Grade skipping?(28 Posts)
DS has just turned 4yrs old (September) due to start school in September 2015.
He was assessed by an Educational Psychologist two weeks ago.
DS tested at 99.9 percentile for 6yr olds in maths, reading, comprehension & spelling.
Her advice was to seek early entry or skipping reception.
We hope to send him to a small prep school.
Does anyone have experience of grade skipping?
No but would it really benefit him? If he's in a selective prep school then the other children are also likely to be academically advanced and the school should be able to tailor the learning to his needs. The social side of things for him is likely to be impacted if you tried to put him in at a higher level.
Yes, but not of reception. In fact reception was the year when (with supportive teaching) dc's intrinsic learning really took off. Reception is supposed to be unstructured and child-led learning. It taught dc how to interact with others and was a vital stepping stone (IME) between nursery and school. He could choose what he did and the teachers and TA built a learning objective around that.
Dc maintains friendships with his actual year group and learning group, which is also really important to him developmentally.
Depends on emotional and social.
If in doubt then could do reception and skip later.
Your DS is sept birthday so only a few days in weeks younger than youngest in year above, so next year up still might not stimulate sufficiently.
Why has your DS been assessed by an ed psych? Can you explain please.
My DS went to a school where half were working at the national average and the other half two years above the national average. No one moved year groups and a huge number went to the very local grammar school after year 6. I think emotionally they were too young to be in the year above. Older children will hit pubity early also.
Ours was just a well heeled state school but an academic prep would have children working in advance of their year group anyway.
I was probably very like your son. I went to school 1 year ahead of my peers, so I was 4yrs old in a class where everyone else was 5. that was fine for a few years - it was a great school and I really thrived. when I was 8, my parents moved to a different country and I then started going to school with children of the same age. By that point, I was still ahead academically but falling behind socially. It really helped to be with children closer to me in age. I think if I'd stayed 1 year ahead all the way through school, I would have had a horrible time in secondary.
Overall, I don't think there is any benefit to being 1 year ahead in school. The academic side will probably be easy for your child in any year, so being with the right age will make the social side easier. There is no harm in taking things slow - it is not a race to get into university, and having more time to make friends and explore the world will help in the end.
A good selective prep is probably the best choice. DS is a September born and scored very high in entrance tests although I was somewhat dubious since this was done at 3yrs of age. He has remained 'one of the bright ones' but is very modest about his ability (probably because we didn't make a big thing about it).
He has done well with his own year group a good number of whom are also high percentile. Socially I am certain moving him on a year (they did a trial at the end of year 2 for core subjects) would have been a big mistake.
Although academically school is very straightforward for him, he is challenged and in lessons where they are not streamed the teachers are very good at differentiation for the more able children.
There have been a few children who have been 'accelerated' but they struggle socially. The move is usually parent led and the school will comply if they think the child will cope academically but they do council against it on social grounds.
Thank you all.
We had DS assessed on the advice of his nursery & to help us find a 'best fit' prep school.
He's an 'old soul' in a child's body & totally unlike my other four children.
Like any parent, I want him to be happy first & foremost.
We've known he was very bright, but he staggers us on a daily basis.
He's due to go in for a trial morning at one prep school next week so we'll see how that goes.
Socially he loves girls! Steers clear of the boys as he hates rough play.
Guess if there is a gorgeous blond in class, that could sway it!
Thank you all again, it's really helpful to get perspective.
I have a child with an 'old soul' so I know what you mean. I think I have a 19th Century Gentleman who'd happily wear a top hat and a monocle given the chance Very intelligent though. Reception is about a lot more then learning the alphabet/how to read and write though so I wouldn't do this. This is where friendships are formed and where they learn to follow the rules etc. Ds skipped year 4 but was made to repeat year 5 when he moved to a new school, which was very unfair on him and he became very bored (they had promised differentiated work, which never happened). He's now in an academically selective private secondary and sits his GCSE's this year. I wouldn't recommend skipping a year, the school should adjust his work for him.
If it's any help, there is a very clever girl in DD's A level class, who is a year younger than the others. She is likely to get all A* results but has found that some universities will not accept her because she will be under 18 when she hopes to start university.
To the previous poster: could you clarify which universities and courses refused to accept an under 18 year old? In my experience (as an academic) it is quite common to see grade skipped students entering university early, particularly in STEM subjects. Indeed students as young as 14 or 15 are occasionally accepted onto university courses.
In any case the possible need for a gap year at 17 probably shouldn't be the main factor in making choices for a 4 year old.
Two of my DC have started uni at 17.5, not that unusual for Scottish students who can be leaving 6th year at 17.
One of them started Oxford at 17 and was the youngest at his college for 2 years, I'd say the uni age factor should be considered, as there is a big difference in maturity between a 17 and a 19/20 year old.
I'd say don't skip, concentrate on broadening out your DC education rather than pushing ahead.
DS1 was in your DC position (assessed at 4 and 5.5, iq in the 160s). School one long struggle from start to finish and grade skipping IMO would have made that worse.
DS really found his feet in 6th year, has flown at uni where he is with similarly minded people.
And yes, some unis, some courses do say no under 18 students. Medicine for example but it varies by course and uni (ds1 was an oxford medic at 17.5).
Sorry, I don't know which universities they were, as I don't know the girl really well, but I do know that she wanted to study medicine.
Starting university early is such a bad idea- there is a girl in my dd's flat who is missing out because she's not old enough to go out with the others. They are a supportive group so they make sure that they'll often do things she can do, but she is lucky- I suspect another flat might not be so accommodating.
The original poster's son would be 18 in the September he started university so by the time he arrived at university (most start at the end of Sept/early October) he would be 18. I can't think what he would miss out on by being two weeks younger than a student who was born on 31 August.
I don't think university entrance should be a strong factor in school decisions made for a child at 4. However I agree that grade skipping by one year doesn't solve academic issues and might not be the best thing socially/emotionally later, even if it feels like these aren't issues right now.
niece skipped 2 years at school, went to uni at 16 and is a very well adjusted person, socially great person to be with, lost of friends. However this is in a different country where children are moved up easier than here (and also resit a year if deemed useful).
But 4 years old a bit early to think about uni....
Really tricky- I think the answer boils down to the personality of the individual child not just their intelligence. My brother started school a year early and just got on with it no problems. He was an early October birthday, mature yet laid back attitude being the youngest of 3 and was really no different to anyone others in the year group. He sailed through academically, went to Uni with the rest of them. He's done very well for himself.
The problem if you don't start school a year ahead is typified by DS1. He started school out of sight for reception and spent most of the year working on his own in the year R classroom with a TA but no other child to bounce off. He managed to get the idea in his head that this was because he wasn't very good at maths and literacy. In year 1 he was in a mixed year 1/2 classroom and worked with the year 2's. He is now in year 2 but goes to the year 3/4 classroom for maths and literacy but comes back to year 1/2 for afternoons. He's coping well at the moment to be fair, but is working with the top spelling a group in the year 3/4 class and allegedly works on his maths with some of the year 4's. He seems to be learning at a rate faster than the others still. I don't know then what happens when he gets to being in year 5/6 chronologically and potentially needs to access the KS3 curriculum. His last year teacher remarked that there are a couple of other bright children in his actual year group who will probably catch him up by year 6....
There really is no benefit to starting school a year early (all children in this country are starting school too young already!)
Keep encouraging his love of learning at his own level in every way you can at home and school will primarily be where he will be able to develop those essential social and emotional skills (and any good school will differentiate academically). Also if he is a year younger than others, he will potentially be less developed physically and this will impact his enjoyment and success in sports and physicals activities - something which would be of disservice to him in regards to longterm health.
I skipped a grade at school and it wasn't too bad when I was younger but made a real impact when puberty kicked in and also when all my friends could drive/drink well before I could. In hindsight, I would have preferred to be in my 'regular' year group from the social point of view...although maybe I would have been bored academically...hard to say...
I skipped a grade at age 8 (private school) and carried on in that class for the whole of school, and it worked absolutely fine for me. I did A-levels at 17, and Cambridge recommended I took a year out before starting my degree (languages), which suited me fine - I went and lived abroad for most of it.
A school friend of mine who was going to Cambridge to do maths, however, was encouraged to go straight up at 17 - I think it depends on the subject, and for some things like maths they don't like you to get rusty by taking time out.
In the OP's case, I think choosing the right school is more important than whether or not her DS starts early. Are there any good preschools around, e.g. Montessori, which might stretch him while also helping work on social skills? Might be worth considering as an alternative.
I actually think that if you are going to do it at any point, it's much better done at the start of a school. Otherwise he will have the problem of leaving his old friends to go up to a new class. Starting with them will make that much less of an issue.
From our experience, those kind of split days (mornings with one class afternoons with another) don't really work. DD did that for a while, and ended up feeling that she belonged nowhere and was losing touch with her old friends while not getting the chance to make new ones.
I'm also really interested as to why the UK (in general) is so against skipping, I keep meaning to start a thread on this. Academic research shows that it is generally very successful (with the caveat being that the main factor determining it is how much the school is behind it). And the idea that children belong only and entirely with a
rather arbitrary selection of age mates is a relatively recent idea. I can see why it is a problem for schools (because they'd spend a lot of time arguing over particular cases) but if you could find a protocol for assessing kids's suitability for skipping (funnily enough there is one in the US) then that should be relatively straightforward.
I just wondered, if the child would be better to stay at his age group if you think about some subjects such as literacy, which seems to require mental maturing or life experience? Or it is not a big issue??
Not sure I would be against it, He would be about the eldest in his year anyway.
We've decided to grade skip.
His IQ is 160+ so he'd go into reception class but working at Year2 level.
There are only 8 pupils to the class with a teacher & assistant so lots of individual care.
Nursery was becoming a struggle.
Wish him luck ladies
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