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re doing year 4

(16 Posts)
Angela652 Wed 05-Apr-17 09:28:48

My son who is dyslexic & has dyspraxia and discalclia, moved from an academy to a small independent school january 2015. The school has one class for all yr 4,5,6 pupils together but all working at different levels. ( We are in UK Lancashire).At that point he was in year 4 and about a year behind in his studies. At the end of the academic year we had a meeting with the school and they recommended that he repeat year 4 as there were many gaps in his education and they said he will definitely struggle to do year 5 work. He has since continued at the school and is doing rather well considering.
He is aware that he has been repeating year 4 work ( although they do give him a fair portion of yr 5 to do too) and is very unhappy about it and thinks they think of him as a baby. In September he should be in yr 6 but will begin on yr 5 work more intensely.
The problem is this, all his closest friends ( and there are not many in that class) are the same age group as he is and thus will be moving to the senior school ( which is in the same premises but completely separate) after year 6 but my son will have to stay in the juniors and do year 6 again. I know this is going to affect him greatly when the time comes . Im worried its going to have a lasting effect on his self confidence too.
Has anyone any experience of this situation or can anyone offer any advice ?
My son knows he has dyslexia and isnt too bothered , but he does know he finds it very hard to read and write because of it. He is Very sociable and loves his time with friends more than his school time ( although he does love his school).
Many Thanks Angela

ladyvimes Wed 05-Apr-17 09:34:45

They shouldn't be holding him back a year. He should move up to secondary with his peers but work should be differentiated appropriately.
What do you mean he is doing year 4 work in year 5? All the class should be working on the same theme but with differentiated expectations and tasks.
It sounds like the school doesn't know how to differentiate appropriately for a mixed age and ability class.

Angela652 Wed 05-Apr-17 14:30:48

ladyvimes , the school is an independent school, very small, years 4,5 & 6 share the same class. He was one year behind in his school work when he 1 st went there, they said he needs to do year 4 again so that there are no gaps when he starts on year 5 work. However if this continues when he finishes what should be year 6( 2018) - he will infact only be finishing year 5 work so he will have to stay behind and do year 6 work for one more year.

mouldycheesefan Thu 06-Apr-17 16:05:24

Well yes, the downside of him repeating a year is that he is now a year behind. I can't imagine this wasn't considered when it was agreed he would repeat a year?
That said with the tiny numbers in the school could they not be flexible and let him move up with the others all be it doing different work?

Angela652 Thu 06-Apr-17 16:26:01

the only issue there is that when he goes into yr 7 its in effect a different school and the years then go to individual and the class sizes get bigger... they have already told me that he would be out of his depth (probably). To be perfectly honest when they recommended he repeat year 4 we didn't fully realize the long term implications and how he might feel when yr 7 arrives, it was all rather a quick decision.
I just wondered if anyone else on mumsnet has been in this situation ?? And i wanted to know how their child coped with being a year behind his / her age group ?

SaltyMyDear Thu 06-Apr-17 16:31:02

How much progress is he making?

If he stays a year behind will he be fine? i.e. at his current rate of progress will he be able to cope with Y7 a year later?

Because if he's going to struggle and be the bottom of the class in Y7 regardless, then it's far better that he is with his age group than a year behind...... (i.e one thing worse than being the bottom of your class, is being the oldest by 6 months and bottom of your class)

It will also stop you moving back into the state sector, because then he'll have to rejoin his correct year group.

Leeds2 Thu 06-Apr-17 18:42:45

I haven't been in this situation, but a boy in my daughter's Reception class (private school) repeated Reception, and stayed "down" a year until his original class reached Year 5 and he then rejoined them. The reasoning behind it was that he was going into the state sector for secondary, and his mum was told that the state system is pretty inflexible - and certainly far more inflexible than the private sector - in allowing children to be out of year, so it was felt it would benefit him to be in the correct year group at that stage. I don't think he found it hard from a social point of view to move either up, or down, a year but like your DS's school it was fairly small and aI think all the DC played together at break and lunch times.

DiamondAge Fri 07-Apr-17 08:41:02

The most effective way for him to catch up to where he needs to be academically is to do additional work outside of school. Given that you say he is doing some year 5 work already, how willing / able are you to help him catch up to where he needs to be and how willing / able is he to put in the required work?

If this course is an option then you need to find out from the school if a) they would be willing to support you both in this endeavor and b) how far behind he is and exactly what he needs to achieve for them to support him rejoining his previous year group.

If I've understood correctly, he has issues that effect reading, writing and maths (dyscalculia)? Of these I think the maths is easiest to tackle independently at home, by doing some every day. For writing I suggest you get support from an Occupational Therapist that specialises in handwriting.

The reading is again something that you might need support with to find out the exact issues (for example how sound is his phonic knowledge and does he have issues with being able to track print with his eyes, leading to jumping lines and finding it hard to sound out long words systematically from left to right to name a few of the possible specific issues that might be inhibiting his progress).

It would be a significant endeavor requiring time and money (although there are ways to reduce costs e.g. by doing most assessments with him yourself with on-line support and using many of the excellent free or cheap resources available), however one to one work when willing undertaken (and maintained) is likely to result in him closing the gap at a surprising rate.

Whether this is fast enough given the time frame is another matter, which is why you need to talk to the school as this will allow you to know the extent of the task.

If this is not an option for you or your son doesn't feel willing to commit to quite intensive work over and above school / home work, then the alternative is to have an honest discussion with him about the likely outcome (that he must remain in the lower year group) and to support him emotionally with accepting that this decision, whilst not being what he wants socially, is best for him academically.

Then do as much as possible to support him developing the friendships with the pupils that he will remain with. If possible arrange at least some play dates / exciting activities to help him develop those relationships and have something to look forward to, especially over the summer holiday when he will be staying while his current friends will be moving onto year 7.

Apologies for the length of the post, I hope there's something helpful you can take from it!

Angela652 Mon 10-Apr-17 16:07:04

Thanks Diamonage for your detailed reply. He has been having a home tutor for the past two years for an hour twice a week, he works really well with her , shes lovely and makes the lessons fun. He had some extra one on one in his first new year at his current school but they appear to have lost the teacher/ facility now. You are right he has quite a few ongoing educational issues but is very bright overall. My main concern is how he will deal mentally with the fact his same age friends will move to seniors without him.

DiamondAge Mon 10-Apr-17 22:42:27

Thank you for the update. Do you think will he catch up over the next two or three years? If you can see that on his current trajectory he is likely to catch up before his GCSEs it may well be worth trying to pursuade the school to allow him to move up with his friends.

If, however, you think he is likely to still be behind when taking his GCSEs, and that this will significantly impact his choices for further education then this is something to discuss with him. It can be tough to forge new friendships, however how does that challenge weigh against the challenge of dealing with lower GCSE grades than he might achieve were he to allow himself more time to catch up?

Angela652 Wed 12-Apr-17 13:52:17

Thanks again for your replies on this. I am going to have a meeting with the school to find out Exactly how far behind his year group he actually is and IF its possible for him to catch up ????? then we will talk openly and honestly with my son and Hopefully he can be mature enough to help us all come to a joint decision on the best way forward for him. Its going to be a bumpy road either way I think but I guess we need to try and help my son feel like he has in input on the final decision.

DiamondAge Thu 13-Apr-17 19:42:21

Good luck with your discussions, both with school and your son - the more information you have the better placed you will be in supporting him on the outcome flowers

GnomeDePlume Sun 16-Apr-17 06:49:49

You/he may find that he feels more settled in the lower age group once his friends move out of the class - out of sight and out of mind?

Angela652 Mon 17-Apr-17 08:53:07

Yes, Im hoping hes going to settle and make a couple of younger friends who will transgress into year 7 with him, hopefully.
Thanks for your comments xxx

NotMyPenguin Mon 17-Apr-17 09:10:32

I think he will probably make new friends and enjoy being the biggest and most advanced in the school for a while.

By the time he moves up to year 7, he'll have a whole new set of friends who are moving up with him. Ultimately I suspect this will mean he has more confidence and achieves better in his qualifications. I realise that it may seem tough right now but kids are very adaptable!

GnomeDePlume Mon 17-Apr-17 20:28:31

We lived in NL for a while where repeating a year is far more common than in the UK. A girl in DD's class repeated year 3. In her original group she always looked the youngest, least mature. In her new group you could see she fitted right in.

We had similar experience with DD1. In NL she was the youngest. Teachers would comment that she was slow, a bit immature. When we moved back to the UK she was the oldest in the class (effectively held back a year). Suddenly she was very mature, doing well etc.

There is a huge advantage to be gained by being the oldest in the year.

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