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 Post subject: Off topic query
PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2006 5:58 pm 

I'm after a bit of advice but its a bit off topic (sorry). My son is in year 1 at an independent school (a few years to go before 11+) and is ahead of his peers. Last year he was given additional classes in maths and english to cater for his needs. The head asked if we wanted to put him up a year but we declined as he was happy with his friends. However, this year we have moved him upto the top group in maths (Year 2) so that his needs are met. My question is what are the benefits of moving up a year apart from saving a years fees?

My son is happy in his year and is well settled. I can't see any advantages in terms of admissions/examinations in moving up a year. My thinking is that in his current year he may be in the top 5% but moving him up a year may put him in the top 10%. My wife is worried about his needs and wants him to be challenged and doesn't want him coasting along.

Any comments?

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2006 6:06 pm 
When's his birthday?


 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 6:39 am 
It seems the school is failing in meeting your requirements when he is the only one ahead in the "team" Either the school has low standards or you need to find another school that will meet his aspirations. Paying for education doesn't always mean that you will be amongst the brightest and most able children.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 9:22 am 
My son was born in dec 2000 and the teaching standards are very good. He can go into the next year but we are not keen if there are not any obvious advantages.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 10:50 am 

Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2005 3:47 pm
Posts: 1348
Location: Berks,Bucks
Hi Guest,

I was a year ahead when at school, so was my brother. I have been eductated in France and it was common practice at the time.
We both attended single sex schools.
I personally didn't see any problem with being younger than my school friends, but my brother did. Although he was doing very well academically, he felt the pressure of being the youngest, smallest in a group of boys. It can get even more important during teenage years.

I think that the advantages are debatable:
-avoiding coasting along: Many chidren are not stretched at primary schools but end up doing very well.
-allowing to retake a year later on if necessary: ???
-looking good on uni application: ???

Best wishes for any decision you take


 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 11:32 am 

I think my main concern would be what would happen when my son needs to mjove school when he's 11/13? Would he be allowed to move on early? If not I'd be fairly reluctant.


 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 10:56 am 
I was put up a year at school (a very academic independent school) when I was 8 for the same reason.

Academically it was no problem: I ended up with great A level results at 17 years old, if that is an advantage. However, I missed my friends at 8 yrs and resented being a "year young" throughout my teenage years.

Although I was expected to perform a year ahead academically, I was not allowed to stay out as late as my friends (because I was younger), was always the smallest in my class, hit puberty later etc. I went to University in London at 17 and looking back I feel that this was too young. The other girl in my year who was also a year ahead, although exceptionally bright, did not ever fulfil her potential.

As you can tell, it is something I feel strongly about! Though my son is very bright, it is something I would never consider for him. Perhaps if the form is a mixed age group, this would make a significance difference. But being the only "young" one, in a form where all the other children are well aware you have been placed there because you are supposed to be so bright is not academically stressful but is certainly socially so.
Of course this is only my personal experience, but I would urge you to consider the implications for the next 10 years not just his need for mental stimulation now.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2006 10:06 am 
My case is an odd one but I'll share anyway.

For various reasons I had to start school a year earlier than my peers.

Despite being younger I was clearly ahead of the class, but when my class went up I was kept down to be with my correct age-group. I got rather upset about this since I was being treated as the classroom helper - (which I wouldn't doubt is what is happening to your son, and is what happened to both of my son's too). I became so frustrated that I began to hate school and hover outside the higher classes, being facinated by their work and subjects.

Eventually they moved me up a year, which was a great relief and once again I was the youngest in that class, but doing really well.

When I reached Year 6 my friends went merrily off to secondary school and the local authorities decided that I could not go to secondary school until I was the correct age. I had to do year 6 again, with a 'baby' class. Mentally and physically, I was ready to move off and I can't tell you how frustrating it was to remain in primary school and once again be 'the helper.' I had to complete the entire year all over again, same topics, same subjects and nothing at all was done to ease the blow. To make matters even worse, salt was rubbed into my wounds by my now secondary school friends wanting nothing to do with a 'little primary school kid.'

If your son can't go to secondary school a year earlier, I would suggest that he remain with his peers and just enjoy being the class brain-box.

I refused offers to move my kids up a year for this very reason, but insisted that they be stretched intellectually. Thankfully we have this London gifted and Talented thing going on which is great at giving more able kids greater opportunities. In addition to this my eldest son was allowed to quietly study Key Stage 3 science in primary school. I also tapped into their needs a lot at home by getting them good books to read, finding good internet sites, watching documentaries with them and so on....

My youngest child is in Nursery now and she can already read - I actually don't think this is a particularly great achievement as I think most kids probably could at age 4 if they had the right stimulation and encouragement...but that's another issue. Her teacher has suggested she might like to go up to Reception and spend time in there for a while and I have firmly resisted.

Finally - my eldest son's first teacher was/is married to a Psychologist and after I refused to allow my son to be moved up a year she told me that she had discussed this with her husband and he felt that it would potentially do more harm than good for a child to be elevated only to be demoted again in Year 6.

I believe each parent instinctively knows what is best for their child, and am sure you will make the right decision regarding him. Just thought I'd share my personal experience. :)

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2006 1:52 pm 
Thanks a lot for all your responses. I am going to see how things develop but am still against moving him up a year. The only reservation I have is whether he will be mentally stimulated. When I was in primary school (non-independent) we had no options of moving up a year. I was well ahead of my peers and when I entered senior school I coasted for a few years but still remained in the top sets. In the end I finished with a good degree and job but I still wonder only if I had worked I could have gone so much further. I don't want my son to "coast" so that he doesn't realise his full potential.

 Post subject: University at 17?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2006 2:51 pm 
I am sorry to clip the wings of some parents who I sense indirectly hope (for the life of me I do not see why) that their son or daughter will go to the university at 17.

They will not. The reason that many Universities (especially in London -including they one that I work for) have decided that no-one below 18 (at the day of starting the Uni) will be accepted, is that in such cases the police will impose a number of conditions/restrictions which no University is in a position to satisfy/implement. The only exception is if the student will turn 18 by the December of the year in which they start University and then only if the parents formally confirm that they are willing to take full responsibility of anything happening to their child instead of the University. Think rationally: How can the Universty ensure that your child will not join his colleagues and go to the pub after a lecture? There will be activites where he/she will not be able to join in and she/he will either feel excluded or simply join anyway.

More generally: what is the point of going to the University early? Life expectancy is increasing, and once the University studies are over, they will have a long life of work in front of them that I suspect will continue until 70....

An academic,

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