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when to hold a child back a year

Discussion in 'Primary' started by cqengland, Mar 8, 2011.

  1. My daughter is in year 2, but the youngest in her class (born in August). She is middle of the road (to lower end in math, progressing well in reading, struggling with writing but all within the year 2 levels) academically, coping socially, fine phsyically, but I can see she is definitely the youngest and in the class. At the end of the school day she is exhausted and barely makes it through a week. Forget homework. She is having trouble focusing in class, she daydreams, can't stay on task. When you work with her individually she is fine, but give her directions from across the room and it won't register. She is like this at home too. The other morning she sat in the middle of the kitchen and cried "I just can't cope!" We've just had a blood workup done to see if there are any deficiencies like anemia that can be easily remedied. She's being evaluated for LD, but no one really thinks that is the problem. The going opinion is that it has to do with her age, but no one in the school system wants to keep her back (except me, but I worry about the effects of that either way). In her school, going from year 2 to year 3 is a very big deal, she will be with all of the older kids, expectations are much higher, she's no longer pre-prep, but prep and swimming with the big fish.

    Any advice would be really appreciated. Thank you!
     
  2. My daughter is in year 2, but the youngest in her class (born in August). She is middle of the road (to lower end in math, progressing well in reading, struggling with writing but all within the year 2 levels) academically, coping socially, fine phsyically, but I can see she is definitely the youngest and in the class. At the end of the school day she is exhausted and barely makes it through a week. Forget homework. She is having trouble focusing in class, she daydreams, can't stay on task. When you work with her individually she is fine, but give her directions from across the room and it won't register. She is like this at home too. The other morning she sat in the middle of the kitchen and cried "I just can't cope!" We've just had a blood workup done to see if there are any deficiencies like anemia that can be easily remedied. She's being evaluated for LD, but no one really thinks that is the problem. The going opinion is that it has to do with her age, but no one in the school system wants to keep her back (except me, but I worry about the effects of that either way). In her school, going from year 2 to year 3 is a very big deal, she will be with all of the older kids, expectations are much higher, she's no longer pre-prep, but prep and swimming with the big fish.

    Any advice would be really appreciated. Thank you!
     
  3. trinity0097

    trinity0097 New commenter

    It possibly sounds like she is in an independent school? It is more common in the independent sector to have children repeating a year than it is in the state sector.
    It is common for children in the independent sector to be far more tired than children in the state sector, they have longer days and often do far more during the day - the holidays make up for this!
    Perhaps the school isn't right? Are there any other local schools you could consider? Might be easier to repeat Yr 2 in a different school than the same school - I have a child joining my class next term (I teach in a prep school) who is moving down a year at the same time (from Yr 6 to Yr 5).
     
  4. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    What is LD?
    Sorry to hear your daughter is miserable; and that is how it sounds ----- miserable. I hope she is not unwell, from what you say fortunately it is not sounding likely.
    If you are in England, I would be inclined to try and stay in the same school year if you possibly can, but is there any reason why for subjects that your daughter is struggling with (not that it sounds as though there are any) that she goes to the lower year for these, maybe temporarily?
    If you repeat a year at the same school, will she have the same teacher, same everything all over again? This could be dull, and at worst, if it's actually the teacher that is the root cause of your daughter's problem, not a help.
    The other thing about your post is that you make this particular school sound exhausting. You see a significant difference between pre-prep and prep. I went to a prep school, and I don't remember thinking that it was more exhausting than my previously school ( a state infant school) so I wonder if there is something about this school that just makes it too much.
    I do remember feeling as a child at the start of each term that I did not want to be in school all day every day (and ours was a short day - 8:45 to 3:15 and half days on Wednesday), I wanted to be at home doing what I wanted to do.
    I look at some of the independent schools round here from time to time and one of the things I don't like about them is the extremely long day; I don't like them as a mother as I want to have time to talk to and play with my children each day. And I don't like them through the eyes of a child - I remember how I felt about being "penned in" 8:45 to 3:15.
    Maybe your daughter would be happier somewhere else is what I am saying.
    What is she like in the holidays? What is she like when she is doing things she truly loves?
     
  5. Thank you so much for this thoughtful reply. We are actually overseas, and have just changed schools, so that option is not feasible. The school hours here are 7:20-2:00, which is about the same number of hours as your experience. It is such a long day! Would another year in year 2 help her cope better with this?
    I don't think she doesn't like school - she adores her teacher and is happy in the environment, but as a parent, I feel like she is treading water all of the time. And, the description of her lack of focus is a concern for us. She will be evaluated later this month (LD is learning disability), but what I am really hoping for out of that is some helpful advice on how to support her, not a label!
    As to what she is like when she is doing what she loves, she is a quiet girl, typically into Barbies, and very much into horseriding. She is more comfortable on a horse than anywhere else, I think. She has friends at school, but there seem to be more than the normal number of squabbles, and she generally just retreats when that happens...until she gets home to tell me about her "heartbreak." In many ways, she does seem younger than her peers, but in others she does not. I know all children grow and mature in fits and starts, and in different ways - which is why this is so confusing!
     
  6. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    She sounds very like my daughter in lots of ways. She doesn't ride, but has had a go on a friend's horse when she was very little, looked very at home in a way she doesn't often do, and I think would be a complete addict given the chance! But that would be great; it's very confidence building and it is a real relationship with a horse that has to be worked on so it is developing social skills in its own way too.
    Sometimes I think teachers have to say something, and the lack of focus thing may be being blown a bit out of proportion when you take into account her age. I think also teachers sometimes assume a child is not listening when in fact they are - they want a child to be looking at them, sitting still, eyeballing them. Some children listen better while they are doing other things, looking away etc, everything is going in, but the teacher does not think so.
    Some groups of girls squabble terribly, and some children like yours (and mine) feel the heartbreak. As a parent you have to find a way of understanding how she feels, but show her other ways of brushing it off so that these arguments do not become long term grudges held between the girls but quick squabbles and then everything can be back to normal as soon as possible. My daughter enjoyed reading some very simple children's books about friendship that I found on the web; I think she found them reassuring, and she has kept on trying and now has stopped returning to something terrible that happened 6 months ago!!
    They will all grow up. In some ways it could your daughter that is more mature than the others.
    I really don't know about the staying down a year. I have a friend whose son has done this in Scotland - in fact he started a year late so he never "stayed down" - it has worked fantastically for him, but I don't think there will ever be a point in Scotland when he will have to adjust. If your daughter will never have to adjust by a year to get back to where she should be, then go for it so long as you don't think it will disrupt the social relationships she has made already.
    Some groups of children take a long time to gel well - I would say that the girls in one of my children's class have just achieved this after three years together!! In my other child's class it happened in a week (but signs that the honeymoon period is over are now surfacing!!).
    My daughter had difficulties starting on pieces of work at the beginning of year 1. When the teacher told me this I came up with a sticker idea which the teacher agreed to work with. My daughter liked rocket stickers, and I awarded these at the end of the school day (at the gates) for being a "rocket starter". All the teacher had to say to me was yes or no, so it was not time consuming at the end of the day for the teacher. It worked from day 1. There were a few days when the teacher said no, but not many.
    You might be able to think up something very simple like this that makes a huge difference, or it might be more complex.

     
  7. I was wondering if I could give me some advice as well for a similar situation. I am training as a Secondary Teacher, but have year 2, 3 & 4 kids. We adopted them 6 years ago. My 7 yr old is in Year 2 (in a small village school mixed w/ Year 1). She is having 30 min a day with a TA to work on reading which she has FINALLY figured out! phew! But, she is very behind and doing low to mid Year 1 work. Although she is upset that she is doing Year 1 work she can do it and the teacher thinks she doesn't have an LD (as you define above)... although I suspect she is dyslexic - she is left-handed and has learned VERY differently than her older brother and sister. I'm considering paying for a test because I doubt the County will pay.
    Also, we adopted her when she was 14 mths old and her foster carer held her back in development by not letting her feed herself. In fact, I remember her foster carer explaining that she never let any of the babies she had in her care feed themselves (and I would do well to follow her example she said to avoid the mess) and she had over 50 babies in her care by the time I had taken our little girl. She also wouldn't let her walk because she didn't want to deal with a toddler and when I asked if she had learned to climb the stairs she told us she wasn't allowed out of the front room (or into the kitchen) or any other type of exploring.
    So, what I'm thinking is to hold her back ... she'll be with the same teacher next year (who I think is great). She agrees with me because my dd already comes home telling me she doesn't understand what is going on in the class and the teacher says she raises her hand in class and is confident to do it, but normally doesn't answer the questions properly or appropriately (ie. she didn't get the question). She isn't tired and in fact, does a lot of extra sport/ dance activities (more than her brother and sister ... she learned to ride a two wheel bike at 3 yrs old, scooter at 2 yrs and ski at 3 yrs, water ski at 6 yrs, basically she's got energy and she's well coordinated). She's little for her age, still bed-wetting and a Feb birthday.
    She also has had hearing issues throughout her life from lots of ear infections and she's just een referred to get gromits.
    HOWEVER, the teacher is worried that the County (I live in England) won't agree and I keep wondering if keeping her back is the right thing ... looking at various research about it. So, I need to find some research and now in my mind that I'm doing the right thing and then do what I have to to get the County to agree.
    Any advice?
    Thanks!

     
  8. lardylegs

    lardylegs Occasional commenter

    I have a child in my class who was 'kept back' so that he could be with children nearer his age (who happened to be the ones he was friends with, so it was fine). It was made clear that this was a 'one off' and that he would thereafter be re-integrated with his correct peer group.
    However, having stayed in a year 3 class when he is actually a year 4, this kid now has two years left in primary school, which should be in the next two classes (1 year in each). The trouble is that when he leaves to go to Secondary School, he will be leaving behind those kids that he has bonded with, and will be moving on with his correct peer group.
    The parents have been slow to figure this all out and are now up in arms about it and want to get him kept back a year permanently, which our county is not in favour of.
    So just be aware of the future issues when you talk about keeping kids back, it can get complicated. There is also the SATS issue - what tests do they take each year? Are they counted as SEN because they have been held back? Do they have IEPS? What's on them?
     
  9. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    Yes I think that if your daughter is going to go to a state secondary, it is more than likely that she will have to do this at the correct age. So your decision now needs to be based on whether this shift will be harder or easier if she stays behind a year at primary school.
    Depending on how many school years you feel she already is behind, you might find that if she stays behind a year she will go to secondary school with a good grasp of year 5 work, but if she doesn't stay behind she might go to secondary with not a great grasp of anything.
    If she stays down a year, she won't be going to secondary with any of her year group. But as you go to a small village primary she may be able to maintain social contact with the year above so this will make it easier at secondary transfer. Also it sounds as though she will more than match her age group in sport so this will help her click back into her age group.
    I'm just guessing really, but I do hope you make a decision with which you feel confident and that makes you go "phew".


     

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