Repeating year 6(17 Posts)
DS is 10 and at a selective private school. He is very happy at the school. However his exam grades are not great. Let me be clear that being top of the class is not important to me - I just want him to be happy (and to do as well as he can). However the school's ethos has changed and the focus is on exam grades. I should make it clear that whilst he is a bright boy he is never going to be the school swot and I think there are 3 issues. 1) His exam technique is awful. He rushes through papers and never checks his answers. As a result he gets on average 5 or 6 easy questions wrong. 2) He has fallen out of love with reading and I think this has had an impact re reading and understanding some of the questions. We are addressing this and he has started to read again. 3) He was premature and born late August. Most of his class mates have birthdays falling between Sep and Nov - it is very clear DS looks and acts much younger than them. Anyway with a bit of support from home and school things are improving. Anyway I raised the possibility of DS repeating a year if there is no real improvement and the school are receptive. I really want to know if anyone has been through this with their DC and was it a positive experience.
I don't have direct experience so feel free to ignore but I have kids the same age and I just can't see how this could be a good idea? He's happy - well surely that would be severely affected by very visibly going down a year? I know that would have wiped my ds's confidence out.
And repeating the year might not have the desired effect on his results anyway?
Is it a school he'd stay at through to 18? so he'd spend the next 7 years in a different class from all his current friends?
Thanks. I am concerned about the social aspect. The junior and senior schools are seperate. So he would in theory form new bonds with his new year 6 friends. Then move to the senior school with them a year later. I
It would commit you to staying with that school whatever happened as it would be hard to negotiate it elsewhere. Lots of boys are similar at that age. What support are the school offering to keep him within his peer group.
The school have been helpful..eg reading support and help with exam questions. Oh it is a dilemma.
Doesn't staying behind his peers break his confidence completely, especially if it's a selective school with lots of bright children?
I went to school in US for few years when I was a child. Back then, some children were held back a year if they weren't doing great at my school. I knew 2 children who had to repeat a year, but it didn't look like a positive experience.
Doesn't that just mean they'll get an extra years fees so will be win win for them?
I may be being dim here but if you are in the UK, you cannot repeat a year no matter how much a child is struggling. Perhaps private is different or you are another country, you haven't made it clear.
The Education Endowment Foundation research finds no benefit in repeating a year- more info here.
our dc is repeating yr 6 - but in a new school - so yes it does happen, but mostly in the private sector.
we made the decision as dc had become very behind in reading & maths and needed time to catch up.
the difference in our situation was that dc left their (state) school with their classmates to go off to (private) high school - but began the new school in yr 6 rather than the expected yr 7. that way it made no difference to friendships, self esteem etc, and dc will now progress through the school with peers made now in yr 6 class
there are several children in the class doing the same thing we have discovered so the class is actually made up of a 2 yr age range - and the school is proud of its - stage not age - opportunity it provides.
Personally I would look at transferring him to another school.
Although it is sometimes possible to repeat a year the only children that I know have done so either have quite severe learning difficulties so that they are much more than 2 years behind their peers, have moved into the UK from abroad and need time to catch up with their English, have missed a large amount of school through long term illness or have been through a severe trauma in their life. None of these seem to be really applicable to your son.
What you describe in terms of rushing things and losing interest in reading are fairly typical of 10 year old boys in general and wouldn't really merit repeating a year.
The effect of prematurity on schooling is less clear but the effect is greater for children who are extremely premature (30 weeks and under) rather than just a few weeks see link [http://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/impact-premature-birth-maths-achievement-and-schooling]]. The findings of research seem to suggest that having the right support is more crucial with pre-term children.
For my premature child (27 weeks) the effect was very significant at pre-school and reception, but very little difference with the average performance for their peer group by the age of 10; but my child wasn't at a selective school and doesn't have an August birthday.
The link didn't quite work as intended so here it is www.nuffieldfoundation.org/impact-premature-birth-maths-achievement-and-schooling.
I would move schools. This one sounds useless.
I think you sometimes have to take a step back when you have children at selective schools and realise that they are in a class where every child is very bright. Asa result the competition is immense and children who might otherwise be towards the top in a non selective school will be sitting at the bottom in a selective school.
Against his true peers (i.e. all children) he is probably doing very well.
I wouldn't hold him back a year. It will be damaging to is confidence and unless he'll be changing schools entirely for year 7 then the amount of crap and teasing he'll get from the other children is likely to be fairly significant.
At DS school, I am aware of several children that have repeated a year, usually slightly younger than Y6 (R through Y3 typically), including one who is now in his year. There is no teasing or bullying. The kids just accept it and get on with their own day.
They also have kids that skip a year due to extreme academic giftedness. This is more problematic as the child is not necessarily emotionally ready.
This is in the UK independent sector, so it is certainly possible if you decide this is the best course of action for your DS (who sounds very similar to mine, except mine is a Sept baby and has no prematurity excuse for his lackadaisical approach to exams, prep etc, but that is an entire thread on its own).
OP prematurity in itself may not be the reason for his approach to exams and reading. As the PP has suggested this may be more linked to his personality type rather than anything else.
Yes there is a risk (that increases depending on how premature your ds actually was) that premature children have learning or other difficulties that may affect them at school. But a good school (both state or private) would have assessed any child (whether premature or not) who wasn't achieving in line with age-related expectations by now to try to help support your child and identify any condition that may exist.
The fact that the school hasn't done so, suggests to me that this isn't the right school for your child. This may not be what you want to hear but through secondary school, exam pressures get much worse as GCSEs approach and this may be an early indication that this school isn't the best option for your ds.
My DD went to a very good boarding prep school where lots of girls won scholarships to top senior schools and quite often the August birthdays were in the year below. No-one cared one hoot. In DDs senior school, the Chinese girls were often a year below where they should have been, mainly because their English was not so strong. No-one cared much about that either. Private schools can do as they wish.
It is up to each individual school regarding summer born policy, but I am surprised you did not ask for this earlier. Lots of people keep their children in Early Years for another year and then go through the school a year below. It is an advantage of going private. If the school agrees you can repeat Y6, but would it not harm his self-esteem? He will have to understand exam technique at some point but repeating everything will seem very boring-surely? Also, if he is going to state school at 12, he will go into Y8. A private school will probably be happy with Y7.
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