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Jumping a school year

(63 Posts)
Discoveringnewchoices Wed 22-Jun-11 17:32:54

This is not stealth boasting this is genuinely asking for advice from anyone who has made the decision:

My dc in yr 1 has had it suggested by the school that they should move up a year (this is an independent school).

They have asked whether we would prefer our dc to be moved up this year, i.e. go from pre-prep into prep now when classmates up to yr 2 and they go into yr 3, or whether we would like to leave it for a year and do it when all classmates move up into prep and our dc goes into yr 4 whilst rest of class is in yr 3.

Has anyone done either of these? Any opinions on which one is better/worse?

Lizcat Wed 22-Jun-11 17:45:50

Quite extensive thread on G&T about this [http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/gifted_and_talented/1219488-anyone-put-their-dc-up-an-academic-year]

MotherPanda Wed 22-Jun-11 17:47:50

I always wonder what happens to children who go up a year when school finishes and its time to go to university - do they effectively get held back a year at the end? As they wont be old enough to apply for uni, when the rest of there class will etc.

Just a thought.

Discoveringnewchoices Wed 22-Jun-11 17:53:47

Good thought MotherPanda - the way I've always understood it if you've been doing it for enough years, i.e. 2 or 3 years before moving on to secondary you can stay in the year ahead, and if the majority of your school career has been the year ahead you can go on to Uni early, although as gap years are common nowadays, younger pupils tend to take a gap year before starting uni.

Discoveringnewchoices Wed 22-Jun-11 17:54:05

Thanks for the link lizcat I'll go and have a look over there.

MotherPanda Wed 22-Jun-11 17:56:32

I suppose it won't really be a problem then, seeing as you'd be doing it from early primary age.

And,as you say, even if your dc isn't allowed to go to uni till 18, there's always gap years.

sorry - no actual advice about which is the best option!

teacherwith2kids Wed 22-Jun-11 18:04:11

There is no minimum age for going to university, I don't think?

If a child finishes A-levels at 17, they can start uni at 17 as far as I know. I would have done (I skipped the first year of secondary school) but chose to take a gap year and start with my age peers (though as many of them took a gap year too, I was still young for my year).

I would say that it is always easier to skip a year at a transition point, and probably easier to start the new school / stage of school at the beginning. So I'd go for prep next year, rather than wait another year and have him skip the first year of prep.

As I say, I skipped the first year of secondary school, and this was absolutely fine - though I think it would have been easier had I instead skipped the final year of primary and arrived new at the same time as everyone else IYSWIM?

seeker Wed 22-Jun-11 18:09:36

I honestly think this is a bad idea. Imagine being the only one of your friends too young to go to the pub, or learn to drive...

I think schools shouls expand children like yours sideways - music, languages - there is loads of wtuff to learn. I think it's lazy teaching to suggest skipping a year.

Although they might learn not to use the word "think" 3 times in two sentences.....

MotherPanda Wed 22-Jun-11 18:10:29

No.. most unis would want you to be 18, apart from a select few who would consider others (like the 12 year olds who get masters degrees at oxford etc).

shellye Wed 22-Jun-11 18:26:09

If its a prep school they should have extension groups available for certain subjects but still stay in their year group for some things like sport and music etc. Thats what my DD does at her school. Would not encourage her to join year up. In many ways she is not mature enough.

hockeyforjockeys Wed 22-Jun-11 18:26:26

I was jumped up a year when I was at prep school, and I would seriously wouldn't recommend it. Academically I was ahead of my peers, but socially I wasn't (even though I was quite mature, I just wasn't very good at making friends) and it meant that the thing I struggled with got even worse and screwed me up for years. My parents financial situation then changed and I had to go to state school - where there is almost no option of doing this. Having to repeat a year was fairly soul destroying. Yes I was academically able, but they could of easily got around this by appropriate differentiation and challenging me in areas that I wasn't so good in. Personally I think it's just laziness on the part of the school.

As for being younger when you finish school, this again happened to me as we moved to Scotland and I ended up finishing when I had only recently turned 17 (which is usual for the youngest in each cohort). I did a gap year, but everybody I met had had that one more year of life experience (e.g. driving, going to the pub) and I still felt like the silly baby. Uni was fine though as I had caught up by then. One problem it did cause at school though was that I couldn't go on work experience with everyone else as I was to young (I seem to remember it was an insurance/liability issue).

BusterGut Wed 22-Jun-11 18:30:21

Can't the teacher differentiate the work? I take it it's a very small class.

I think it's unfair to wrench children from their friends, particularly on the basis of academic achievement in Y1. Children develop at different speeds, and many bright children in Y1 average out by Y4.

veritythebrave Wed 22-Jun-11 18:40:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Discoveringnewchoices Wed 22-Jun-11 18:41:04

Thanks for all the opinions.

The differentiation is fine to a certain degree, but where its small class he's working on his own, whereas if he went up a year group he'd be doing the same work as the top set, so wouldn't feel different.

He's a lot older than his years, and has the maturity of a child 2 to 3 years older. Even teachers having him in clubs at the school, have been surprised when realising he's not in year 3. He's a popular kid, and where it's a small school he knows everyone and everyone knows him, and he has friends in all age groups.

I'm just unsure whether to move him up when everyone is new in prep, or once he has the hang of prep.

Teacherwith2kids your comment on this aspect is very interesting.

teacherwith2kids Wed 22-Jun-11 18:48:43

It probably makes less difference if it is an 'all through' school where few children join at the beginning of each new stage.

For the son of a friend, who jumped the last year of primary and went straight to secondary, nobody really ever knew that he had skipped a year because he just arrived new with everyone else. They do notice that he does 6th form maths from videos of the A-level teacher while in Year 8, though....

bessie26 Wed 22-Jun-11 18:54:54

I started school a year early as mum had taught me to read/write (she says I refused to sleep, so she had to do something with me!)

Although i was a year ahead, i still found the school work easy (although I came last in all sports). Unfortunately, because the teachers were busy with the less able children in the class I was left to fend for myself to some extent (for example, when I finished the reading scheme I was told to go find something to read in the library & when I finished the maths books I was told to do the questions again)

When I was in the final year of primary school it was decided that I couldn't go up to high school and had to repeat the year. I lost all my friends as they went up to the high school & didn't want to be seen with anyone at primary school. The children in the year I joined thought it was funny that I was so stupid I had to repeat the year.

I've made myself quite sad remembering that sad.

I'm not sure what my point is really, just wanted to share my experience... I'm sure things have changed now (this was 30+ years ago!) but if he does go up a year, make sure they are giving him enough attention & appropriate work to do.

leothelioness Wed 22-Jun-11 18:59:27

I skipped a year (many moons ago) so went from yr 2 to yr 4 and I have to agree with hockey that for me it was not the right thing I was one of the youngest children (being august born anyway) and skipping a mear made me almost 2 years younger than some of the kids after I skipped a year. I was bright but not socially able to cope well with the difference. Even though I eventually caught up I wish my parents had left me where I was, I would think very carefully about you child social development and friendships as well as the academic side of things when making a decision.

whomovedmychocolate Wed 22-Jun-11 19:08:26

I skipped two years <old gimmer emoticon> and hung around at the end of school too young to go to uni. I taught the other kids maths hmm

Universities are v reluctant to take kids under 18 because of insurance and funding - which is generally not available to under 18s IIRC. I did some work with gifted youngsters a few years back and we had to apply to the DFeS and get special funding for them to go to Stanford because they couldn't be placed here hmm

exexpat Wed 22-Jun-11 19:11:41

If you're planning on keeping him at that school (or another independent) for the rest of his school career, then one of the main reasons against skipping a year doesn't matter (problems with not being allowed to go up to secondary a year early). If he's mature for his age as well as bright, and wouldn't look out of place size-wise in the class he'd be going into, then I don't think it's a big issue. I'd also say move him straight into the first year of prep, since it's a transition point anyway.

I was moved up a year shortly after moving to a private school at age eight. I stayed a year ahead all the way through, though I moved to a different independent for the sixth form. Did o-levels at 15, A-levels at 17, took a year off before going to Cambridge - I wanted to anyway, but I think the college were also recommending it.

I didn't have any problem with the social issues a lot of people talk about - I was 5-17 months younger than everyone in my year, but tall and mature for my age, so no one really noticed. Yes, a lot of my friends in the sixth form learnt to drive before I could, but most of us were too busy concentrating on exams.

Pubs served anyone in those days so I was buying rounds at 15; but these days, most sixth-formers wouldn't be able to get served either - and the 20-25 per cent of the people in the 'correct' year but with summer birthdays couldn't legitimately do 18+ stuff till after leaving school anyway, so you're not alone if you've been moved up a year. My biggest complaint was that when I did the same summer job as a few of my friends after we had done our A-levels, I got paid less than them as I was under 18. Not really a biggie.

Really, I think doing whatever it takes to keep a child interested and challenged for ten years of his school career is rather more important than whether he will feel left out of a few pub crawls in the upper sixth....

notcitrus Wed 22-Jun-11 19:14:18

I was skipped a year (mid-year of y1 into y2). It was fine in primary except for when I moved for the last year of primary to an expat school - so I was 9/10 and most of the other kids were 11-13, having moved a lot. Total disaster seeing as I was obviously way ahead academically.

After that I was at boarding school with lots of kids who were from more sheltered backgrounds and so despite the wide mix of ages (just 17 to just 21 when we left), I again had no problem. And then had a gap year before uni - which was vital. A couple friends went to Cambridge age 15/16 (boys) and both couldn't cope, and I think they don't let under-17s in any more.

So I was OK and it spared me the tedium of being in classes where most kids couldn't read, but I don't think there was much point overall. And the age difference matters more age 11 or 12.

BusterGut Wed 22-Jun-11 19:20:09

But how ahead is he? If he's moved up, then he will be under pressure to sustain his position, at a time when children develop at very different rates.

Discoveringnewchoices Wed 22-Jun-11 19:22:20

Size wise he's the size of the current year 4s.

He already plays on the school sports team for the current year 2 and year 3.

It has been joked to me by friends before, whether I have got his DOB wrong, because he's not your average 6 year old in any regard.

Discoveringnewchoices Wed 22-Jun-11 19:25:55

Class of 14 - 10 are doing year 1 work, 3 are doing year 2 work, he is doing year 3 work.

The year above are a class of 15 - majority are doing year 2 work, small group are doing year 3 work, he'll be joining the small group.

This is for all subjects.

He's musically talented, and already performs in the year 2 and year 3 concerts.

LAlady Wed 22-Jun-11 19:31:43

My DS is a year "ahead" in his prep school and is moving up to Grammar school a year early in September.

Very happy for you to message me directly if you want to discuss further.

magicmummy1 Wed 22-Jun-11 20:04:23

We were faced with a similar decision last year when dd finished reception (state primary). We said no, and don't regret it!

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