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Moving a child up a year for certain subjects

(16 Posts)
HRMumness Wed 17-Oct-18 10:06:17

I have a 6yo summer born DD in Year 2. She has always been a strong reader and generally loves nothing better than to sit with her head in a book. I knew she was ahead of her friends but figured she was just at the more higher end of normal rather than an outlier. She is currently in the waiting list for a possible diagnosis for ASC. Last year, I was told she was either on target or just ahead for both reading / literacy despite requiring books from the year above but her teacher was away on sick leave for some time so that seemed to confirm my thinking that perhaps she was just at the top end rather than a real outlier.
We had her teachers meeting this week and the teacher stated that she has already capable of the reading / literacy targets for year 2, that she is having to work away from her (top group) of reading comprehension because she finds the work too easy and doesn't like doing the pair work for literacy because there is no one to match her with that is on the same level. We have had lots of problems with her going into school and I do think some of this is because she is saying she is bored and not being challenged, although some of this is possibly ASC related and struggling with demands too.
I knew a friends child had been moved up a year for his strong subject and asked whether that might be a possibility. The teacher said she was capable of doing the work and it was a good idea. However, today I was told she was not able to move up a year because "she would always be ahead" meaning they would need to accommodate her until she reaches her final year and then there would be nowhere for her to go in Year 6. Instead as she is class librarian, they want her to catalogue the books in the class and write book reviews.
I'm going to challenge the school on this but feel a bit let down by their response. Has anyone else had experience with this? I would not want her moved ahead a year completely as she is Summer born and not strong enough in other areas. Both my husband and I were ahead for age academically and while my husband was at a selective class, I was left to coast and became bored and disruptive for much of my later primary years. I really don't want to have that happen to her.
Any advice much appreciated.

brilliotic Wed 17-Oct-18 11:12:42

I kind of agree with the teacher that going up a class for what... reading? Literacy? English?... doesn't actually make much sense.

If she is 'gifted' in English, she will just overtake the next class up and end up being bored but out of year.

If she is just 'ahead', then in this year and next, other children will catch up (as tends to happen with reading); and also, it should be fairly easy to 'extend' and 'challenge' her within her regular year group.

So in your place I wouldn't be asking for moving her up a year for 'reading'. Instead, I would be discussing how they plan to keep her interested and engaged, and continuing to make progress.

They have already indicated how they intend to do this (the librarian thing) - so ask yourself what exactly is good/bad about that idea. Ask your daughter too! She might actually be thrilled by this idea. It might be just the thing for her - she doesn't have to pair with someone, she can do things her own way, the categorising aspect may appeal to her, and she can go as deep and wide as she likes in her 'book reviews'.

If it doesn't appeal to her - if it feels like 'busy work', just a thing to keep her occupied and quiet while the teacher works with other children, perhaps she feels she is being singled out; then by all means let the teacher know that you don't think this will work for her and ask to discuss other options.

If it does appeal, but you feel that something is missing - e.g. she needs the opportunity to discuss what she has been reading - then say exactly that: That their proposition very nicely addresses this aspect and that one, so thank you for that, but you noticed that this other aspect is being neglected, and do they have any ideas how that could be included for her?

HRMumness Wed 17-Oct-18 11:48:03

I thought she would be going up for English rather than just reading. She is strong in both comprehension and writing as well as reading. I feel embarrassed talking about it to other parents so I really don't know whether she is just doing well or truly gifted if you see what I mean.

The librarian thing just feels a bit like busy work to me. I will talk about it with her when she gets home. She is possible ASC so I really want her to be working in a group with other children as that is something she struggles with, so I do believe that would be beneficial as well. I do see their point that it will be hard if she has always completed the syllabus in advance of the year but these things normally level off towards the later years of primary school as other children catch up.

Kilash Wed 17-Oct-18 19:41:45

As the pp says moving up a year will not really help her if she is gifted. My son is a gifted Mathematician who stayed with his class year until year 10 quietly doing his own work until his HOY cracked and told him he didn't need to attend Maths lessons anymore (by this time he had taught hismelf the AS level and taken the exam). What I am trying nto say is that if she is gifted you will likely have years ahead of trying to keep ehr interest or persuade teachers to 'do something' . Along his journey my son did have some great teachers who organised additional things for him, but not every year. he finally came home last week after an A leve urtehr Maths class to say he had learn't something new from school for the firts time in 11 years (slight exaggeration but he is 16 grin)

Kilash Wed 17-Oct-18 20:06:45

Apologies for the terrible typos!
I also meant to say that the great thing with English is that as she gets older, there any many nautral opportunities for her to be stretched - story competitions, young journalists and when she is older, University level competitions open to 16 and 17 year olds. My son gave his energy to UKMT Maths challenges and Olympiads as an alternative to just 'learning more maths'

SpringerLink Wed 17-Oct-18 20:41:50

I would say that if you suspect ASC, then moving up a year is a really, really bad idea. Her emotional and social development will already be adrift from her current classmates, and it will be even more evident in a class with older children.

I was in this position myself (ASC and summer born). I happily explored my own interests when I was done with the class work, and sometimes had teachers who provided guidance and extra work. I think that was really successful.

My middle DD is gifted, and her teachers have a variety of strategies to keep her engaged. It centres on going broader rather than further ahead, and developing her mastery by teaching other children what she has learned.

I’m really happy with how it’s working for her (except maybe in maths where she is still complaining of being bored).

greathat Wed 17-Oct-18 22:16:07

Regarding the ASC have you looked at asynchronous development too? That's what the ed psych said was more likely for my daughter

HRMumness Thu 18-Oct-18 20:36:25

Kilash - It's good to hear a perspective of a gifted child further along. Was he not frustrated at all? How I wish she would just get on with her work quietly. She tends to get distracted quite easily. She will do the work but often needs a bit of support to stay on task.

Springerlink - it would only be a specific class, not moving up a whole year. I totally agree that she isn't ready socially or emotionally.

Greathat - I've not heard of that but have just read through the description and while it does match, we've had initial first assessments with the child development team and they think there is enough there to put her through the full assessment.

MaisyPops Thu 18-Oct-18 20:41:15

I'm of the view there are ways to stretch able children without moving up a year.

If being a librarian mean some higher level reading opportunities, getting her reading a much broader and challenging range of materials which she then works on then it could be a good extension.

If it's just file books and be quiet then it's absolutely not ok at all. I'd be surprised if any school seriously considered that appropriate differentiation.

Personally, I go for breadth as well as depth with able students and certainly don't buy into the racing ahead through later curriculum coverage 'just because' (maybe exception being maths from what I've heard from maths teachers).

Stillwishihadabs Thu 18-Oct-18 20:43:22

Lots of ASC children become very proficient at decoding ( for example reading novel words by sight before their 4th birthday). However this can Mark a lack of insight into the plot, subtext and context. I think the idea of her writhing book reviews is an excellent one as the teacher can then see if she has deep understanding of what she reads.

Stillwishihadabs Thu 18-Oct-18 20:44:11

Mask not mark

buckleten Thu 18-Oct-18 20:49:11

My daughter (August born) was moved up a year from year 2. All was well, but by the time she was a year 6 she was so bored with primary and was definitely ready to move up to secondary! She is now very happy at school.

PetuliaBlavatsky Thu 18-Oct-18 20:51:15

This is interesting reading. I have a Y3 child who is way ahead of their peers and throughout school so far sbe has either worked with the children in the year above or done the work of the year above. She has extension work to do in every subject but the focus is now more on breadth. Despite this, my DD is still bored most days and has been asking to move up a year, which I think is a really bad idea socially and emotionally. Hard to know what to do though

sirfredfredgeorge Fri 19-Oct-18 10:23:19

The work in the year above is just as easy as the work in the current year, school work does not get harder as you move up years, it just has different pre-requisites.

Moving up a year does not in any way solve kids finding the work easy, that is a lack of differentiation by the teachers.

brilliotic Fri 19-Oct-18 12:33:08

I agree with sirfred, if I was asking the teacher how they were going to keep my child engaged and challenged, and their response was that they were going to send him to the class above, I would be disappointed. (Though not surprised).

Kilash Fri 19-Oct-18 20:35:28

Yes HRMumness he has been very bored in Maths lessons! However, it has taught him some important skills. Firstly how to quietly complete his work with 100% accuracy. Secondly, how to challenge himself (really important now for 6th Form, Uni applications etc), how to work independently. Although he is a gifted Mathematician he now has the prospect of competing with many other gifted Mathematicians for an Oxbridge place and more importantly PROVING he is worth giving a place to. A* will not be enough. Taking A level early is very frowned upon. He has also been challenged by focussing on other subjects outside his comfort zone (he got a 9 for English Lit GCSE which surprised us all!) and finally by learning a musical instrument.

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