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Is it impossible to hold your child back a year in Primary School?????

(65 Posts)
pinkflamingo Tue 05-Oct-10 23:40:13

Hi All.
Does anyone out there have any words of wisdom. My DS started reception when he was 4 years (26th August birthday). We didn't defer as we thought there was no point as he would go straight into Year 1 which contradicts the whole deferring principle.

DS has always been well behind the rest of the class and is on a development plan but has not got an SEN. Now in Year 2, he has shut down as he feels he is the most stupid person in the class, is now developing strange ocd tendencies habits and feel I am losing him. Previous to this he's been pretty happy. Have had a word with the teacher and they are working on building his confidence. However for the past year I've had meetings with the Headteacher requesting that he be kept back a year, but to no avail. Does anybody know where I can go further with it or I am barking up the wrong tree.

I'm finding the UK education system difficult to navigate as originally I'm from Ireland and if it was felt you would benefit from staying back a year in primary, you were allowed to, as I and all my siblings (7 of us) were all kept back a year in Primary and I really do feel it made a huge difference.
Any guidance much appreciated confused

DiscoDaisy Tue 05-Oct-10 23:43:47

A girl in my DD's year was held back 4 years ago. I can't remember all the details but I knew it took alot of fighting on the parents behalf and I think it may have ended up in court but I'm not too sure of the finer details. It is possible though for a child to stay back a year.

Jajas Tue 05-Oct-10 23:45:41

I can't offer you a huge amount of hope I'm afraid but much sympathy.

I have twins in primary that I tried for 3 years to hold back for a year but unfortunately to no avail. I was basically told that they needed to be behind by 3-4 years and unfortunately mine were (are) only 1-2 years behind hmm.

They are on School Action Plus now with extra help from a private tutor.

Have you requested a visit from the Educational Pyschologist for your son? Also speak to the local Parent Partnership as they will assist you with any case that you might have to make for the LEA.

Good luck smile

prh47bridge Tue 05-Oct-10 23:48:38

You need to check out what will happen at secondary school. It is not unknown for children who have been held back a year in primary school to find they are put straight into year 8 at secondary, missing year 7 and leaving them right back where they started.

pixelchick10 Wed 06-Oct-10 09:00:27

I know of two children who have been held back a year but that was at private schools - they are usually far more amenable to it if you feel strongly and the child (like yours) is a late August birthday

comewhinewithme Wed 06-Oct-10 09:07:35

My child was held back -she did almost 2 years in reception.
She was a prem baby and her birthday is 30/8 when it should have been the end of September.
She is now in y6 and will go up with to secondary next September when she will be 12.
It was the best descion we made for her but we did have a battle with a certain teacher who wanted to put her back into her original class when she was 7 shock.

Jajas Wed 06-Oct-10 09:08:14

Independent sector totally different as is most of Europe where children are often held back or moved up - why can't we do the same for heavens sake angry.

Jajas Wed 06-Oct-10 09:10:23

Gosh how did you manage that cwwm? Mine were 10 weeks prem, July left handed twin boys who have always functioned at least a year behind - don't get many more disadvantages without straying into serious SEN territory and they still won't hold them back!

nottirednow Wed 06-Oct-10 09:12:08

Message withdrawn

comewhinewithme Wed 06-Oct-10 09:16:18

I don't know how we managed it TBH.
I did aske for her to be deferred for a year while she was in Nursery and they refused.
Then when she went into reception it was obvious she was not coping she also (we later found out) has dyspraxia and dyslexia and is very very tiny for her age she is still the smallest in the class she is in now smile.

I was very lucky as I had some amazing teachers backing me up and we only had the objections of one teacher.

I did also have meeting with the head last year and she mentioned that it was exceptional that my dd was kept behind.

annapolly Wed 06-Oct-10 10:06:58

A boy in my DS's class was held back a year last term.

He was a premature baby, and was quite behind the other DCs.

If he had been born at full term he would not have started school until a year later.

It has been a huge sucess, as he had grown in confidence so much. He is now above average in his class.

He is a much happier little boy.

pinkflamingo Wed 06-Oct-10 22:15:16

OH whow, this is my first time ever posting on the internet, I didn't even think I'd get a reply. Thanks so much everyone.
I just had a development meeting today with DS teachers and we're going through the same old turf.
From the replies I've seen, I'm more determined than ever now to fight for him to be kept back a year as I genuinely believe it is in his best interest on every level. We are also referring him to an educational psychologist.
I've got my fighting spirit back, whey hey wink

pinkflamingo Wed 06-Oct-10 22:19:26

That's one option I'd need to look into. I wouldn't rule it out. I may even try to bribe my dad who is a retired primary headmaste to move over for a year to help out with it. Thanks for that.

sims2fan Mon 01-Nov-10 03:22:57

I'm a teacher, and England's very strict year group rules really annoy me! In most infant classes the children in the lowest ability group are generally the youngest in the class. They struggle as they work their way through the school, and in some cases never catch up. Those that do catch up have often had to cope with years of finding things difficult, whereas if they had been allowed to start school a year later all of that could have been avoided as they would have been much more ready for the work they were set. Unfortunately, in my experience it is very, very, very rare for a child to get held back a year, even when it is patently the best thing for him/her. As far as I know it is only done on the recommendation of an Educational Psychologist, so it's good that you're getting a referral to one as a first step. Even then it's unusual. I once knew a boy with a 2 letter name who could not write his name (or any letters of the alphabet) when he went into Year 1 , and could not count past 2. He also had other difficulties such as if he started to walk across the room and a chair was in his way he would not be able to move around the chair, but would just keep walking forwards, oblivious to the chair scraping across the floor. He was a summer birthday, and had suffered some neglect in his home life before he started school, and so evidently could have done with repeating Reception, yet he was not allowed to. I do know of a boy who was allowed to repeat Reception and then remain a year beind his peers. He was an August birthday, and 3 months premature, so if he had been born when he was meant to be he would have been a year below anyway. He was Statemented, and at 11 went to a special school. However, even then, once he went to the special school, even though at primary he had just finished Year 5, he was placed into Year 7, to rejoin his original year group.

It's such a shame that holding children back a year isn't done more often, particularly for the very youngest children in a year group. It seems so silly to me. Why should a child be in a different year group, doing much harder work, than a child born only a couple of days after him or her? That seems mad!

Anyway, sorry not to have more constructive advice. As far as I know, it is unlikely your son will be moved back a year, but it is possible with backing from an Ed Psych. If you can afford it, it might be worthwhile to get a tutor for your son for an hour or 2 a week. My mum was a teacher for many years, and now she is retired does some tutoring, and is always told by the children's parents how much confidence she has given their children. She also brings them on academically in leaps and bounds. One boy, who she began tutoring a year ago aged 10,didn't register on her reading test (which only registers scores of over 6 years). Now he has a reading age of 6 years 10 months. Not brilliant, obviously, but in 6 years of school he had made virtually no progress in reading, whereas now, after just a year of working 1:1 with her, he can read and understand simple books. I'm sure he would be a lot further forward if she had started teaching him earlier, so now is probably a good time for your son to start having some individual tuition. Good luck with everything!

Rocky12 Mon 01-Nov-10 12:09:06

Having got a son that has a very late August birthday we toyed with the idea of him doing the same year twice. whilst I can 100% understand the OP reasons there are some parents who use the summer birthdays to in some way give their child a headstart.

Someone in DS school gets double the amount of time to complete his exams. Whilst that is fine during his school years what will happen once he starts working? No company will give him double the amount of time to complete a report. Not sure of the answer but I do see some parents trying to give their children what they see as 'every advantage.'

BTW, he didnt repeat the same year and it was the best decision we made. He has kept himself in the middle stream and we are very proud of him

janeboo Mon 01-Nov-10 17:23:05

DD, summer birthday, was not ready for the academic side of starting school at 4. Consequentially she has always struggled, always bottom of the class, by age 7 she had no confidence and had given up. i always felt there was nothing wrong with her she just started too early,
When we moved i asked the local primary if she could go back a year as she had no confidence and had 'shut' down to learning. The head was fine with it and it has been the best decision, she has thrived and is now in the top groups for some subjects. Whereas before she was about to be assessed for learning difficulties the teacher now says she is very bright. Even if at some stage she had to jump a year i feel she could deal with it, now she has gained confidence.
There doesn't seem to be a problem in this authority, my request was agreed to without my having to do anything other than ask.

midnightexpress Mon 01-Nov-10 17:30:41

I'm really just marking my place and sympathising. We're in Scotland, which has a much more sensible system (IME) - cut off is end Feb for that Aug intake, so all children are at least 4.6ish when they start, and all Jan and Feb birthdays can automatically defer if they want to, and then go into P1 (= reception equivalent). Oct-Dec birthdays can also apply for deferral too, though it's not automatic, iirc.

Anyway, we're currently swithering over ds2, who is due to start next Aug, with a late Jan birthday, as he still seems quite young compared with ds1 at that age, and would be one of the youngest in his class. Our main problem is that we may have to relocate to England at some point in the not-too-distant future, and I'm unsure if ds2 will have effectively missed a year of school if we defer him, or will be put into the class equivalent to his Scottish school year at the time. It's daft that it's so rigid in England, IMO. So, I wish you luck with your efforts pinkflamingo.

onceamai Mon 01-Nov-10 20:40:54

Problem is in oversubscribed primaries it means that a child in the year below is denied a place because of the 30 to a class ruling. This, I think, could lead to an appeal. Also, if the child cannot cope in his or her own year group isn't a more specialised approach needed for them with access to appropriately trained SEN teachers rather than TAs, etc., which is what you get in mainstream?

exexpat Mon 01-Nov-10 22:16:52

Independent schools all seem happy to be flexible (there are three children in DD's year of 34 who are repeating year 3, and a friend's late-August possibly dyslexic son repeated year 2 at another private school) but the only recent examples I've come across in state primaries are for SEN or recently arrived non-English speakers. Move to Scotland, HE or go private?

GuyFawkesIsMyLoveSlave Mon 01-Nov-10 22:26:58

I have to agree with exexpat -- moving to Scotland, home educating or going private are realistically your best three options.

Bradford (I think) used to be more flexible but have been forced more into line with everywhere else recently.

(onceami we're talking here about a child who, if he'd been born one week later, would already be in the year below (and probably managing without a more specialised approach with access to appropriately trained SEN teachers). The assumption under the English system is that he must be operating an entire year ahead of a child one week younger, which is <searches for suitable phrase> a more-than-slightly eccentric policy)

musicOfTheNightposy Mon 01-Nov-10 22:29:15

Keep fighting!

My end of August birthday DD2 was always a poor fit for her year, really on an emotional level. They split her Y4 class into Y4/5/6 and Y2/3/4. She was one of only 4 children put in the Y4/5/6. It was utterly ridiculous for her. I fought and fought for her to go into the Y2/3/4 - where all her friends were - but to no avail.

I took her out and home educated her.

She is now Y7 and I am so, so glad she doesn't have to run the gamut of secondary school. She is so, so young for her age. All her friends (both schooled and home ed) are Year 5 or 6 - not one is Y7.

We've looked into it and she can delay stuff like college/ uni for a year with no problem - loads of people do gap years or retake.

So she will eventually be able to go back and be with the year group that is the right fit for her.

The stupid thing is, if we'd had the option to put her in the year below, there'd never have been a problem. The system seems so ridiculously beaurocratic - one of DD's friend is just 10 days younger than her, was actually due before her (DD2 was born early) and is in the year below. It's crazy that a chance of birthdate can make so much difference. I think August and September babies should have automatic rifht of choice when it comes to year groups.

Good luck in your fight and let us know how it goes!

clare40 Wed 03-Nov-10 20:34:15

I feel your pain! My son is an August baby - and he is meant to start school in next September. He is such a lively little soul, and can be quite hyper. He also struggles with his peers - way too boisterous. I just don't know how he is going to cope in 10 months time!

aristomache Wed 03-Nov-10 20:35:46

Ed Psych recommended that my son be held back a year at primary and the school still said no!

sodacrystal Wed 03-Nov-10 20:44:05

I am a Headteacher; AFAIK it is the HT's decision to decelerate a child, unless they have a Statement of SEN in which case the SEN officer decides what happens. However we are very much discouraged from doing it for various reasons, one being that certain things can only happen at certain ages (entry to school, transfer to secondary, leaving school age etc) - but it can depend on your LA - ask them then approach the school, the HT may be nervous of making the decision in case the LA give him/her grief over it.

clare40 Wed 03-Nov-10 21:16:01

Sodacrystal - I don't understand your reasons - all those things you mentioned would be a problem if a child was put up a year, but surely if they were held back it wouldn't be??

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