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anyone put their dc up an academic year?

(49 Posts)
SerapisBey Fri 20-May-11 23:12:54

just wondering if anyone had approached their school about putting their child up a year group due to ability? have mixed feelings about it but a few people have sugg it. seemed a popular option back int the late 70s/ 80s when I was at school - but it is do-able now? what have you found to be the pros / cons of it if you have? what age was your child? my dc is 5 and in reception. any news / views greatly appreciated!

notnowbernard Fri 20-May-11 23:14:29

Has your child's teacher suggested it to you

PacificDogwood Fri 20-May-11 23:16:39

Oh, I will watch with interest. I have an appointment to speak to DS1's head teacher next week.
He is 8, in P3(Scotland), reading age 11, doing maths for Yr 2-3 and I am worried he will get bored and stop bothering.

Not at all sure I want him moved up a year, because he is not more mature than his peers. And I would hate for him to lose his friends.

So, really, I don't know what I am expecting or asking from the head confused.

SerapisBey Fri 20-May-11 23:22:38

no - teacher hasn't sugg, but she is not very dynamic and so far the case hs been me suggesting things and she takes on board. the school keep saying they have never had this scenario before and seem at a bit of a loss on 'what to do' with my child, thus problematising him.. friends have mooted this idea and for the first time, it seems a potential plan that i'd like to consider, but really want to think about all effects before i go in all-guns-blazing!

off to bed now, but will check again over weekend. really love to hear from people who've been in this position. thanks!

LilyBolero Fri 20-May-11 23:26:04

I really really wouldn't go down that route, especially at reception age. They need to be with their peers - reception is all about building relationships, learning to get along with their friends, learning how to be responsible for themselves. Any reception class will have a massive spread of levels, and actually, the ones who are most ahead sometimes plateau, and others zoom along later. Even ages can have a massive effect - when they start reception, some children may be 25% older than others.

A good teacher will differentiate anyway, and offer extension work. What is your thinking behind suggesting moving a year ahead (ie what is the school not offering?). Is there anything you can do to fill in any gaps?

pooka Fri 20-May-11 23:29:58

I think you may have difficulties when it comes to secondary schools. Round here at least they are very strict about children joining their peer group for secondary, which could mean your dc having to repeat a year at some point during primary.

Socially not a great idea IMO - always a year younger (if able to go to secondary a year ahead) than friends who are learning to drive, going to pubs, getting into the cinema and so on.

Who has suggested it? My MIL keeps banging on about whether school will move ds1 up a year. He is also in Reception, and while the school considered moving him to year 3 for some literacy (not so hot at maths, or rather unbalance in terms of maths/literacy proficiency), was discounted (and I agree) because they want him to mix with the boys in his class, to carry on making friends and generally having fun. They were worried that the older children might be tempted to baby him, which would do him no good really (although he'd enjoy it). Also, dd is in yr3! grin So would be rather odd for both of them.

What they've done instead is differentiate the work. He has extended targets for writing and reading. Is currently occupied with the First News kids newspaper (which the school have subscribed to for him). Reads it, cuts out his favourite stories. Writes about them. Then looks at reference books if there are complicated terms that he doesn't understand (like sub species, or biodiversity). Then writes a short bit about what he's read. Still does maths with peers and circle time, phonics and stuff though. And loves it. smile

pooka Fri 20-May-11 23:36:24

Do you know anything about his next year teacher? Might they be more dynamic?

The school should be making an effort to show that they are still "adding value" i.e. progressing from his higher starting level. Admittedly, it is hard for this to happen in a class of maybe 30 children. But they'll have to cope. Sometimes there are days or even a week where ds1 has obviously been coasting along. But it doesn't bother me at all really - he's having fun with his cohort, socialising, playing games and so on. Which is what Reception is about in the most part.

I suppose because ds1 is markedly better at literacy than numeracy, my take on it is that reading is a skill that eventually almost children master. He just happens to have done that earlier, and thus has been able to concentrate on writing, which is improving. I expect really that he'll naturally level off at some point - or that other children will catch him up. He's bright, but I don't think he is a genius (and this is good as far as I am concerned). So long as the school are fostering his enthusiasm and maintaining his interest I am happy.

exexpat Fri 20-May-11 23:42:49

I'd try to get better differentiation for him first - maybe joining an older class just for some maths or literacy work - and see how that works. Reception seems a bit early to be thinking of moving him up, unless he is profoundly gifted (ie on course to cope with GCSEs while at primary school) because a few months can make a huge difference to how they are doing at that age.

I was moved up a year at age 7 or 8 and it worked very well for me, but that was a private school and so I moved up to secondary with everyone else, and finished at 17. I know of children at the schools my two go to now (both independent) who have been moved up a year (and some who have been kept down a year), but state schools are rather against it in general these days, at least partly because of the problem when they move from primary to secondary.

magicmummy1 Sat 21-May-11 13:06:19

This was suggested to us by dd's reception teacher last year. We declined, as we felt it was better to keep her with her peer group. I don't regret it.

She is still ahead of her peers, and it's my impression that the gap has widened, rather than diminished. However, her year 1 teacher has been fab about stretching her and she has progressed in leaps and bounds this year, without being moved out of her peer group.

She has great friends in her class, and I am so glad that these have been allowed to blossom and grow - a big advantage of keeping her where she is! Also, while she is very advanced academically, she is decidedly average in pe, art etc.

Some kids start off advanced and stay that way, while others level out over time. It's too early to say yet which camp your dd will be in, and you don't want to start piling on the pressure, so I'd leave her where she is right now and just make sure that she has plenty of stimulating activities to keep her love of learning alive.

magicmummy1 Sat 21-May-11 13:15:52

This was suggested to us by dd's reception teacher last year. We declined, as we felt it was better to keep her with her peer group. I don't regret it.

She is still ahead of her peers, and it's my impression that the gap has widened, rather than diminished. However, her year 1 teacher has been fab about stretching her and she has progressed in leaps and bounds this year, without being moved out of her peer group.

She has great friends in her class, and I am so glad that these have been allowed to blossom and grow - a big advantage of keeping her where she is! Also, while she is very advanced academically, she is decidedly average in pe, art etc.

Some kids start off advanced and stay that way, while others level out over time. It's too early to say yet which camp your dd will be in, and you don't want to start piling on the pressure, so I'd leave her where she is right now and just make sure that she has plenty of stimulating
activities to keep her love of learning alive.

magicmummy1 Sat 21-May-11 13:16:38

Oops, sorry!

meditrina Sat 21-May-11 13:20:35

Back in the 70s, our LEA had a policy of allowing a few children to go up to secondary school a year early. And it more or less worked - for children with early autumn birthdays at least as they were more or less the right age and could fit in socially.

If an early move to secondary cannot be guaranteed, then you are storing up both academic and social problems when year 6 has to be repeated.

Think carefully.

PacificDogwood Sat 21-May-11 15:41:46

I think the peer group thing is really important.

Not just now when your child is little, but later on as well. Or even more so.
My DS would go from being one of the oldest in his year to being one of the youngest. Potentially leave school at 17 (and then have to work until he is 102 the way things are going - what's the point in that??).

My SIL is head of a secondary school and she pointed out to me how hard it can be for somebody who happens to hit puberty late to also be the youngest in their class.
They won't be allowed to learn to drive with their peers, won't be allowed out as late as their friends, won't be able to participate in activities their peers might want to do (that might be a good thing, mind wink).

I am not convinced that getting them through school young is necessarily doing them a service (any 12 year old Oxbridge genius has my full sympathy).

My village state primary school have been very good with DS, giving him extra work and encouraging him. He is currently in a composite class P3P4 and he has loved that. He also enjoyed circle time, PE, drama and arts with his P3 friends.
My meeting with the head is just to find out her thoughts what to do with him next school year when he is going to be in a 'straight' P4 having already done all the P4 work.

When I was about 12 or so there was vague talk about me being moved up a year which thankfully did not come to anything. I left school at 19 (not in Britain) with my peer group, I still did not have a clue what to do with myself. How on earth I would have coped if I had been forced to leave school much younger, I don't know grin....

magicmummy1 Sat 21-May-11 15:53:48

Completely agree, pacificdogwood. I can't really see the advantage of acceleration. Particularly in the case of my dd, who is already one of the youngest in her class. Some of the older kids would have been nearly two years older, and I think that would have been very difficult when they hit puberty!

PacificDogwood Sat 21-May-11 16:00:42

I had a wobble when DS1 was 4 1/2 (in Scotland the cut-off for starting school is 1.3. which is DS's birthday) as if he had been born 24 hours earlier he would have been starting school then.
From a social/emotional point of view I do not regret the decision to not push for an early entry at all. Also, coming from continental Europe where in most countries children start school after their 6th birthday (except for Switzerland where they start after 7!), I just could not bear the thought of a 4 year old in school uniform blush.

I just really hope, he won't become bored and just stop wanting to achieve because everything is too 'easy'. Or does not learn to learn IYKWIM because he just expects to automatically be ahead anyway (that kind of happened to me blush. My brother was much more 'average' at school, learnt how to knuckle down and had less of a rude awakening at university...).

FrameyMcFrame Sat 21-May-11 16:02:54

My brother was a year ahead at school, did A levels a year early then Scholarship to top Oxford college at 17. He got very badly bullied at school and after achieving amazing things academically was never very happy and became an alcoholic and died young.

Obviously that won't happen to your child but don't underestimate social happiness, academic achievement is not everything. My brother was never too happy in his own skin and I often wonder whether it was down to being removed from his peers.

IslaValargeone Sat 21-May-11 16:04:24

One of my friends was put up a year when he was at school. He struggled with the peer group thing, and was excluded from many experiences because he wasn't old enough, driving, parties, pubs etc. Had a really hard time of it, and wishes he had gone through the system normally.
That might not seem important while your dc is only little, but it's something to consider.
Fwiw, I think reception is far too early to be making decisions about being put up a year, and while I'm not suggesting you fall into this category, just about everyone with a kid that can read more than Biff, Chip and Kipper in reception thinks they are gifted/ should be moved/will be bored/etc etc. Things tend to even out, and once they are in year 1 a good school will give different types of tasks.

lljkk Sat 21-May-11 16:13:53

I know someone (now early 40s) who was put up a year & wished she hadn't been. Often talked about "tall poppy syndrome". Very bright but she kind of cultivated an "I'm thick" manner to cover it up. sad

PacificDogwood Sat 21-May-11 16:18:32

Framey sad

Bonsoir Sat 21-May-11 16:24:01

I was moved up a year (basically missed Reception) years ago as did my sister. I was "returned" to my correct year three years later when I moved school (I was a June birthday so very young indeed for the year ahead) whereas my sister, who was a December birthday, remained a year ahead right through school.

We are both quite normal - clever but not geniuses. The extra year of primary schooling did me good, I think.

snailoon Sat 21-May-11 16:27:45

Our son was way ahead academically, and skipped year one. He was still way ahead so I can't say it made that much of a difference to his level of boredom.
Sport is absurdly important as far as being cool in secondary school, so you may find that if, at 12, he is still ahead academically and really interested in maths or whatever (not cool), being on the rugby A team (cool) may compensate for this. If he is months younger that the other kids, this may make a difference to his sporting prowess.
I don't mean to imply that being cool is something you should be worrying about.
I think the whole business of skipping a year is not a big deal actually; people take it too seriously. If your child is really clever (in a school-ey way) he/she will need a great deal more than what is on offer in the classroom. This is also true if he/she is clever in other ways or not particularly clever at all.
It is nice to be a year ahead. You can say to your child when he/she is fed up at age 13:
"let's take a year and work on a farm, go live in another country, sail around the world, home educate, start our own business, then you can join your age group."
No school has ever made any noises about wanting our son to move back to be with his age group. That's ridiculous. On the rare occasions that he seems to notice he is a year ahead, I just remind him that if he had been born prematurely he would have been in this year group anyway.

snailoon Sat 21-May-11 16:35:13

I always wonder about the "everyone evens out eventually and you can't tell when they're in reception" comments. In my experience (not that extensive) you can certainly tell early, and not everyone in the world is equally good at, for instance, maths.

madwomanintheattic Sat 21-May-11 16:52:36

in yr r dd2 was assessed at working between 3 and 7 years ahead across the board. school looked at moving her up a year but it was vetoed by the ht eventually. <shrugs> as it happened she had a lot of 1-1 for something else, so it was accommodated easily.

i'm quite glad tbh. she's different enough enough without being out of her peer group added on. they are supposed to have altered the school timetable so that children can move more easily to do project work etc with higher/ or lower year groups.

ds1 used to get moved up for some lessons in infants. it was the only time he worked tbh. he has to be stimulated or he's a lazy beggar. dd1 is officially on the regional g&t programme lol, and is the only one who has never been moved up for different classes. grin

so they are all still chugging along with their peer group - essential for social i think. in theory they all could have moved up and coped quite happily from an academic pov. once tweens and teens hits, being the youngest by a year is really no fun at all socially.

magicmummy1 Sat 21-May-11 16:54:21

Snailoon, I think the issue is not so much that everyone evens out in the end - clearly they don't! Rather that not all children who are ahead at a young age will necessarily stay ahead. Some will, some won't.

In my dd's case, as I said above, the gap appears to be widening rather than narrowing.

PacificDogwood Sat 21-May-11 17:11:33

madwoman, I very much agree with your 'different enough' comment - no need to be adding to the differentness (if that's a word).

DS's school have said to me in the past that they would treat him like any other child with 'additional learning needs' which does makes perfect sense when you think about it.

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