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Prep students may need to repeat year due to missed classroom learning

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Some primary school teachers are calling for prep students to repeat their first year of school, so they aren’t permanently disadvantaged as a result of missing out on months of face-to-face learning.

Dandenong North Primary School principal, Kevin Mackay, told The Age many students, especially from non-English speaking homes, would be better off repeating the year.

Acting Program Director and school education fellow at the Grattan Institute, Julie Sonnemann, said repeating is a last resort, but it may be necessary because many students have missed six months of classroom learning this year.

“It’s really a last resort but having said that it has been a really unusual year … so there might be some kids who do need to repeat it,” she said.

“There is a good reason why we do send kids to school, learning from home isn’t as good a substitute.

“Unfortunately some students may just not be at a point where they can move up to the next level.”

Ms Sonnemann said the possibility of repeating the year for all students should be “on the table”, but targeted programs to help those struggling would be a better option.

“What we’re arguing for is one-on-one targeted tutoring … to help students catch up,” she said.

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