Getting seated: If the transfer is in danger

Sitting down is not only a difficult situation for the student, but also for the parents. Find out here when your child has to stay seated, why this can be an opportunity and how you can best deal with it.

When does your child have to stay seated?

All pupils in Germany who have not reached the class target at the end of the school year have to drop out. This means that they have to repeat a grade and are not promoted to the next higher class. If your child’s grades in some subjects on the certificate are worse than “sufficient (4-)”, the promotion may be at risk. Depending on the federal state and type of school, however, there are different regulations as to how many bad grades your child has to fail in.

Not every bad grade means that your child has to stay seated. In principle, it is possible to compensate for poor performance in certain areas with good grades in other subjects. For example, a five can be compensated for by a one, two or three in another subject. However, a six on the certificate cannot usually be offset and means that your child has to repeat a school year.

The final decision as to whether your child will be promoted or not will be made at the report conference at the end of the school year, during which your child’s subject teachers will consult. Even if your child’s grades were rather poor in a school year, the certificate conference has a certain amount of leeway in making the decision. If, for example, they believe that your child will make it through the next school year from a pedagogical point of view, despite their poor performance, they can decide to transfer them. Sometimes your child will also have the opportunity to prove themselves again in a follow-up exam after the holidays.

Sitting still: what is that good for?

By staying seated, weaker students should be given the opportunity to catch up on the missing material in peace. Because without certain basics, they can’t get along in the next higher class either. Educators also assume that when students are at risk of failing, they will try harder to perform better. The schools also want to maintain their performance standards by failing, because those who cannot achieve the required performance are not allowed to go to the next higher class.

Abolish sitting?

In some countries, students cannot stay seated at all, for example in Finland, which took one of the top spots in the Pisa study . That is why there are repeated discussions in Germany about abolishing sitting still. Proponents of this reform consider sitting still to be a waste of time. Because if a student only performs poorly in a few subjects, it is better to specifically support them in these subjects instead of having them repeat all the other subjects. Otherwise, sitting still could lead to frustration, demotivation and consequently even worse performance. In addition, failing to do so causes high costs for the education system, on the one hand due to the high administrative costs, on the other hand because the students affected have to be schooled for longer.

Sitting down: how should you deal with it?

If your child has to remain seated, that is certainly a disappointment for you. Nevertheless, you should try to be calm about it and show understanding for your child. Spoiling your summer vacation with anger about your bad report card is useless. It is better if you try to approach the next school year positively together. You should get to the bottom of the reasons for the bad grades, because your child did not make the transfer on purpose or out of sheer laziness. You can find tips on how to deal with bad grades in our article “What to do about bad grades?” .

Sitting down is also a difficult situation for your child. It’s not good for self-confidence if you’re the only kid in your class who gets stuck. The next school year will also be difficult because they have to settle into a new class community. So let your child know that they can count on your unconditional support. Also, make him understand that sitting down is not a disgrace. Many famous people also had to repeat a school year and still made something out of them, for example Albert Einstein, Thomas Mann, Harald Schmidt, Edmund Stoiber, Dirk Bach or Johannes B. Kerner.

What to do if your child stays seated?

If your child remains seated or if you notice that it is about to remain seated, you can support it as follows:

  • Create a learning plan: Some children learn better when they have clear guidelines, for example in the form of a learning plan. As soon as you know when the next test is due, you and your child can think about how to prepare for it step by step. In our article “Learning for school: 10 tips for parents”  we not only give tips for a learning plan, but also for example when your child learns best.
  • Do concentration exercises with your child: Maybe your child finds it harder than others to concentrate? Don’t worry, concentration can be learned. In this article we will show you effective concentration exercises for children .
  • Help your child with their homework: In the best case scenario, students do their homework on their own. But a little support may be just what your child needs right now. Here we show you how to properly support your child with their homework .

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