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Promoted to First Class

In February, I got the shock of my life.   My son Nitin, aged 6,  in Senior Infants, was due to finish his school year at the end of March and be promoted to 1st Class, for the school year commencing at the beginning of April.
His teacher informed me that he could not be promoted.  Not a chance!  I was devastated.  It is not as if I am the type of parent who brags about my offspring’s academic achievements.  But another year in infant classes for a child who was perfectly intelligent?  It didn’t bear thinking about!  We had already allowed him to complete an extra year in Junior Infants on his teacher’s recommendation, so he wouldn’t feel pressurised.  Not to mention the year of pre-nursery before that.  Oh, man, would this kid ever get out of the nursery and start real school?
I went before the headmaster to plead my case.  Another year wasted would mean considerable financial loss (his school is an expensive, fee-paying one).  Also, he’d be nearly 20 completing school and would get very late for higher studies.  I promised to teach him at home to make up for the shortfall in his knowledge.   Thankfully, the head saw my point and agreed.  Then I was called to the school by his class teacher.  She informed me that it would be cruel to put the child into 1st class when he was obviously not able for it.  He would be given a deferred promotion.  In north India where we live, the school year commences in April.  However, it breaks in mid-May until the end of June for the summer holidays.  In July, we should bring him to school, get him tested and if found worthy, the promotion would be granted.
How had this happened?  Well, after retaining him for an extra year in Junior Infants, we were sure the Senior Infants year would be manageable.  It just so happens that in Nitin’s school, they teach children cursive writing in Senior Infants.  My daughters, who are in a convent school, didn’t learn it until 3rd Class.  In Nitin’s Senior Infants year, his grandfather, who lived with us, was experiencing  health problems.  The whole house (we live in an extended family, three generations under one roof) was in a state of emergency.  Then the grandfather died.  The house was swamped with relatives.  So Nitin didn’t get the parental support with his studies  that he should have got.
There was nothing to do but try to bring up his standard in the school holidays.  I called him for studies every day.  I concentrated on English reading because  children need to read before they can write.  I didn’t worry  about mathematics because I knew he was good at that.  As for Hindi, my mother-in-law took care of that.
At the beginning of July,  I  learnt that there was a new principal who knew nothing about my case.    Back to square one.  I was also told that there was no chance of considering my case before the end of July, the official term end.  It was agony when people  asked me what class he was in and about marks and ranks and such matters.      If I was in the mood, I’d mention ‘deferred promotion’.  If I was not, I just smiled and said he was in first, praying that it would soon be true.  My husband, who has a rather pessimistic disposition, declared that he was totally depressed with the child’s performance and I heard sniggers behind my back, ‘she didn’t teach him properly in the holidays’.
I was called to a parent teacher meeting early this week to discuss certain changes in school policy.  I decided to bring up the subject of Nitin’s deferred promotion one more time before it was too late.  Imagine my surprise when the teacher smiled at me and told me that Nitin  had been been promoted that very day   Instead of a formal test which would have to be crammed for at home, he was informally assessed at school over several days.  This is in keeping with  new school policy.  After six months of tension, I feel so relieved.
I’m happy now.  So is he.  He’s travelling to school in a van with the big children, including his brother Neil in Class 9.  I’ve purchased the books and copies and will spend the evening covering them.
It really is true in this case – all’s well that ends well!

This post first appeared on my blog Write Away as a writing workshop assignment 


  1. I'm happy for all of you! It must have been hard six months...but now you can relax, enjoy and continue a 'new life'...

  2. I can imagine the suffering one feels for ones children. I have none of my own but have nephew and nieces and i know my sister has experienced sleepless nights that together make for years because of the worries about her kids.;)
    I am happy all was sorted out in the end.;))

  3. Brilliant news. Am facinated that it is deemed your duty to see that your son is up to scratch and not the school.

  4. I wish Nitin all the bst with his new school term. Kudos to you for being in the mix with your child. The teachers seem to be a bit more forth coming with comunications as to his progress.

    All the best to you and Nitin!

  5. Aw, I'm so happy for you. It's a hard thing to go through and I'm glad it all worked out. x

  6. Congratulations to you both! Sniggers behind your back? The joys of an extended family. Not!

  7. That must be a weight off your mind. It's not easy to remember they'll get there in the end - as a parent, I know you want it NOW.

  8. Congrats, although I have to say the school seems really wishiwashy on their policy. I might look for another school.

  9. Indian education system and for that matter the American, British, Irish systems too are becoming more and more difficult for grownups to understand. I read about it constantly and am really glad that I don't have to worry about a grand child like so many of my peers do.


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