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How important is it to have a cohort of similar ability/at a similar level of progress?

(22 Posts)
LowCloudsForming Fri 14-Feb-14 11:15:55

Outside of school daughter prefers to socialise with children at least 1 year older. In school feels huge disparity in interests and topic of conversation with age cohort. Working at levels significantly above age cohort. Currently working in Y6. So, please advise on how to survive next year (Y6) in social and academic isolation.

17leftfeet Fri 14-Feb-14 11:33:02

my dd1 really struggled with yr6, she had been working with older children right the way through primary and on reflection this was a bad idea

the yr6 teachers were brilliant and did a lot of enrichment with her but yr 6 was on the whole very repetitive, socially difficult and really not much fun

high school has opened up a new word of like minded friends so I would just focus on that with her

LowCloudsForming Fri 14-Feb-14 12:13:12


Au79 Fri 14-Feb-14 14:52:14

True, it won't be long to secondary but you have to get through another term and a half. My DD2 is in the same boat but I think my experience with older sister has helped me help her. Is the school stretching her now or is she just getting more of the same having reached the floor level they are aiming for? Some schools go on to higher level work, others are good at "sideways stretch", some are rubbish at both (believe me I know) also bear in mind there is usually a final trip, play, party etc to look forward to.

This could be a moment to look again at her classmates/acquaintances, they are changing fast too at this age - are there any with different interests she might think of joining them to try? Dance, art, etc. Worth it to get more social skills as well as fun. Also develop her own old and new interests, music, sport, hobbies-self-consciousness grows in early teens and trying new things is more risky.

Finally, my first DD now 13 has been thoroughly disappointed with year 7 and 8 after thinking at last it would get more interesting. Well it didn't and add a nice helping of bullying from other girls! A difficult age-watch "Mean Girls" with her. Also lots if other interests at home have been a godsend.

Au79 Fri 14-Feb-14 14:57:15

Ok I now think you mean she is in year 5 now?

You need to talk to the school about it, really.

Have you got a good secondary picked out? Are you going to try for a selective school? My dd enjoyed preparing for exams, don't listen to all the people who say poor kids being pushed. Nonsense. I never saw her so happy, not having to play with kids she didn't enjoy-she'd rather write a story or poem at home.

LowCloudsForming Sat 15-Feb-14 09:01:05

Thanks Au79. She is in Y5. She does a great deal outside of school (music, sport) from which she derives great pleasure and like minded friends. Secondary would be selective and is a good school. I'm not in the slightest bit worried about what other people think of me! Really what I'm trying to establish is what level of detrimental effect is sustained by working/socialising unilaterally.

ThreeBeeOneGee Sat 15-Feb-14 09:13:52

Last year DS2 moved from a mixed ability primary to a selective secondary, where he has been put in the top sets.

He now has friends for the first time (in primary school there was no one on his wavelength) and is enjoying school more, as all the work is aimed at his ability level. He is much happier.

As for surviving Y6, I don't know. He went to some workshops for gifted children from many different schools, and socialised there. The rest of the time, he read a lot.

HerGraciousMajTheBeardedPotato Sat 15-Feb-14 09:21:39

Google Potential Plus. There may be a group local to you.

LowCloudsForming Sat 15-Feb-14 09:49:21

Thanks for ideas. Have just looked at Potential Plus - nothing in our area and also rather infrequent sessions. I am not at all concerned about providing challenging activities beyond school as she has plenty going on which meets that need. It is WITHIN school that concerns me. Is it OK for a sociable child to remain isolated at school for a year or is it worth risking a move to a larger school with a bigger cohort?

theendgame Sun 16-Feb-14 09:52:56

DD is younger, but one thing we are already considering is taking her out and HE-ing for a year in Year 6 for very similar reasons. Plus, the whole SATS shenanigans means that it's not as though she'll miss out on actual learning.

EmmaGoldmanSachs Mon 17-Feb-14 11:41:29

I would have thought that it would make sense to talk to your dd, and see how she feels about it.

I can imagine she may feel happy with her friends outside school, and willing to 'coast' for a year seeing school as a break from absorbing outside interests. I would certainly have felt that way at that age, I did lots of music, riding etc outside school & enjoyed the time/space to do that, read a lot etc.

My dd in yr 6, OTOH would probably have chosen to move somewhere with a bigger more similar cohort, had she had the option, and in retrospect I think we would have done better to take her out of school and consider HEing for a year (rural area, so all v. small schools).

LowCloudsForming Mon 17-Feb-14 11:52:31

EGS - naturally that conversation was the first port of call. She is not keen to stay with her age cohort. She may well have to put up with it.

EmmaGoldmanSachs Mon 17-Feb-14 12:08:05

If she wants to move, it sounds like it would make sense to look at the other options - a year is a long time to be unhappy when you are 10, IMO, simply because it is such a high proportion of your conscious experience.

LowCloudsForming Mon 17-Feb-14 13:26:07

Thanks EGS. I'm inclined to agree. Am in process of investigating.

noodle71 Mon 17-Feb-14 16:01:17

Have you thought about skipping a year so she can go to High School and in sep? Independent sxhools will have them early if they pass exam

LowCloudsForming Mon 17-Feb-14 16:54:23

noodle71 - indeed…currently in process.

Au79 Tue 18-Feb-14 09:50:33

Having been through this stage twice, I would find out if the school is doing Level 6 work with their current year 6. Did any achieve level 6 last year, and in what subjects? Which teacher taught those lessons and are they going to be there next year?

If not, I would be looking to move my dd before secondary. If they have a track record with Level 6 in the areas my dd is interested in, I would consider staying. Our school has really upped their game this year with a new head and the deputy head assigned to teach the top 20 kids aiming for 5/6-they've been on training courses etc and are really trying hard. My dd2 has changed out of all recognition since year 5, and now values the other children in her class for their own attributes-I still don't believe my eyes as she had a rotten time friendship wise throughout primary.

LowCloudsForming Tue 18-Feb-14 11:12:02

Hi Au79. You are very helpful - thank you! The answer is yes, a very small number of Y6 are doing L6 maths work and my child is currently doing it with them. I should explain that this is a VERY small school which means that her current ability cohort = 3.

Au79 Tue 18-Feb-14 22:46:11

Glad if sharing my experience helps anyone, it's been hard with these bright sparks burning me out the last fee years! Good luck to all!

LowCloudsForming Tue 18-Feb-14 23:11:37

Thanks. smile

GoodnessKnows Thu 27-Feb-14 08:55:05

More important that her teacher provide her with sufficiently stimulating work. She can make like-minded friends at after-school activities etc.

Littleoaktree Thu 27-Feb-14 10:32:47

Just wanted to add my personal experience - I was ok at primary school as v v small school so I could just work at my own pace although had few friends as I was way ahead academically/interests wise. When I got to secondary it was apparent that I'd already covered most of y7 work so my DM managed to convince the school to allow me to skip a year so I did a month of y7 and then straight into y8. It was def better from an academic point of view but they still weren't stretching me and there wasn't anyone else of my ability in the class. I went to an independent school from y10 and it was a revelation to actually have to work a bit to be top of the class grin. I continued on the year group ahead of my actual age cohort and I went to Oxford and finally I was with others of similar intellectual ability and for the first time in my life I made proper friends and loved the challenge of no longer being always top of everything.

I would say if the selective school will let her start y7 in sept then that's def your best bet - it certainly would have been for me. I would

Good luck with getting something sorted.

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