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Can daughter skip a year ahead?

(55 Posts)
hkmama88 Sat 25-Nov-17 04:05:55

Hello - we are moving from Hong Kong to the UK (Croydon) next month. My daughter's birthday is Sep 18 2011 which means she would technically be in Year 1 in the UK, but in HK her school has a Dec 31 cutoff, which means here she is in Year 2, has been in school since she was 2 and is already reading and writing like her other Year 2 classmates. She isn't gifted, just working at the standards of her current situation/school.

We are concerned that she will be bored going back to what looks like mostly phonics and foundation for reading work in Year 1 and that will make the transition from HK to UK even harder for her. Socially, she is mature, loves school and is fine being the youngest in class (she is one of the youngest now). Basically we know that Year 2 is the right fit for her. Is there any hope for State schools agreeing to put her ahead? I've asked them about the best way to make our case but they haven't responded.

Has anyone been in this situation?

Any help/advice appreciated! Thank you!

Movablefeast Sat 25-Nov-17 04:28:20

All the children I have known who were put ahead for academic reasons struggled socially and emotionally from puberty onwards. There is more to life than rabid competition.

SandLand Sat 25-Nov-17 04:38:56

Year 1 is the second formal year of schooling in the UK. Most kids have the basics of reading, writing and maths. The UK heavily differentiates work. So in Y1 (last year for DS2) after the weekend, they all had to write what they had done over over weekend. Some could write "I went swiming" some would write a page about what they had been up to. Reading again will be differentatiated and she will be reading books at the appropriate level. Again, there will be a massive range in the class.

It is rare to place kids permanently above their age range in the UK state system. Even if you secure a shift for primary, there is no guarantee that it will be honoured when you move to secondary.

If you are on Facebook, a group such as "two fat Expats" or "Expats on the move" may be able yo give you more accurate info on the correlation between UK and HK schooling equivalents. But, imo, I wouldn't worry too much, and let her join the class school put her in.

Norestformrz Sat 25-Nov-17 05:08:49

Have you looked at the UK curriculum? Most reception children in England will be reading and writing before they move into Y1.
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-english-programmes-of-study/national-curriculum-in-england-english-programmes-of-study#key-stage-1---year-1

kirsty75005 Sat 25-Nov-17 05:13:31

What Moveablefeast said. I've had to deal with a couple of cases where academically gifted children who were put ahead fell apart mentally in their teenage years. It wasn't the only factor, but it did contribute.

Putting them ahead when they're little is also taking a gamble on them still being intellectually ahead of their years when they're doing GCSEs/A levels, and you have no guarantee of that, and it also means that they will be taking important decisions about their future (which A levels, which university course) one year younger and one year less mature.

RavingRoo Sat 25-Nov-17 05:15:07

Kids from Asian countries can get moved up a year but it depends on how great their comprehension of english and total maths are in combination. Asian schools often have form for not focussing as much on comprehension as they do on technical reading and writing (and maths).

shouldwestayorshouldwego Sat 25-Nov-17 05:32:29

She will experience a major upheaval culturally moving to a different school system. Year 2 have the first round of formal exams, which mean that if she has any gaps she (and her teachers) will need to work hard to fill those gaps. Ds was reading Harry Potter in reception and is an able mathematician, however they were happy for him to write lots of fantasy stories as others were writing short factual ones. There is also the factor that it will be easier to integrate into a class who have only been together for one year, not two.

It can be difficult at secondary transition time, secondary schools don't have to accept a child out of year group. She might have to retake yr6, or home educate etc. She will be the last one allowed to watch 12/15 cert dvds at school, drink alcohol, drive, vote etc. If you are looking at a selective secondary she might be at a disadvantage. Despite age adjustment summer born (i.e. younger children) are less likely to pass 11 plus exams.

In a state school I would say it is difficult and not worth it. The only time I would consider it is at a private school, especially if it was an all through to 18 school.

Whyamistillawake Sat 25-Nov-17 05:49:25

OP, I had a son recently in this position (and actually year 2 to year 1 as well); moving between postings rather than back to UK. He was actually well ahead (reading fluently for example) but no issues at all moving him back. He's actually far happier in the year below.

I also moved back a year when I was a bit older (and loving HK to UK). No regrets at all.

Personally, unless you're dealing with a child working four plus years above age group, I'd keep in the 'correct' year. Better to be hitting year group milestones (GCSEs, driving, drinking!) as the oldest not the youngest.

More difficult for kids who are really ahead but even then moving them up is rarely the answer - they just end up top of the next year or so up and possibly struggling socially.

Whyamistillawake Sat 25-Nov-17 06:00:26

I assume the OP's DD is already following the English curriculum. Most British kids in HK would be.

My son actually moved IB to English but I never discovered a massive difference at that age.

claraschu Sat 25-Nov-17 06:06:47

It is absurd to suggest that being 16 days younger than her peers will make someone socially and emotionally immature. If a child is born a few days before or after her due date, she can end up in a different school year because of that small accident of birth. I think a bit more flexibility would be a very good thing.

We do have a lot of people in my family who were put forward a year (mostly in the US but also in the UK) so I have some experience of this...

claraschu Sat 25-Nov-17 06:09:17

I think the reason that kids in the UK might seem maladjusted if they have been moved up is that it is only the extreme outliers who are moved, and these children are likely to struggle socially in any case. In countries where skipping a year is not uncommon, kids in the "wrong" year seem to fit in fine.

Norestformrz Sat 25-Nov-17 06:15:14

*“*^*I assume the OP's DD is already following the English curriculum. Most British kids in HK would be*^*”* it seems from their post they aren’t familiar with expectations or content. Children in Y1 will be reading, comprehending and writing fluently and children in Y2 will be taught Phonics (just as they will in Y3,4,5 and 6).

kirsty75005 Sat 25-Nov-17 06:18:16

@claraschu. I'm in a country where skipping a year used to be common and I don't think they always fit in just fine.

I was an August born premature baby and yes I ended up in a different school year because of that accident of birth and I struggled badly socially. Not the only reason, but it contributed heavily.

LittleCandle Sat 25-Nov-17 06:20:52

If you put your child a year ahead, somewhere along the line in life, they will stop and have a year doing nothing to catch up. It isn't good for a child to be pushed ahead - they need the time to physically and mentally mature, even if they are gifted. So I would go with where your child is placed in the HK school and take it from there. If she is put a year head, I would consider having her repeat the last year of primary school.

Whyamistillawake Sat 25-Nov-17 06:22:34

Well yes but the issue is why have the battle? There's absolutely no advantage to being up a year.

My birthday is 2 September. I was top of my year in HK, I was top of my year in the UK. If I'd been moved up, I'd have (after a bit of catch up time) been top of my year then.

If you're pushed up a year, you're a year younger when you hit all major exams. I can't see how that's in most children's interests!

OP has said her DD is average academically and fairly mature for her age. She'd probably be fine in the year above but it's not something I'd be actively fighting for.

As I said, I went through this, DS has gone through it and in fact my DSis also went through it. No regrets at all from any of us.

PerfumeIsAMessage Sat 25-Nov-17 06:22:53

I skipped a year.
Then had to redo the final year because there were no premises to move up a school. So, at 10 I'm in a class with a bunch of people who have grown up together since they were 5.
As pps have said, UK schools aren't all glittery shit and reading books with no words...

trinity0097 Sat 25-Nov-17 06:27:21

Our year 1 pupils are working at (at least) year 2 Level. We are an independent school.

Are you looking to go for state or private?

Alanna1 Sat 25-Nov-17 06:46:15

Y1 like any year covers a range. My daughter is in Y1 and she is reading and writing very fluently (long chapter books / writing pages of stories). She is off the “oxford reading tree” system which they call “free reader”. Apparently this is unusual for Y1 but she is happy and that is what matters. I think your child will be fine and being oldest in the year is lovely. A good school will give her appropriate work - just as they set my daughter other work to stretch her.

thedangermoose Sat 25-Nov-17 06:48:07

I was moved ahead when moving schools (all in the uk) and it devastated me socially and academically.

thedangermoose Sat 25-Nov-17 06:50:59

Sorry for the brief and abrupt response - this is an issue I have direct experience of so I couldn’t help coming on and blurting that out! I think I skipped year 4 or 5 and they gave me various tests and decided to move me. My birthday is on September 1st. I am going to go and read the whole thread now and add anything else that might be helpful.

thedangermoose Sat 25-Nov-17 07:02:52

I have nothing very helpful to add except that it seems that your situation might be quite different to mine OP. I struggled on many counts; I was very bright and reading well above my age, and very confident with it, but I was then placed in a posh private school (I had previously been in a state school) where I struggled to fit in, was slightly shunned in the beginning, and subsequently withdrew completely and lost all my confidence. My self confidence and self esteem did not return until well after I finished university, and I struggled with eating disorders. I have never taken a gap year of any sort to catch up. I believe that having confidence in the classroom is a big factor for many children when it comes to academic success (many, but not all).

Having read that back I wonder if my story is perhaps a little extreme!

claraschu Sat 25-Nov-17 07:26:26

kirsty you are actually supporting my point, if you were a year ahead because you were born before your due date -
I feel that a bit of flexibility when birthdays are in August or September would be helpful. Some children who are September babies seem so grown up that it makes sense for them to join the year above, and no one would ever know that they were born a few days too late to officially fit into that year group. Some August babies (especially preemies) are quite young for their age and would be much happier waiting a year.

I feel that in lots of cases the rigid cut off dates are unhelpful! One of my sons was in the "wrong" year, and so was I, a very long time ago. Being a couple of weeks younger than my peers was really not a big deal for me or for him!

expotition Sat 25-Nov-17 07:32:06

I was moved up a year at primary with no ill effects, but my secondary didn't take pupils a year ahead, so I spent a year outside the school system and ended up in a year 7 class where everyone but me already had friends from their primary. That was tough.

TuckMyWin Sat 25-Nov-17 07:38:06

I have the same birthday as your daughter, and moved up to secondary a year early. But that was over 20 years ago, my primary head mistress pulled a lot of strings, and I still had to see an educational psychologist to prove I'd cope. In my case, I was at a small village school with mixed year groups and so had been working ahead of my age all the way through primary. I certainly didn't fall apart as a teenager, but I was socially younger. I went to an all girls secondary which probably help cushion the social aspect. The social pressures in schools these days seem to be much greater, and in your place, I don't think I would want my daughter the youngest in her year and out of year group. If I were you, based on my own experience, I would look to find a primary school that is confident challenging abler students, and let her focus her energies on settling back into the UK and making friends.

Tiddlywinks63 Sat 25-Nov-17 07:46:22

I was the same exposition, back in the 60's. I was pulled out of the 11+ exam when the teacher realised I was a year too young (goodness knows how they didn't know beforehand!)
I ended up spending wasting a second year in the top class at junior school, learning absolutely nothing. My peers moved on, I struggled to make friends and it overshadowed my education there on.

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