Should my DS move up a year?(13 Posts)
My DS is at a small school with mixed year classes. He always works with the year above (4 rather than 3) and is at the top end of that year group for both English and Maths. He got all level 3s at KS1 and 3a in Maths. He is August born but all his friends are in the older peer group as well.
In September the year fours will be moving up a class which will leave my DS behind.
I am meeting with the head next week and am thinking about asking if he could move up as well. This will be into another mixed class of Yr 5&6. I am worried about how they will stretch him if he is left behind.
I would appreciate your opinions on what might be the best route.
A decent teacher should be able to provide an appropriate level of differentiation within the correct cohort. When ds1 was in reception they had a 7 year range of reading ability for example but it was dealt with very well.
Ds1 was a 4b for reading and writing at end of year 2. He spends some time each week with years above for literacy. Was with year 5 when in year 2 but we are now planning for what happens when that cohort leaves so he spends time now with year 5 but a strong reading group for example. He also gets appropriate differentiation within the classroom. It would not have been in his best interests socially to have been advanced a year - and wouldn't have prevented there being a need for advanced differentiation unless he was put straight from year 2 into year 5 all the time which would have been inappropriate.
You have to bear in mind what your exit strategy is - what happens when he is in year 6? Does he stay in the year 5/6 class for 3 years rather than 2? Most LEAs are concerned about children advancing to secondary before their age cohort.
Think you need to consider what happens in 2 years time when that year group move to secondary . It is unlikely he'd go a year early so needs to friends within his peer group. Agree there should be room for differentiation , it is also likely there are others similar standard (ie got 3's in KS1 tests) who are at the older end of his year group.
most areas won't let children move up early to secondary. There is good reason for this, my brothers were both moved up early and so one brother aged 14 was in a class of 16 yo and doing all the things they did socially, when he was 2 years younger.
In a mixed class group, it may work for him to go up early and stay there for 3 years instead of 2, or he may just get bored sooner! Any good teacher should be able to provide him with age appropriate work.
One option would be for him to go up for, say, literacy groups, and then be in his own class for everything else.
If the head wants him to move up, I would be asking he what the plan would be for end of year 6. If the head wants him to stay down, ask what the plan is for stretching him
Dd moved up a year and it was a disaster because she had to repeat yr 5
Yr 6 was sats and prepping for high school transition so as she couldn't move up to high school early it was decided she should stay in yr 5
She felt like she was being punished, she lost her friendship groups and didn't manage to break into new ones -had people she would hang out with but not proper friends
Dd2 was offered the opportunity to move up and I said no -she is thriving within her own year group and being appropriately challenged
I think it is very hard, for a lot of reasons, for state schools to do this - generally they will only send a child up to work with the higher age groups.
But I agree with everyone who says that you need a long term plan. What would your year 6 look like each way - if he goes up or just works with them? And how would you manage the transition to secondary? This is particularly important if everyone goes on to the same secondary, I think.
FWIW, DD has moved up a year, and it's working for us. But it's a small private school, and our plan is to home school her for a year between that and secondary as we don't want her to stay skipped for secondary. And children go on to a wide scatter of different schools, state and private, so continuing friendship groups beyond that won't be an issue.
I think it is easier for the school to move him up a year than have him suitably challenged by teaching that stretches him. As others have said in the end the Local Authority won't allow him to go to secondary earlier and it would be worst to remain in the year longer.
Thanks for the replies, plenty to think about. I wouldn't want him to go to secondary a year early but it is possible that he could move into a feeder school for the private school that he is likely to attend for year six.
Differentiation is so hard to judge! It has been easy for them so far but will be a much bigger challenge next year.
I will happily go with what the school decides is best, but at least they know that we are interested in what happens.
I believe i had year below people in my private school.
So they may well take them
Bear in mind that the school will possibly tend toward the solution that causes the least trouble for them.
If your DS is getting the right level of input with a particular group, I personally don't see why that should change. Schools are there to provide an appropriate level of education for the child, not to keep children in groups defined by their age.
The school could teach him appropriate material on a one-to-one basis with his age peers, or they could allow your DS to have a more socially rewarding experience by teaching him with other children. The extra bonus of this is that it will use fewer resources too. it seems a no-brainer to me, but schools get hung up on keeping ages together. Never mind that some children will be closer in age to the year above than they are to children in their own class, for schools it's all about September 1st to August 31st.
Differentiation can be done, but it's hard work for the teacher with a very able pupil because they should be doing one lesson with extension activities for most of the class, and if the child is truly gifted then pretty much a separate lesson for them. For every lesson, every day.
I am of the belief that it is good for children to work with children of a similar ability level. I know from my experience that being with children who are less able (albeit the same age) can lead to complacency and under-achievement. Think of who you choose as friends as an adult. Is it people who are the same age as you, or people who you get along with because they have a similar outlook on life?
My daughter skipped Year 6. She had been in mixed age group classes and was one of four Year 5's put into the Year 6 class, and her teacher immediately mistook her for a Year 6 due to her abilities. She had no problem whatsoever being a Year 6 in secondary school with Year 7s. There were about four children like her that year. Girls might be a bit different to boys though.
DS1 is in year 1. He is a 3 in maths, reading and writing now. He is currently in a mixed year 1/2 class and therefore works with the year 2's who are moving up in Sept to the year 3/4 class. I have been told DS will go to year 3/4 for maths and literacy next year, but will remain with his year group for everything else.
Incidentally I mentioned this might happen to DS and he thought about it for about 20 seconds and then said "but Mummy does that mean I'll have to go to a different school in year 6!"
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