:09:51

Please, please, please do NOT move her up a year.
It will come back and bite her sooner or later.

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