Retarding a Childs Progress – Yes

When voting yes, it is important to qualify the option. Repetition of a grade or class, can only be justified if a number of factors are present when the decision is made.

To start with, consideration for grade repetition should not be made purely for academic reasons. If a child has struggled in a particular year, there could be reasons outside the classroom which might be limiting the progress. There could, for example, be issues in the home, issues with friends, and even issues within the classroom or school itself where the child is currently registered.

To hold a child back, the parent/educationalist must consider the emotional circumstance and the emotional maturity of the child before decisions can be made. A child that has displayed immature responses and reactions to age related situations, and who is academically challenged, may find a repeated year beneficial. A child who is however going through a major emotional issue in the classroom or home, can only find problems compounded if they are retarded from natural growth within a year group.

They may for example be academically quite capable, but because of their emotional situation, be displaying symptoms of slow progress and limited emotional growth. Children often react, and indeed, are often a product of their environment, so a repeated year needs a thorough investigation before decisions are made. For a child to be held back when the issues may have been rectifiable can only do harm.

There are however issues such as maturity and academic capability which, when viewed outside that of the environment, must be seen as important when making the decision to ‘hold back’. A child may feel more comfortable, gain greater esteem, and achieve more, when they are retained within an age group. It may be just what the child needs. The concerned party does however need to examine the circumstance and situation in detail before making that decision.

For a child to repeat a grade, they must firstly require academic reinforcement, secondly be emotionally young for the current age group in which they are peers, and finally, the child must feel comfortable interacting in a younger age group. This last requirement is an observable need, and could be ascertained early on in the school year when it is determined a child is neither achieving within the level, nor managing emotionally within its peer group.

For a child to repeat a grade when the issues are created outside its emotional and academic capabilities can, in the end, only do more harm than good.