Our expert says:
Much depends on why and how he has failed, and it'd be useful to discuss this with his teacher - and of course you also need to know how he was informed of this, and what the teacher and perhaps other kids may have said about it. You need to know the facts. Perhaps an assessment by an educational psychologist ( the school should be able to recommend one ) could shed useful light on the nature of his problems and the extent to which they could be remediated.
If his main problems are in literacy ( and one needs to know what aspects of it are problematic ) it may be helpful to encourage him to read more books at home of whatever sort he most enjoys and on his favourite topics. If he resists reading exercises prescribed by teachers, he may respond to more practice with self-selected materials.
Then, of course, one needs to chat with him, to see what he already understands and thinks about what has been happening at school, and what he thinks this extra year means for him. His main focus might be on missing his current school-pals as they move on to a different class, but he may be able to keep contact with them while making new friends in the new class
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