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Skipping a school year- how hard would it be?

(28 Posts)
Willow108 Thu 10-Mar-16 21:59:53

I'm looking for any advice or experience people can offer.

We moved out of the UK a few years ago and it is likely that we will be moving back in the next one to two years. The problem is that my DD started school a year later than she would have if we had stayed in the UK. She is now out of sync with the UK education system and I have been advised that if we move back, she will have to go into the appropriate year for her age, regardless of how many years she has completed.

Does anyone have any advice about this? Is there an easier stage of school for her to make this transition? Has anyone else done this with their child and how did it go? Is there anything we could do in the lead-up to moving back to prepare her? She is currently 6 years of age.

Rodent01 Thu 10-Mar-16 22:05:07

there is no easy time, but once you know you are coming back, get in contact with the school you choose and ask for some tips and work. 6/7 weeks of summer holiday, 2 hours a day and you will give her a boost.

AChickenCalledKorma Thu 10-Mar-16 22:09:36

I haven't done it myself, but my good friend moved back from Oz with her 6 year old who went straight into year 2, having never been to anything but kindergarten. She did have a lot of catching up to do, but school have worked with her and she's pretty much up to age expectations now, a couple of years later. There is a huge ability range within the year group anyway, and I don't think she particularly stood out.

StandoutMop Thu 10-Mar-16 22:12:52

Not quite same but I have a friend who moved to UK from NZ. They start school older, and school year runs jan-dec, so her Feb and June born DC were old and mid-year group in NZ. Here they are a year up and mid / young in the year group. They moved into Y3 & 4 and have coped OK.

I would say anytime in primary is OK, much better than secondary. You could get UK curriculum info etc and see where your dad is, but I'd wait till you are here and agree plan with school as to how best to help if I were you.

ThatAnneGirl Thu 10-Mar-16 22:14:43

We've just done this. My girls are behind, there is no doubt about it. Even though my dd was supposed to be 18 months ahead in her old school. I knew it was going to be the case though.

The other problem is that they never done any British history or geography. They'd never had an RE lesson.

Willow108 Thu 10-Mar-16 22:51:43

Thank you all for your replies. It seems that this is going to be a big challenge whatever way I look at it. DD is currently one of the older in her year and she will end up being younger and behind in terms of the work. She has not done British history, geography or RE ThatAnneGirl and that is another thing I hadn't thought of. The whole thing is such a dilemma. The school she is in now is fantastic and she is doing well, there seems to be no way around the huge disruption this will cause. I had thought maybe closer to starting secondary would be a less disruptive time to move as its a whole new curriculum and type of schooling but I'm not sure what people think? If anyone has any other experiences or views I would love to hear them!

Inkymess Thu 10-Mar-16 23:08:12

I would have thought the earlier the better so she enters high school at appropriate levels of maths and English etc. I'd be less concerned about other subjects. I'd hate my bright DC to be put in low sets and be behind on starting high school

ThatAnneGirl Thu 10-Mar-16 23:31:29

My oldest went straight in to high school. She's in the top set for everything at the moment because she had such a good report from her last school. We haven't had parents ever yet.

She's absolutely loving high school. She couldn't be happier despite me being terrified she would be like a fish out of water.

At parents evening for my youngest, her teacher was agog at how behind the year three class my dd was in compared to the year three/four class he has. He says there are so many things dd hasn't done but that she's making really quick progress.

Gobbolino6 Fri 11-Mar-16 07:32:48

I think at this age you could easily make up most of the ground with say 30m at home daily in the run up to the move. Can your DD read and write? That's easy enough to do at home. Sign up to a primary maths website.
In Y1 mine have only learned the very basics of UK history and most geography has been about other countries anyway.

gingerdad Fri 11-Mar-16 07:34:42

Friends moved back from Canada. And due to exams went into y9 rather than y10 that she should have.

uhoh1973 Fri 11-Mar-16 09:46:05

This should be no problem. Just do some extra work over the 6 months beforehand (you can find plenty of resources e.g. BBCbitesize, on the web). I started school a year early and when I was 6 turning 7 joined a class of people 7 turning 8. My Mum had helped me at home with work books prior to the move. The best thing is to sell it to your child as something new and exciting, don't sew any seeds of doubt!

RueDeWakening Fri 11-Mar-16 20:37:11

Someone I know moved countries (not from/to the UK though). She removed both her children from school for their last 6 months and home schooled them, with particular attention to new curriculum areas and stuff they hadn't covered but would be expected to know (they were also swapping language, the younger one had never been taught in English before although she is/was British).

orangeyellowgreen Fri 11-Mar-16 21:12:56

As Forces children my siblings and I changed countries and schools between six and ten times. We all ended up at university. Children soon catch up and learn another language. Nobody ever suggested it was bad for us.

CrushedVelvet Sat 12-Mar-16 22:50:24

I'd say primary school would be easier than secondary for the transition. DS (8) has done hardly any history, geography or RE so far - it's mostly reading, writing and maths at the early stages. She'll probably be fine though; kids are amazingly adaptable. I moved schools/countries aged 8 and 14 without major issues. Had to do some remedial work at home (old country did joined-up writing later than new one) and had hardly a clue about the second language the new country started at age 6, but caught up after a few months. Losing/remaking friends felt easier aged 8 than 14. Try to present it to her as a great adventure, not a matter for anxiety.

LIZS Sat 12-Mar-16 22:59:33

If she's only 6 I wouldn't worry too much about history, geography etc. ds effectively missed year 2 and the fundamentals weren't particularly well drilled at his IS. His return for year 3 was tricky but as he could at least read and write in English he managed. It took a few years to really hit his stride, especially with a SpLD thrown in. You can always supplement the other subjects either using online resources such as Woodlands or via books like Usborne, and do visits to castles etc when visiting the UK.

whatsitallabout1 Sun 13-Mar-16 06:48:57

There is a child at my dc's school who was in the same situation but a few years older. She should have gone into year 6 but was allowed to go in to year 5. If you find a headteacher willing to make a couple of phone calls this may be possible, it would only really be likely however if her educational standard was a fair way below that expected of her actual school year. I would have thought that the younger she is the easier it would be to make up any differences. If you end up returning when she is getting closer to National Tests in year 6 you may find schools more amenable to allowing her to stay back.

bedheadrestless Sun 13-Mar-16 07:12:06

Kids are able to cope and even do well. Just don't make the transition into a big deal. My sister was year five and she joined year eight in the UK. She barely had any English. She graduated with excellent grades and now has a masters from a RG university. What we did that worked was to act all very normal, tell her kids her age went to year eight in the UK and that's that. She was in top set for everything.

DesertOrDessert Sun 13-Mar-16 07:31:12

Don't worry too much about the geography /History /RE.
I would keep an eye on the UK expectations for her UK school year (I'm guessing if 6 now, and would be one of the youngest, she would be UK Y2, going into Y3 in Sept, after a 7th Birthday?). IME, there will be a big difference ATM, but it will shrink over the next year or 2.
And try to keep up with Reading, a writing and Maths.

Vietnammark Sun 13-Mar-16 10:01:58

I am not saying this is easy, but it is certainly very doable for very many kids. My son moved from an American kindergarten, where most of the kids were non native English speakers (in fact his dominant language was not English until about 2.5 yrs old), straight in to year 2 in a good indie.

18 months later he is in the top maths set (only just moved up), one of the best readers, but his writing is still lacking and is probably one of the worst in the class. As others have said, just focus on reading, writing and maths. No need to sweat any of the other stuff.

Good luck!

Bounced Sun 13-Mar-16 10:21:38

My experience of a state primary is that they do a lot of topic work which covers geography and history, but that it's different each half term and so it would be easy enough to slot in and not feel like you need knowledge you don't have. They do RE, but that seems to spiral (ie they did very basic stuff about the main world religions in YR which they've come back to in Y2 in more detail).

But to access all this requires reading and writing, so I'd suggest (as previous posters have done) that you focus on on that, plus the building blocks of maths like number bonds and some times tables.

exexpat Sun 13-Mar-16 10:38:00

At primary age I would not expect it to be a major problem. Many children arrive in the UK speaking no English and having come from very different education systems, and manage to settle in and do well in British schools.

DS was born abroad, and started school a year later than he would have done in the UK. We moved back when he was eight, and he went into the 'correct' British school year. He is an August baby, so was one of the youngest as well as having had a year less schooling.

Some things he had missed, like learning joined-up handwriting, but there isn't really an issue with not having done the same topics in history or science - it's not like having missed part of the GCSE syllabus.

I think if you make sure that she has secure grounding in reading, writing and maths (maybe get some UK-published workbooks to see what is expected at her age) then she should be fine.

Trollicking Sun 13-Mar-16 10:49:33

We were expats and have had similar situations with our four DC. I think that as long as your DC are not struggling (i.e. SEN etc) then it doesn't make much difference. Especially when they are so young. They might be ahead is some things and a behind on others but I don't think it's a problem. I used to worry that they would be behind when they were little as they didn't start school until much later than the UK but there been fine.

There were always the odd funny thing such as getting used to different terms (eg spacebags are pencil cases in Siuth Africa etc )

I think it's best if they end up in their correct year when they are older even if they are behind or ahead.

We moved countries (continents) several times and ended up in the UK when the DC were 16, 14,13 and 11 - they went to local private schools when they were abroad rather than expat schools. I know there is an element of luck involved but it didn't cause any problems.

ThatAnneGirl Sun 13-Mar-16 15:29:46

Yes it was my oldest dd (11) that I was worrying about the history etc. with. It just hadn't crossed my mind that she wouldn't have a clue until we were doing a tour of the school and they were saying 'we are doing the Tudors at the moment'. I just had t thought about it.

Willow108 Sun 13-Mar-16 18:38:56

Thank you so much for all taking the time to reply. It is wonderful to get so many different perspectives on this and that most of it is actually very reassuring. Mumsnet is just brilliant! I guess on reflection she is very young still at 6, I guess the gap seems quite wide right now as she is literally just learning to read and write. I am aware that had she started school in England she would be in her second year now and presumably much more advanced in reading and writing. I could work on these more and will look more closely at the UK curriculum and where she "should" be at this stage. Thank you all so much again for taking the time to post, this is a massive step for us and I don't want to make things harder for her with school. For those of you that have made this move, how did your children cope with leaving friends behind and making new ones?

bojorojo Sun 13-Mar-16 21:46:55

Make sure you look at the new curriculum, not the old one! It is harder now.

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