I don't understand the Scottish primary system can someone please help

(81 Posts)
heather1001 Wed 10-Jan-18 14:02:50

Hi, I have just moved back to Scotland from the middle east where we had my son in a British school. My son started primary school in Scotland, he has gone into a P5/P6 class. The school has said he will be getting the same education as the P6/P7, I don't understand how this can work.
My concern is in the English system he was finishing his final year at primary school and doing well, but his age meant he had to go back to P6. He was doing very well at school before. And now it seems like he has gone back 2 years. He told me this morning he hasn't learnt anything yet. I know it is early days but I am so worried.

OP’s posts: |
SoTotallyOverThis Wed 10-Jan-18 14:06:44

So currently he’d be / was in Year 6 in the English system?

When’s his birthday (month and year is fine). No need for exact dates!

SoTotallyOverThis Wed 10-Jan-18 14:07:08

And what year is he been placed on in Scotland

museumum Wed 10-Jan-18 14:16:03

Small schools often have these “composite” classes. Those who are p6 in a p5/6 classes do learn the same as the p6 children in 6/7. They’ll normally be all back together for p7 and need to be a similar level. They’ll work in groups in the composite class.

I was in a composite class for p3 (with the p2s) and p5 (with the p6) with no issues. As you can see the splitting isn’t by ability as sometimes my set (the higher ability) went with the younger and sometimes older.

EchidnasPhone Wed 10-Jan-18 14:21:09

So hes a p6 in a composite class. The teacher teaches topics aimed at the differing abilities. If you are concerned though I’d definitely make an appointment with the teacher. Has he been bringing home homework? We are in Scotland & very happy with the education. Children start later so perhaps that’s where your seeing a difference in the class but follow it up with school

heather1001 Wed 10-Jan-18 14:34:36

Hi he is 10 { August 2007} I was ok with him going back a year I thought it would help with the transition, but when they said P5/6. I was extra concerned as I had not heard of this and when the head teacher said she never got it wrong with children, I lost a lot of faith as she hadn't met me or my son

OP’s posts: |
Haudyerwheesht Wed 10-Jan-18 14:49:17

He's a p6 child in a composite class. He isn't in p5/6 year group.

Next year he'll go up into p7. Are there other p6 classes or are there only composites? I.e. At my kids school there's p5/6, 2 straight p6 classes and a p6/7 class.


celtiethree Wed 10-Jan-18 14:54:38

He hasn’t gone back a year he is in the year group that he should be for his birth month/ year. The Scottish year groups don’t align with the English year groups. Under the English system he’d be one of the youngest in his Year, in the Scottish system he’s in the middle for his year.

SoTotallyOverThis Wed 10-Jan-18 14:57:03

So he should be in P6 then?

What other pps have said is what I’d expect. One key difference for you is that in Scotland he is one of the oldest for his year but in England of course he’d be pretty much the youngest and he’d be in Year 6. It might seem like he’s behind a year but it’s the dates per the Scottish system so I think it’s just one of these things and very common in my experience with children who are educated in different cultures with different systems.

Of course issues with the HM is a different thing and if you have specific. Concerns worth you raising.

Aurea Wed 10-Jan-18 15:10:58

My son has been in a three year composite in a small school. Some schools have all 7 years in the same class! The class should be smaller if there is more than one year group in the class. I understand 25 is the max, but often it's a lot less (my son had 14).

It's just like having a mixed ability class. Although the different year groups do the same general topics in class, the outcomes and expectations will be different. As he's an August birthday, there should be older children still in the class as the academic year cut off is end Feb/beginning March.


RoseDog Wed 10-Jan-18 15:15:57

If he was born August 2007 he should be in P6 and doing P6 work. If he'd started primary school in Scotland from P1 he would be in P6 now. You should be starting to look at high schools now, when my dc were in P6 they started getting involved in activities with the feeder high school and we were invited to open evenings.

sleepyhead Wed 10-Jan-18 15:16:37

As pp have said, the P5/6 thing is a red herring. He's in P6 and the children in the P6/7 class who are the same age as him are also in P6.

If he'd started school in Scotland, he'd have just turned 5, or been about to turn 5 on his first day of P1. If he'd started school in England, he'd have just turned 4 on his first day of Reception.

museumum Wed 10-Jan-18 15:27:57

An August born child will be in the middle of the age group in Scotland which will be better for him statistically. Remember that Scottish secondary is only six years total (no upper and lower 6th) so he’ll finish his education the same year as if you’d stayed in an English school.

SoTotallyOverThis Wed 10-Jan-18 17:47:50

Composite classes can be common (I was in a few myself!) and you always did year appropriate work. It also didn’t harm me academically either

Fantasticmissfoxy Wed 10-Jan-18 17:50:51

I spent my whole primary education in 3 year composites and can absolutely say it didn't harm me academically at all.

combatbarbie Wed 10-Jan-18 18:07:11

Coming from overseas is so confusing, mine is Apr 07 and was Y6 in English system but is P7 in Scotland in a boarding school... She is slightly behind (-was previously top sets but now middle which is fine, she'll catch up).

My friend moved back before us, child was same age and was given option of current or year above space....She chose current year and child has essentially just repeated what they had been doing but settled well.

It is very confusing....

grannycab Wed 10-Jan-18 18:08:37

The teacher will provide work at the correct level. This happens in every classroom in Scotland regardless of which stage they are in.

Norestformrz Wed 10-Jan-18 20:14:52

http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/curriculum-for-excellence/ I'm sure some will disagree

prettybird Thu 11-Jan-18 12:54:38

Just to reiterate that he hasn't "gone back" a year: he's in the same year that he would've been in England.

He will sit his Nat 5s (the equivalent of GCSEs) in the same year that those his age will sit their GCSEs in England.

In fact, under the Scottish exam system, technically he could go off to a Scottish Uni a year before his English cohort, as he could choose to go after his Highers/S5.

Ds is a September birthday and currently in S6. In England he would be in Lower 6th (Y12) and the oldest in his year, whereas ds has already sat his Highers, is doing Advanced Highers and (thanks to the number of kids who deferred entry), very much in the younger half of the year group.

WindyWindy Thu 11-Jan-18 13:34:39

Just to reiterate:

Notice that in Scotland pupils are in high school a year less. So it goes 5th Year then Sixth Year. Rather than fifth year then the old upper and lower sixth.

Note also that on average the children go up to high school from primary older than in England, the birthday cut off being March rather than September. So roughly speaking the year group will be on average 6 months younger in England. The youngest First year high school pupils will be eleven and a half in Scotland whereas in England there will be from just 11 years for those born in August.

Composite classes are very widespread.

WindyWindy Thu 11-Jan-18 13:36:42

Long term he's in the right year when you think about maturity for university.

Norestformrz Thu 11-Jan-18 17:08:37

In England he would be in the final year of Primary Y6 (P7) having already completed the equivalent of P6 so effectively he has gone back.

prettybird Thu 11-Jan-18 17:59:28

No he's hasn't. In Scotland we have 7 compulsory years in primary and only 6 in secondary. The reverse of England which has 6 years in primary and 7 years in secondary. (Reception is optional and not compulsory).

As I mentioned in my earlier post, the OP's ds will still be sitting the equivalent exams at the same time as if he were in England. (GCSEs are sat in Y11, Nat 5s are sat in S4 - 7+4=11, therefore the same year as in England).

The complicating factor is that Scotland and England have different cut off dates (and actually Scotland also has genuine flexibility with deferrals allowed), so the main difference is that instead of being the youngest in the year, the OP's ds is now in the older half of the year - which has advantages socially, especially as at secondary. smile

Norestformrz Thu 11-Jan-18 18:05:04

England has Reception Y1-6 that's seven years of primary school.

prettybird Thu 11-Jan-18 18:18:41

Reception is optional, not compulsory. As I said.

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