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Skipping a year at primary: is it really so bad? Is it worse than NOT skipping?

(145 Posts)
Arkadia Sun 05-Feb-17 17:32:43

Hi all,

I have been reviewing some threads, here and elsewhere, on the above subject and the opinion seems to be generally negative. However I cannot see why doing otherwise, i.e. NOT skipping a year, would be better.

In a nutshell, DD is currently in a composite 1-2 class. She was put in that class on the advice of the nursery because they felt she needed extra challenges to keep her interested. At nursery she was singularly unengaged and she failed to make any meaningful connection with either children or staff (not that she was unhappy at the idea of going, buy just uninterested).
We were a bit apprehensive at the idea of starting school because, although she seemed OK academically, she was rather withdrawn from an emotional point of view. However, after talking to the headteacher we went for the composite class and waited - note, in our case going for the composite class was against school policy because it is usually reserved for older P1s and younger P2s, but DD is a younger P1 being born at the end of October (we are in Scotland), so the headteacher made an exception.

I am happy to say that DD is much happier in the school environment and she is actually much more engaged both with the teachers and the pupils. So far so good smile
Interestingly, AFAIK she has bonded only with the P2s in her class. The P1s are much more in the background in what she tells us.
Work wise she has been doing both the P1 and he P2 work and (for what it is worth), I would expect her to be top of the P2 in the 3 Rs.

Now, next year I think it would be best of her to go to the P2-3 composite class, but that is the last one on offer. At this moment in time, to go to a P2 would be like repeating a year and it seems meaningless to me. If she goes to the P2-3 she will stay with her friends and the year after she can go straight to P4, again, with most of her friends - note that at our school they sometime mix the pupils from one year to the next.

I have read all the objections stated in other threads which in a nutshell say that problems may arise in the future when the child grows up (puberty, starting to drive, being unable to be out till late, etc.). However, I wonder, is it worth worrying about something that may or may not happen when the alternative now is certainly not great? To have her repeat a year now would cut her off from the environment she has known at school and she would have to redo the work she has already done with ease (I doubt the teacher would be able/willing to set a different workload for her); I am bored only thinking about it... smile

OK, she may still need to sprint further ahead academically (at home she is doing what her P3 sister is doing anyway...), but let's think about one thing a time.

Any ideas?

Lucked Sun 05-Feb-17 17:44:15

I assume you are in Scotland?

Skipping a year was not uncommon when I was at school, there were two girls in my year who had skipped years. Both did well but not outstanding at highers - they could not compete with the exceptionally bright girls in the correct year group.

One girl struggled massively at University just too immature plus couldn't socialise as under age.

Completely anecdotal so take this with a pinch of salt.

irvineoneohone Sun 05-Feb-17 17:50:07

I think it's ok for child to go up a year or two if the school system allows the child to carry on. Otherwise, you would end up repeating year somewhere.

savagehk Sun 05-Feb-17 17:53:53

Sounds like she's emotionally advanced too if she's socialising with the older kids. You're not going to know if it's an issue when she hits puberty till she gets there. I'd be tempted to skip the year.

RueDeDay Sun 05-Feb-17 17:57:47

I skipped a year when I was around 6. Academically, it was never a problem. Socially, I was nearly 18 months younger than most of my classmates and that became obvious (and problematic) aged about 10. I would never do it to one of my kids. If they are bright, I'd like them to be extended within their year group.

celtiethree Sun 05-Feb-17 18:07:10

Moving into the P2 class wouldn't be repeating the year, it shd be completely different from the P1/P2 composite. Otherwise all the other P1s would be repeating at some point. I can't understand why the school even suggested why a young P1 shd go into the composite class they were always defering addressing your child fitting in with her peer group. If your DC does move to P4 then I think at a future date the age difference will be really noticeable, many parents in Scotland defer Jan/Feb birthdays and increasingly Nov/Dec birthdays are being deferred. Your setting your child up to be up to 2 years younger than children in her class. This will be a problem in High School.

celtiethree Sun 05-Feb-17 18:08:51

That shd have read move into P4 skipping P3.

TheTroubleWithAngels Sun 05-Feb-17 18:21:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mrz Sun 05-Feb-17 18:43:32

*"*^*At nursery she was singularly unengaged and she failed to make any meaningful connection with either children or staff (not that she was unhappy at the idea of going, buy just uninterested).*^*"*

This would concern me.

TheTroubleWithAngels Sun 05-Feb-17 18:47:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kilmuir Sun 05-Feb-17 18:49:14

What Mrz said.

celtiethree Sun 05-Feb-17 19:10:47

Plus your DC would then be 15 after S5 and 16 after S6. Would you want your 16 year old to go to college/university then?? A young in year student normally has the luxury of S6 to mature a bit more before uni. I have a Feb birthday DC and am relived that S6 will be an option do that they will be at least 17 before they leave school.

DanyellasDonkey Sun 05-Feb-17 19:19:10

We've never had a child who skipped a year. I've heard of some parents saying their child is being"kept back" as they went from a P1 into a P1/2 the following year.

(I doubt the teacher would be able/willing to set a different workload for her); I am bored only thinking about it They wouldn't be much of a teacher if they worked like that. In a class of 30 of the same age, there may be children working at many levels - teachers don't just give the same work out to all the pupils shock like they did when I was at school

Quartz2208 Sun 05-Feb-17 19:21:15

when is her birthday. If you are in Scotland a March/April birthday is less of an issue (September/October for England) then if she is born later in the school year

My mum was asked by the school if they wanted to do it for me she said no I was an August birth anyway and she felt I would miss out socially and struggle emotionally. And she was right I would have done it was completely the right decision I had friends and enjoyed school college and University

My Dad went forward a year when he started secondary school but he then did three years of sixth form so did 3 a levels the first year, 2 the second. It was common for it to happen and around 5 of his classmates did it so he was not alone

My SIL did it and stayed doing it - she then ended up going to Uni at 17 and dropping out, she was not able to live on site and had to go to a flat share and found it difficult to socialise etc.

Its the social and emotional side that is the issue, making friends - as she gets older it will become more apparent

MinisWin Sun 05-Feb-17 19:34:13

Only personal experience, but I myself skipped P2 in almost exactly the situation of your DD, except it was a tiny school with P1-3 all in one room, so the lines were fairly blurred anyway. I was also similarly 'young' for my year. Academically it did me no harm whatsoever, I always kept up and did well in all exams, and went on to do a very academic degree. Socially however I would agree that things could start to potentially go 'wrong' especially as they get older - everyone becomes more aware of their differences, and kids get crueller coming towards the teenage years! As it was, I fared ok; it helped that I was also sporty and fairly outgoing, but I did have a massive chip on my shoulder about being the youngest for a long time. I also had to find something to do to fill the gap between the end of S6 and starting uni - there was no way on earth I would have gone at 16! (I won't say what as it's entirely identifying!)

Ta1kinPeace Sun 05-Feb-17 20:35:08

English state schools - v unlikely

it was done to me at Private school
I'd not wish it on my worst enemy

being 16 when classmates were 18 was just shit
physically
emotionally
socially

never, never, never

StewieGMum Sun 05-Feb-17 20:48:43

The idea that teachers do not differentiate work for children of varying abilities is, quite frankly, nincompoopery. Any adult, paying even a modicum of attention, should recognise that every single class has children of different abilities. You can see it in reading groups and math classes but it occurs in all lessons.The type of work expected for each child is different. Because all children are different. They also learn at very different rates: a very bright P1 can become an average student from P3 upwards. Sometimes a child who has struggled in infants will find their groove in P5. In P1, kids are learning the ropes.

TBH, I'd be requiring how a nursery had a child for 2 years and didn't help her develop relationships or work to find her activities she enjoyed and that stretched her.

StewieGMum Sun 05-Feb-17 20:49:14

(Inquiring - must remember to hit preview)

KavvLar Sun 05-Feb-17 20:55:29

I skipped a year at primary school. Went from what is now Year 3 straight up to Year 5. I didn't have any problems social or otherwise, but I had been one of the older ones in my class (October baby) so the difference wasn't too great. I went straight on through the school system without repeating a year, passed the 11+ and went on to grammar school where I held my own. Doesn't have to be a bad thing.

irvineoneohone Sun 05-Feb-17 20:57:19

About teacher should be able to differentiate work...yes, totally true.
But in reality, it doesn't happen in a lot of cases. Otherwise, there would be no disappointed parents' post on G&T board.
I do really wish we live in the ideal world where everything "should be" happen in real life.

Arkadia Sun 05-Feb-17 22:07:55

I shall try to reply to a few folks (but if I skip you, do not take it personally :D)
Also, apologies if I just ramble on... it is difficult to be coherent with so many people to reply to.

Yes, we are in Scotland and my DD was born late October, soil she did skip she would be between 9 and 20 months younger than the rest of the class.

StewieGMum and mrz: the nursery told me repeatedly that my DD wasn't really doing a great deal at nursery. She would work on her own, but she had no interest in interacting with the other children. She could spend a whole day on her own without exchanging a word. If the ladies told her what to do, they she would comply, but if left to her own devices, she would find the whole thing somehow not worth the bother. We even thought of deferring her a year (she is late October), but we were advised against it.

DanyellasDonkey, celtiethree and others: there are so many Biff and Chip books you can read, you can revise the 2 times table only so many times and you can introduce take-aways only in so many different ways. Since we already have gone through all this stuff, what is left to do in P2? OK, you say that she will be given a personalized path, but wouldn't just defeat the purpose of integration and being with your peers? Let's say, for argument's sake, that this time next year in DD's P2 class they are reading through ORT level 6 Owls (we have old books, so bear with me), and DD reads the Jackdaws (which is what her sister is reading now). Say the class is dealing with doubles and starting with take-aways, while she is dealing with, say, long divisions. Say the class is going through the first 2-300 Fry words while she has pretty much done the lot, then what is left to do?
Besides, the little I know about my school (and I can assure you, I have tried to find out...), it doesn't look as if there are THAT many different paths. Generally speaking (and after talking to parents from other schools) there are provisions if, for whatever reason you are behind, but not if you are ahead.
Indeed what the future holds we know not and it is true indeed that she may slow down in the next few years.

Of all the points made, I think the more relevant is what happens age 16... Assuming she is not asked to repeat a year, which I think is unlikely, and assuming she does want to go to University, what would she do? AFAIK it is not unheard of to go to University aged 16-17 in Scotland, but I don't know enough about it to be sure. Would it be a good idea/advisable? I don't know, and actually I have not given it much thought up until now.

TheTroubleWithAngels: but if she stayed in P2 she would lose all the P2 friends she has made this year. If instead she carried on as if she was P2 she would go to secondary school with the same lot of people. (assuming she doesn't have to lose a year which I do not believe to be the case). In Scotland they have 7 years of Primary School, so a child should go to secondary at 12, in her case she would be about 11. It seems to me that University would be a bigger concern, but it is sooooo faaaar awayyyy, that I find it difficult to even conceptualize it ;)

Isadora2007 Sun 05-Feb-17 22:20:15

Honestly. As a January birthday (Scotland too) I was 11 when I started high school as well and I was lucky as I was an early developer. But it was still crap enough being 16/17 in sixth year instead of 17/18 like many of my peers were. Your daughter would not even be 11 on starting secondary. That is so much younger and less mature physically as well as emotionally. You're setting her up to fail or to be very disadvantaged socially in my opinion. And it WILL matter a lot by high school. It is just causing difficulty for her for what? She will be far more able to blend in to her year moving into p2 and given the appropriate social help to mix with her peers she will probably not even remember the other friend she by this time next year.
I'd also be asking if any high school would even take a ten year old as I doubt they legally can... so you'd then be setting her up to be ahead til p7 then left behind.
If you think she is gifted/talented in her academic ability then by all means seek help to have those needs met. I have a bright child and she isn't doing long division in p3 even... so why you're expecting her to be doing that soon is making me wonder if she is G and T? In which case even more important she is supported to have socially appropriate interactions with her peers and supported in being pushed in areas she finds less "easy"...

Isadora2007 Sun 05-Feb-17 22:23:07

Dd is 16 and says no way would she think it wasn't weird someone in her year was over a year younger than her (she is a June birthday) or 18 months younger than her friend who is a March Birthday (so is about to turn 17 in 5th year) when your daughter would be 15 still and not even 16 until October in 5th year. There is a huge difference in maturity and emotional development every year between 11-19 in my opinion.

Bloopbleep Sun 05-Feb-17 22:30:02

We decided against skipping p1 after nursery for social reasons. Dd got additional support for advanced kids and we did more challenging reading at home. For me the social aspect is more important. Dd does get on well with older kids but I didn't want to take the risk of her being left out like I was. A good school and teacher will tailor your dd's work to here ability and it may be she does p3 level work in p2. My dd is now p3 and does p4 work alongside her p3 peers. My only bugbear is that she's often made to sit next to less bright kids to help them which is an issue I wait to raise with the school as she doesn't like constantly being stopped and asked how to do something.

TheTroubleWithAngels Sun 05-Feb-17 22:32:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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