My son is an older child in his year( November baby) . His School has a 1 1/2 form entry system . The annoying thing is at first it was on age and the older ones were either grouped with younger ones of next year up or the following year they would group younger ones of the above year with older ones in year below. Now it seems due to personality clashes between a few of the headstrong boys my son is in what I can only describe as the "baby class." Year 3 and Year 4 are mixed and there are some kids nearly 15 months younger than my son in there and i am unhappy about this. The teacher said these kids are the brighter ones of year 3 - "bright as buttons" which is a saying that annoys me no end. apart from some of them being tutored and doing kumon maths they maybe not totally naturally bright just getting extra help. Apart from the fact he knows they are very young, his peer group in the straight year 4 are teasing him and calling him a baby etc. The work is not tailored to the different year groups but all doing same stuff. The younger ones are being stretched no doubt . He had above what is expected end of Year 3 report but I cant help feeling very worried that he is in this lower class. The young ones are challenged but I feel my son is just being left to do just about average. This is affecting his confidence.better than him at some of the maths and keep saying they are. Well he has to get used to it and rise above it I know but this is hard when at his age they are obsessed with older ones and age etc. I have discussed my concerns with headmistress but she is not going to move him and says he will be fine . He is doing well and the kids are settled now so will not change class. I am so annoyed I want him out of the school and feel he will just be left amongst the little ones and maybe get further behind then it will be too late when he goes to secondary especially if working at a lower level. They all look very young as well 15 months is a big gap. Unhappy mum . Any thoughts please.
It's a shame they haven't split them in a more measured way but split classes per se are not an issue. I taught a split Y5/6 class for 6 years and never found differentiation or challenging the brighter ones an issue.
The teasing is more of an issue but that might stop after the first few weeks when everyone's settled?
I have taught a variety of mixed age classes, and they can work very well BUT the thing that concerns me here is lack of differentiation (not the 'with the younger ones' bit per se).
I would ask 'how are the more able being differentiated for in the 3/4 class' - make it not about age, but about making sure that there is a clear route for challenging the more able (who could come from either age group - it makes no sense to divide a mixed age class by age, but it does make sense to differentiate by ability) as well as to support those who find work more difficult.
You could also ask about whether there is joint planning with both class teachers to ensure that the Y4s in both classes are getting the same educational experience and are working towards the same objectives (different classes may approach the objectives in different ways, but there should be a mechanism to ensure that Y4s in the younger class don't 'fall behind' or 'miss objectives' that the other class covers). Since the classes are not split by ability from what you say - age and personality do not indicate ability - both classes should have the full range of abilities of Y4s, so it would make sense for the class teachers to share planning etc.
I presume that next year there will be a Y5 and a Y5 / Y6 class, so many children currently in the 'older' class will be mixed with your child again (obviously a few will be mixed with Y6).
thanks for those very constructive comments and i honestly feel better about it now after reading and thinking about what you both said . The comment regards to making certain the the Year 4 's in both classes are getting the same educational experience and working towards the same objectives is just what I wanted to say but due to the emotion I was experiencing I could not articulate it correctly . I felt deeply upset and worried by it all so much so I was not sleeping . Crazy I know but being a full time working mum doing shifts I feel guilty i am letting my son down. I have only one son and like every parent want to give him the best possible start I can. I do feel better about it all now and I have a clear way to approach this. I am meeting with the teacher friday to discuss. Much appreciated thank you both.