Help, my child might stay put. What now?
As the end of the school year approaches, it becomes increasingly clear how things are going. Some students will pass without problems this year, but others are at risk of being left. What can you do as a parent if your child is in danger of being seated?
Sit down, good for a child?
If a child does not perform well at school, it can be decided to let that child take another year. Not fun for the child, but useful. By giving a child an extra year of time, they will be stronger in the rest of their school career. At least that’s what many parents and teachers think. However, it seems that just the opposite is the case …
Several studies have been conducted comparing retirees with students with comparable school performance, who did not have to retire. In their later school career, those who stayed at school fared considerably worse than those who didn’t. And that while they had comparable (poor) performances at the time of retention. Sitting down can have another unpleasant side effect in elementary school. If a sought-after secondary school has a surplus of registrations, it can select for performance in primary school. Anyone who has stayed in place for a year may then be left out. Sometimes a toddler who is still very ‘young’ is kept in kindergarten for a year longer. This is then called ‘tinkering’. From a formal point of view, this ‘tinkering’ is also just sitting there. Just so you know!
How do I prevent my child from sitting?
Sitting down does not help a child, and can even have adverse consequences. If your child is in danger of sitting, what can you do to prevent this? First of all, it is useful to know what the school’s transition policy is. What are the standards exactly? How many fail marks can a child have? Can low grades be compensated? The school guide should contain information about the transition policy. If this is not in the school guide, you can point this out to the participation council (MR). Schools are free to determine their own transition policy.
Are you concerned about your child’s performance, and suspect your child will not meet transition standards this year? Don’t wait for the next 10-minute conversation! You can always make an appointment with your child’s teachers. In secondary education, the class mentor is the point of contact. In primary education you naturally address your child’s teacher or master. Try to find out together with the teacher where the problem lies. Does your child have trouble with certain subjects, or is the problem more related to poor motivation? And how could you work together to solve that?
Of course you can also do a lot at home to get your child to achieve these transitional standards. The transitional standards of school come in handy here. If you are aware of these standards, you can start working on backlogs very specifically. If your child has motivation problems, you can try to find out where those problems come from. Does a child have fear of failure? Trouble with the teacher? Or are there sometimes other things at play? All these problems require a different approach. If your child has difficulty with certain subjects, or is struggling with too many distractions at home, tutoring may be an option.
Passing on conditionally
Some schools offer the option of conditional transfer in secondary education. A child is then given a certain task during the summer holidays. This task must be completed with a pass to be admitted to the following year. If the backlogs are too great, such a summer job is probably not an option. Has your child been given a summer job? Then try to clarify what commitment the school expects from your child. Make sure your child keeps to the agreements made, but also make sure that they have enough relaxation in addition to school work. A child needs to rest, especially during the summer holidays.
The decision to let a child sit is not taken lightly. You can therefore expect the teachers to come up with good arguments for their decision. If you do not agree with the decision, you can talk to the mentor. If that conversation yields little, you could go to the school management. The decision whether or not to transfer a child is a substantive decision. This means that you cannot officially appeal against it. If you feel that the decision has been careless, you can appeal. Examples of careless decision-making include making a hasty decision, or not including all relevant information in the decision.