Skip to main content

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.


Post a comment

Thanks for visiting me. Please let me know you were here

Popular posts from this blog


Many years ago, when I lived in Dublin, I met someone nice and started dating. I wasn't serious, I just thought we could have nice interesting discussions about India, which I found absolutely fascinating, as I was working in the Embassy of India back then. I had no intention of getting attached with a foreigner, with all the attendant cultural problems. I was happy living in Ireland and the idea of marriage couldn't have been further from my mind. We both thought we could just keep things in control. One day, after a lot of emotional turmoil and denial, it hit us both that we were in love. Truly. Madly. Irrevocably. To the point where we couldn't live without each other. I'd known about the Indian system of arranged marriages and when it occurred to me that he would probably be married off by his family as soon as he returned to India, I felt physically ill at the thought. We are both tenacious and patient people. We realised that bringing our two worlds together

Kipling Got it Wrong! Or Eastern and Western Culture - Reflections

What Is Culture? I’m opening this blog post with a question. What is that elusive concept which is commonly known as ‘culture? Culture is way of life. How we live. What our values are.  Our customs, attitudes and perceptions. And also, I suppose, how we express ourselves in art through, such as music, dance, theatre and cinema.  It’s quite a comprehensive area and not too easy to define, really. Travel between east and west is common nowadays The Journey I was born in what is commonly known as ‘the west’. I lived in Ireland for the first thirty years of my life. When I was thirty, I married my husband and came out to India to live here with him. That was the beginning of an interesting journey, which is still evolving. I must have had some east/west comparison stereotypes in my head. But in India, I found that the people I met had huge stereotypes in their heads about what they called ‘western culture’ and ‘western way of life’. Not long after

The Tale of One Kitty

The cat..... Those who know me already might say that they didn't know I had a cat.  I didn't, you know! Our dog, Duggu is such a handful, I didn't think we could take on another pet. But a few months ago, a beautiful cat (whom we eventually named Puggle)  arrived. She's not really ours..... Nope! She's someone else's cat who just went on what the Aussies might call a walkabout. My younger daughter Riya found her on the roof of our house, a pretty calico (three-coloured) cat. Riya was instantly smitten. Some milk was fed to the little creature and the deal was sealed. Puggle has been a regular visitor to our house ever since. And two days after she arrived, in mid-May, she gave birth to four kittens. We'd had no idea the kitty was enceinte. So what did we do? What can you do? If a single mom landed on your doorstep and gave birth in your house, what would you do? Try to help, obviously. As the cat bore no identification and had been roaming the colony unst