What to do when your child fails a grade

failed a grade

In this article we explore the effects failing a grade has on your child and how to deal with the situation. We also offer advice on how to help your child overcome the obstacle and do better next year.

Finding out that your child has to repeat a grade shouldn’t come as a surprise, and if it does, you need to take immediate action. A good place to start is to find out why your child failed. 

  1. Meet with the teacher.
  2. Get your child assessed by an Educational Psychologist.
  3. Develop a support plan where you decide how your child can be best supported from all the reports and input. This could include extra lessons, a tutor or therapy.
  4. Involve your child throughout the process and look after them emotionally.

The social and emotional impact of failing a grade

The impact on both parents and students can be huge and shouldn’t be underestimated. It is important, however, that you deal with your disappointment and possible feelings of shame without dumping that on your child. There is life after failing a grade and the way you handle it will set precedence on how your child will handle it, and other challenges they will face in  future.

Have an honest conversation and reassure them that repeating a grade doesn’t mean that they are stupid. You can focus on the positive aspects of repeating a grade, like making sure their foundation is solid for future success. If your child feels supported they will be able to keep their chin up and face their friends and teachers.

That said, it’s important to keep an eye out for constant feelings of depression. If your child withdraws from everything they previously enjoyed, they will find it even harder to stay positive. Help them overcome this or get professional help to help them deal with depression when necessary.

Identify the challenges they might need help with

It could be that they don’t know how to share the news with their friends or that they are being teased or bullied. Discuss the issue with your child and help them identify possible options.

Inviting friends over could, for example help your child keep in touch with old friends or make new ones. On the other end of the scale they could need help to break away from old friends that have a negative influence on them.

Make sure that they:

  • Are motivated and committed,
  • Have the support they need,
  • Know how to use a school diary, take notes and study,
  • Do their homework,
  • Have good time management,
  • Understand what they read,
  • Are able to ask when they struggle or don’t understand something.


You might also want to read this article on what you can learn from poor marks. 

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