Thinking & Feeling

“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.” Horace Walpole

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Quinn will repeat Grade 4 in 2010

This decision has possibly been the hardest decision of my life. I am not joking. I have debated and deliberated it to death and it has a long history.

Between the school and I we decided to apply to the Western Cape Education Department to request that he be allowed to stay back next year. This was done during the 3rd term. I backed o fthe pressure for the 4th term thinking he could just 'coast' a little, since he'll be repeating next year. He of course did pretty darn well academically! So when the WCED reviewed the case last week they were not convinced that a repeat is necessary.

The headmaster called me to tell me this. He said that the school presented their case to the department (WCED) and the department are not comfortable to make the call to hold Quinn back, based on the grounds that he is NOT failing - or even close to it. He said they are fearful of repercussions and that in time someone will come back to them and blame them (for some reason) about him being kept back.

So if he is to be kept back I would need to write a letter absconding them from any liability surrounding the decision going forward.

I told him I needed to know that the school is SURE this is the right decision, because I have flip-flopped on it so much. I really struggled to make the call.

I then spoke to the school secretary and headmaster again and discussed it and finaslly made the decision and sent of this letter with my reasoning:

To whom it may concern,

After careful consideration (and professional evaluation) I have been advised by the school and an Educational Psychologist to allow Quinn to repeat Grade 4 next year in 2010.

The main mitigating circumstances behind this are:
- The fact that Quinn is currently the youngest in his Grade - by quite a large margin - having started Grade 1 at 6 years and 2 weeks old.
- Added to this Quinn has some hearing as well as auditory processing issues which cause him some learning issues.
- He has also had a vast amount of emotional upheaval in the past year relating to his parents divorcing and the ongoing instability of his father.

He has struggled with self-esteem, self organization and motivation this year, due to being distracted and emotionally sensitive. His sight has deteriorated quite significantly this year. He is also physically smaller than his current peers.

Due to all of the above I feel it is in his best interest to repeat Grade 4 next year, in order to feel less overwhelmed and to give him a chance to relate and 'compete' with a peer group his own age and size. This should allow him more of a feeling of control and mastery.

His teacher, the psychologist and myself (his mother) have all spoken to him and he understands that this decision is not based on his academic performance, because he has done well, but rather that it is in his best interests from an emotional and self-development point of view. On paper Quinn performs very well. He is an intelligent boy who enjoys school and learning in general. But he has been under a lot of pressure and I really feel that this needs to be reduced. He understands and accepts this.

I understand that this decision is being initiated and requested by us (as the school and parent), and do not place responsibility nor accountability on the WCED for this.

Jane W (mother and legal guardian)
The headmaster just called me now. He is going to take Quinn out for a walk/chat/milkshake in the next day to discuss it all with him and make sure he is completely ok with it.

I feel at peace with the decision now, and Q seems happy with it too, he has already started cementing friendships with the current grade 3 class, so that he'll know some of them better at the start of the year. He will have the same teacher again next year. She knows and understands him and will know how to work with him, and hopefully keep him stimulated with enough challenges.

So it is final he'll repeat Grade 4 next year.
Thanks for all the advise, support and input guys. I really appreciate it.


  1. You will know your child best and I hope that he will benefit from your decision.

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  3. Oh Jane! I can only imagine that this was a hard decision to make!!

    But it seems you have support in the school - so I am sure Q will be FINE :)

  4. i wish my mum had done that for me.

    Viva Quinn !!

  5. I can only imagine how hard the decision was to make. I think you have done the right thing though.

  6. Can only imagine how hard that must be for you, but you know what is best for him - don't doubt that.

  7. That could not have been an easy decision but I think you have made the right one