By Shelby Brooks

VICTORIAN students will only repeat a grade next year in “exceptional circumstances”, Education Minister James Merlino has said.

“This year, our teachers have done a brilliant job. Kids are still learning the curriculum,” he said.

“Some students have thrived and some students have struggled and that is why we made a significant investment into mental health and wellbeing.

“The Premier and I and others are giving a lot of thought about what 2021 looks like in terms of additional catch-up support, and we will make those announcements down the track.”

Korumburra Primary School principal Nathan Pirouet said the preps had “pleasantly surprised” everyone with their progress this year.

“They haven’t dropped off like you might have thought. Teachers have noted progress,” he said.

Mr Pirouet said prep teachers were more worried about missed social and emotional development with children off-site for the majority of the year, rather than their academic progress.

He said the school was not considering students repeat a grade more than any other year.

“Research shows that keeping kids down has a disadvantage socially and emotionally,” Nathan said.

“It’s better to keep them with peers at the same stages.”