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Advice on holding your child back a year please.

(26 Posts)
sothisisit Fri 11-Dec-15 08:39:50

My son is the youngest in the class, his birthday is 4 weeks before the cut off date.
He is struggling a little in school to keep up on an academic level and his teacher has mentioned about keeping him back a year.
He has been tested for any sort of learning difficulty and it was agreed that there were none, he is just young for his class.
In all other areas he is thriving in school. He has great friends, he is socially and emotionally at the same level as his peers.
So, If we don't hold him back, will he struggle all through his education just to keep his head above water?
If we do hold him back and he matures a little will he be bored out of his head ?
He is 10 and I don't want to let it go another year before we make a decision
I worry about holding him back, and I worry about not holding him back!!!!!
Has anyone held their child back (or not) and what was the outcome????
Any advice, opionions are much appreciated santa

meditrina Fri 11-Dec-15 08:54:33

So currently in year 6?

Are you in a middle school area, or would he be going to secondary Sept 16? Because redoing a year at primary might help him academically, but will separate him from his friends really drastically if they all leave. And that could easily outweigh the classroom benefit.

Also, unless you have secured agreement from the secondary to accept him out-of-cohort, he might be forced in to year 8. I think the benefits of repeating year 6 are unlikely to outweigh skipping year 7. Especially when combined with the social upheaval.

sothisisit Fri 11-Dec-15 09:29:50

He is in an middle school situation, so his friends would still be around.
My gut tells me that he will 'mature' in good time and the social/emotional benefits of staying with his peers outweighs the benefits of holding him back.
Any input from anyone who has been through this is invaluble though.

ApologiesToInsectLife Fri 11-Dec-15 09:32:06

Have you spoken to him about it?

sothisisit Fri 11-Dec-15 09:58:03

We have. We have had meetings with the school (with and without him). He understands why we are having all these discussions I'm just not sure he 'gets it' if you see what I mean. He really WANTS to do better but I'm not sure he knows HOW. We (parents, teacher, school counsellor) agree that he is lacking in maturity rather than anything else. Does that warrant holding him back though.

Tokoloshe Fri 11-Dec-15 10:11:41

DD's Reception teacher said that the current thinking is to hold children back for social/emotional reasons, but moving on if it is academic/educational weaknesses.

Having said that, DD is going to repeat the year next year, although the primary reason is academic - so she can get a better hold on the basics before trying to build on them, and hopefully have a year of not feeling that she is one of the 'slow ones'.

But we aren't in the UK, and in a school system where children have to 'pass' the grade, so repeating a grade is fairly common. A couple of other children in her class will repeat, or have repeated a year in the past. It is less common in the UK so may have more of an impact?

The school and I have talked about it as 'having more time to practice grade 2 work' rather than 'repeating/failing'. And DD is adopted and had very disrupted early years, so I have explained to her how much 'baby learning' she missed because her parents didn't give her what she needed. So it may be worth explaining to DS about the impact of being so much younger than many of his classmates, and how even a few months at his age can make a big difference.

mummytime Fri 11-Dec-15 10:51:09

Are you in England? Is this a State school?
It is very very hard to "hold back" a child in State schools unless they have a SN and even then you often have to fight very hard, and they may well be on the trajectory for a special school.

There is a lot of research to say that holding back or accelerating doesn't help. What does help is customised intervention to help them catch up or access the curriculum (or to challenge them if advanced).

Also by holding him back you are likely to:
mask some of his difficulties for a bit - if he catches up repeating 1 year, does that means he needs to do everything twice to be able to learn.
If he doesn't "catch up" his self esteem will be damaged, and it might well mean he needs a different approach.
You may also cover up his difficulties for a while - so it is even longer before he is seen to be bad enough to get specialist intervention.

If he is well integrated into his present year group then I would suspect he will have more difficulties if held back, as he will be more mature than them. He may also be teased by other children and labelled.

Instead I would be seeking advice from an Educational Psychologist (and probably looking for another school).

sothisisit Fri 11-Dec-15 11:06:52

Not in England.
The school is fantastic actually, they are bending over backwards to help. This is only his second term at this school so we are all finding our place still.
We have been through the school counsellor, school doctor, school psychologist, external psychologist. A multitude of tests have been done and there is nothing wrong , so the end result has been his age.
We have been working through this for a year (the term he started) and we are now questioning whether or not holding him back would be an option. Hence my need for advice from anyone who has chosen this option.

mummytime Fri 11-Dec-15 11:14:34

A friend of mine did old her son back a year (in UK, and not massive SN) - I have to say that at 12/13 it was a disaster. And pretty much totally in a social way. I think it got better after they moved him to a boarding school - where no-one knew him.

I don't know any school system that holds children back because "He is struggling a little in school to keep up on an academic level".
This sounds much more like the need for a tutor.

Has he changed educational systems much? Are there language issues?

ThenLaterWhenItGotDark Fri 11-Dec-15 11:20:08

I'm not in the UK either, and where I am it is quite common for parents to do as you are thinking of doing. Not usually by the time they have got to 10, admittedly, but certainly having them start later.

If the "only" issue your child has is that he's not the brightest star when it comes to academic achievement then all this round of specialists that (if I understand correctly) the school have pushed you into pursuing, seems very heavy handed. It almost reads as though they want him shunting off out of their way.

In all honesty, if that is all, then I wouldn't. I really wouldn't. Here's why. In dd's class there were 2 kids who were a year older than their peers. And it showed, the older they got, the more, frankly, out of place these two seemed. So much older, so much more mature, a year at that age, can be a hell of a difference. I know you are looking at it from the other way round, but there were these 2 kids who had almost 2 years on the youngest in the class, and by the time they were going on 13, they were stuck with just turned 11 year olds. From full on puberty- voices breaking, moustaches...to tiny things playing with model cars still. And unless you are then going to get them to eventually skip a year- it persists.

On the other side, I teach EFL and have a class of 16 yr olds, some going on 17 some just turned 15....one of the 15 yr olds mother came in last week and went on about him being the youngest and still a baby hmm and how she regretted having sent him to school when he was so young. The teacher with me just guffawed at her and said "Mrs X, how much longer are we expected to accept the fact that a kid is older or younger than the rest of his class as an excuse? It really doesn't wash after about the age of 7."

sothisisit Fri 11-Dec-15 11:44:22

Thanks for the responses.
It's an International School, so they are used to children coming from all over, from different educational systems and backgrounds, language differences etc. The children are often moved accordingly, so it's not so strange here. There is a huge emphasis on making sure the child is in the educational level they need to be. My son has a one-one-one tutor at school as do a lot of the children.
Unfortunately where his birthday falls he is always going to be the youngest, but if he's held back then he'll always be one of the oldest.

mummytime Fri 11-Dec-15 12:30:42

"Unfortunately where his birthday falls he is always going to be the youngest,"

Sorry but I have to challenge this as different places use such a wide range of months for the cut off. England it is 31st August, but Scotland it is the end of February, and I know in the US there are a variety of cut off dates used.
At an international school I would certainly ask about the real age profile of the classes. It could be that most children in his month are in a class below.

YeOldeTrout Fri 11-Dec-15 12:41:57

It's common where I'm from and can happen any time up to 16, really.
Sounds like it would be a good move for your son, OP.

Goingtobeawesome Fri 11-Dec-15 12:49:32

I wouldn't do it. My child was forced to repeat a year when he moved schools. Spent two years there then moved schools again and had one year in a mix per class. Last two years of primary in the right year.

sothisisit Fri 11-Dec-15 12:53:22

We don't live in England, Scotland or the US and have no plans to move in the near future so I based my facts on the school that we are in at the moment and for the foreseeable future.
Those dates being from January 1st- February 1st.
Sorry for any misunderstanding.

TalkinPeace Fri 11-Dec-15 15:26:34

If its an international school with fluid ages in the cohorts
AND
he's likely to stay at international schools
then feel free to pay an extra year's fees grin

if he's ever likely to go back into a mainstream UK school, keep him in his correct year

GasLIghtShining Fri 11-Dec-15 23:36:59

I think 'TalkinPeace* advice is good. If he was ever to go into the state system he would enter into the correct year for his age not ability so would then have missed a whole year of schooling.

In the private system it is quite common for pupils to stop down and also move up presumable (or it was when I was at school).

My DS's birthday is the end of August so I do understand the problem. He was ok academically but was lazy and I feel that was a combination of being a bit of a boy (sorry I know some people will not like that comment) and also being the youngest in class. I do believe that if he had been at a private school he would be held back year at some point. And I would have been absolutely happy with that

He is 17 now and did ok in GCSEs but is doing brilliantly at college and is applying to university - admittedly not to Oxford or the likes. So it can work out.

TalkinPeace Fri 11-Dec-15 23:40:26

Oh yeah, did I miss out that I have an end of August boy who is now in year 11 ... I' m talking at least in part from experience

sothisisit Sat 12-Dec-15 12:50:37

Thanks again for all your input. Ds has never and probably never will be in a UK state ( or private) school situation so I don't have to worry about him missing a year at any point.
Trying to research as much as is possible about the pros and cons regarding holding back or not.The agreement seems to be that it works well with younger kindergarten age children but seems to have the opposite affect the older the child becomes. Since ds has no SN or LD, just immature and possibly lazy then I think in the long term it's best to leave him where he is.
I think it would cripple his self-esteem to be kept back now.

kjwh Mon 14-Dec-15 09:05:01

I was an August baby and likewise really struggled both academically and socially due to lack of maturity. I was "held back" a year and re-took a year at secondary school and it was the best thing that happened to me and I started to flourish and eventually got half decent A levels enough to embark on a professional occupation, after initially heading to fail all my O Levels. I think it's something that should be made more widely available. Socially, no problems at all, in fact being surrounded by different people gave me a clean start and took away lots of problems of bullying etc.

sothisisit Tue 15-Dec-15 06:49:32

We had a meeting in the school yesterday,and have put extra help in place for after the holidays.Ds and I talked things over again too. He completely shocked me by saying that he would consider staying behind as he realises how hard he has to work while the other kids don't seem to. We are trying to not make either option a negative option but letting him see all the advantages and disadvantages of either choice. We have a few months before any big decisions though, so hoping we can reach a unanimous decision either way.Thanks again for all your repliesfsmile

AndreaJ1976 Wed 30-Dec-15 11:32:10

Dear mummytime, this really is a difficult situation and I can tell that you just want to do what is best for your DS. Based on personal experience I would be very tempted to leave your son where he is. There are some underlying issues in terms of self esteem and confidence that don't tend to surface immediately following a move in year group, instead they linger somewhat and manifest themselves later on. Children generally just want to fit in and any movement is very unsettling. I am sure your son will soon start to catch up academically, children develop at different stages. Your son wants to make you happy and proud, so he will go with what he thinks you want him to do. Friendship groups are so important and the prospect of your son watching his peers moving to senior school without him is a difficult one.
Good luck, I'm sure he will do well with your support.

mummytime Wed 30-Dec-15 22:40:43

Umm I'm not the OP!

AndreaJ1976 Wed 30-Dec-15 22:47:07

Mummytime, please forgive me, a senior moment!
Sothisisit, please accept my apologies, I intended the message for you.
Once again, good luck!

ruthsbrood Thu 31-Dec-15 00:41:28

Hi, I am trying to have my 7 year old DD held back a year because her birthday is in August and she is very small for her age (still in age 5-6 clothes). She is doing very well academically, but she is not great at sports - probably just because her co-ordination is not as developed as the others yet. My concern is that socially and emotionally she will always be less mature than her peers and I think that this could become more of an issue in high school when others are reaching puberty. Who knows whether an interaction of all these factors would ultimately have an impact on her learning. What I do know, is that both my husband and I were summer-born babies, both small for our ages throughout school, both bullied and were less mature than our peers. This did impact on our learning - mainly in our attitudes towards learning and school, although we both came out average we were capable of more. We both wished that we had been held back a year at school - either right from the beginning or at the commencement of high school at the latest. We are very pleased that the government are now allowing summer-born babies to defer Reception Year for a year as this will benefit our youngest DD who is also an August baby. I know this will not be the same story for all summer-born children, but ours is a scenario we don't want repeated for our own children.

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