My Department's policy in relation to pupils repeating the same grade in primary school is set out in Primary Circular 32/03. In accordance with this circular, in exceptional cases a Principal teacher, following consultation with the learning support teacher/resource teacher and class teacher and parent(s) of the pupil may conclude that a pupil would benefit educationally by repeating a grade level. In such cases, the pupil may be allowed to repeat the year provided there is an educational basis for it, and there is a clear programme for the pupil to follow.
However, the circular provides that pupils who have completed sixth class must not transfer to another primary school to repeat sixth class and that in the event that a school were to enrol pupils from another school to repeat sixth class the pupils shall not be included as eligible pupils for the purposes of determining staffing and other resources granted the school.
The Primary School curriculum is designed as an eight year course, including a two year infant cycle followed by six years in standards from first to sixth, with children progressing to the next grade at the end of each school year. The curriculum is flexible and child-centred, and can be adapted to meet children's needs. Additional supports by way of learning support and resource teaching is also available to enable pupils to make progress in keeping with their needs and abilities and to move consecutively through the different class levels in the school in keeping with their peers. I have no plans to amend the provisions of the circular in question.