class of 45 in reception with 2 teachers?

(44 Posts)
FrameyMcFrame Fri 12-Jul-13 09:39:09

Just that reall, how will that work?
My DS is off to reception in September with a class of 45 with 2 teachers...
Won't that just be horrendous?

I really don't understand.

FrameyMcFrame Fri 12-Jul-13 09:41:46

I will paste in the email I got from them.

''The class is 45 children but there are 2 teachers. The children all work and play together and are grouped for small group time, which at the start only lasts for 10 mins at a time. I will have another look at our lists and see if we can put * in the same 'home group' with the same key worker to help his transition as it would obviously help him to see a familiar face. As the children settle, children are grouped in all kinds of ways, depending on what knowledge they come to us with and what skills the children need to learn or practise, so he will get chance to mix with all the children as well as with his friends.
I hope this answers the questions you have.''

Bonsoir Fri 12-Jul-13 09:41:58

That means a 1:23 ratio.

My DD had a 1:30 ratio with lots of non-native speakers. It wasn't fantastic but it' s not going to change her life chances.

FrameyMcFrame Fri 12-Jul-13 09:48:23

thanks Bonsoir, it's just the sheer volume of 4/5 year olds in one room?

I can't imagine it could be a calm environment?

SockPinchingMonster Fri 12-Jul-13 09:52:27

My twins are currently in Reception in a school that takes 45 children. They are split so form classes of 22 and 23 with one teacher each. They are in 2 classrooms that are joined together with a area in the middle that has sinks, cupboards for lunch boxes etc and they are allowed to play in either classroom so it's quite free flow. They only really do bits of group work with their own teacher - sometimes they work with the other teacher too. It's not the best set up in the world but its ok I guess. Only issue I have is that my little boy keeps getting hurt (fallen over, massive egg on his head) and nobody has noticed until hours later so I wonder if quieter kids are just left to get on with it a bit and are lost in the crowd of 45, but it is what it is - all schools round here had a 45 intake so no getting away from it for us. It seems to work alright in all other respects.

FrameyMcFrame Fri 12-Jul-13 10:23:01

Thanks SockPinching, that sounds ok, but the email I got doesn't suggest that is how they do it...anyway, I'm popping in this afternoon so I guess I'll find out.
I assumed they were split in to 2 groups but that is not what they say.

Bonsoir Fri 12-Jul-13 10:37:10

If it means that it gives lots of opportunity for "streaming" with eg one teacher taking 30 DC to do a big group activity and another taking 15 DC for more individual attention, that may be a good thing?

FrameyMcFrame Fri 12-Jul-13 10:44:56

ok...
Just seems like a huge amount of kids if they're all in one room sad
I'll ask.

My dd's new school has this except nursery and two reception classes all free flow after their class time. I have visited twice now, plus taught at other schools that have this set up. The kids were all engaged in playing in the different areas, across three class areas and the outdoor space. It was calm, no chaos witnessed, noise volume surprisingly low. A few TA's were taking small focus groups whilst the rest of the staff supervised.

oohaveabanana Fri 12-Jul-13 10:51:14

Do you know what the space is like? We looked round a school that dud this, but the 'class' actually spread over 3 rooms (+ outside space) most of the time. As bonsoir says, the ratio (esp if you also have 2 TAs) is actually great.

Bonsoir Fri 12-Jul-13 10:51:32

I would advise you to reserve judgement until you have seen it in action and see how your DS gets on.

chocolatecrispies Fri 12-Jul-13 10:53:27

Our local school has 75 children and 3 teachers (and 3 TA) all in free flow across nursery and reception. Maybe it works well for some but I found it very noisy when we visited and ds hated it - asked to go home the whole time we were there. We turned down the place we were offered there after that as I did not think it would suit ds.

simpson Fri 12-Jul-13 14:32:10

DD is just finishing reception and they are all in one massive room with 3 teachers and 3 TAs (there are 90 kids).

It is the one year that will then go through the school with three seperate classes (bulge class).

I will admit I had my massive reservations about this (mainly noise level) but it has worked really well and she has had a lovely year.

FrameyMcFrame Fri 12-Jul-13 15:17:51

Why do they do that though? How does it benefit the children?
I can't understand the reasoning behind it apart from it's easier for the teachers.

simpson Fri 12-Jul-13 16:21:39

Because my DC school took a bulge class they had some building work done and the classroom is L shaped.

The shorter part of the room has a pull out wall to separate it off although it has never been used. It will become one of the yr1 classrooms next year.

Tbh DD is split into little groups for things and rarely do all 90 kids stay inside at the same time. They split them into 3 groups on ability for phonics and numeracy which they all do at the same time ( there are 3 whiteboards).

Groups of maybe 6 kids at a time are called to a table to so writing etc whilst others play. A set amount of children are allowed at each station at one time so if it is full up they have to find something else to do.

Next years reception class will be 60 kids with 2 teachers and 2 TAs but part of the room will be taken away and used for the yr1 class.

EasyFromNowOn Fri 12-Jul-13 16:22:51

Our infant school does this, but with two classes of 30 in each year. They have a 'class teacher' for registration purposes, but then each activity/lesson is done in smaller groups, with children from either class at the appropriate level. The two classrooms are open to each other, although there is a partition which can be drawn if needed. It seems to have worked well, and means no-one gets upset that their best friend is in the 'other class'

It's only in Yr2 that they mostly stay with their class teacher.

simpson Fri 12-Jul-13 16:23:53

In terms of whether it has actually benefitted DD I could not tell you but it certainly hasn't held her back in any way. She has found it easier to get to know the whole year group though rather than just her classmates (the 30 in her group iyswim).

Each child is allocated a specific teacher even though DD is taught at various points by all 3.

crunchbag Fri 12-Jul-13 16:30:43

Both my children were in a reception class of 45 with 2 teachers and 1 ta. The class room was quite big and they had their own outside class room/play ground.
It worked very well, I never had the feeling they were lost in the crowd. They usually played and worked in smaller groups and it was only at pick up time that you would notice how many reception children there actually were.

FrameyMcFrame Fri 12-Jul-13 16:30:51

Thanks it's really interesting to hear your views from first hand experience.
This was our 4th choice of school hence me not having visited. We had expected a place at any of the others but it's a big birth rate year apparently.
I've tried searching the web looking for any info on why schools are doing these great big classes when they have 2 teachers available but not found anything so far.

simpson Fri 12-Jul-13 16:35:16

It just seems to be the new way that quite a few schools are running the reception classes now.

I had no choice really as to where DD went as she has an older brother in yr3. And I was not happy to hear that her reception class was being done like this.

When DS was in reception it was done in the traditional way ie separate classroom, 30 kids with 1 teacher.

But in fairness I could not be happier with the year she has had.

crunchbag Fri 12-Jul-13 16:42:53

In our infant school it worked because it meant reception had a big class room and a secluded play ground they turned into an outdoor learning zone. It was perfect for play based learning.
The other classes were Y1, Y1/2, Y2
The school is an old building with not much space for expanding.

Periwinkle007 Fri 12-Jul-13 16:46:34

We looked at 3 schools (daughter is now just finishing reception) and 2 of them did this.

In one school it seemed VERY chaotic and very loud, the other had a much bigger room, purpose built with this in mind I would guess, so a lot more space, more defined areas within it and it actually was really good. It was loud but I don't think it was any more so than the school that had 2 separate classes of 30.

my daughter is at the one with 2 separate classes (it was the nearest) and they still often put them all in together for things.

when I was at that age I think we had about 26/27 in the class (and there was only a single class in each year) so to me 60 in one room is big and busy but I think it is more and more common and as they get older I wouldn't be surprised if they start doing lessons in bigger classes anyway.

I think in many ways having them mixed up means groups can be more fluid which is probably much better for the children. As they go through the year then those who are at each different level or struggling with the same things or excelling in the same things can be grouped together very easily but also these groups can be changed very quickly as children grasp different concepts. This happens in classes anyway but with more children it is much more likely they will always end up with more than 1 at a similar level rather than anyone being the odd one out if that makes sense.

mrz Fri 12-Jul-13 18:02:40

It's quite common to work that way. We combine 26 nursery with 30 reception (2 teachers and 2 nursery nurses)

FrameyMcFrame Fri 12-Jul-13 22:00:23

mrz, why is that a good way to work can you explain? What are the benefits for children to be in these large groups?

mrz Fri 12-Jul-13 22:02:11

They are actually in smaller groups if you think about it.

Smartiepants79 Fri 12-Jul-13 22:08:33

I think the benefits would be that the groups can be very flexible.
For example if you have 2 classes of 23 each you may have 3 children needing support with something in each class, not really enought to justify the resources for a whole separate group in each class BUT put the classes together you get a group of 6 and the staff can be made better use of.
Staff time is at a premium in schools and I think this system is set up to try and make the best use of it.

FrameyMcFrame Fri 12-Jul-13 22:10:14

How are they? I'm not thinking about ratios, just the sheer amount of kids in one room.
It must be overwhelming for a 4 year old who is only used to being with a few people at a time.
I just want to understand the logic of it.

simpson Fri 12-Jul-13 22:14:02

There are more adults to take small groups away from the rest, more action stations (or not more maybe but bigger) because there is more room.

simpson Fri 12-Jul-13 22:15:58

They are still taught about "classroom voices" etc and no running inside so it does not seem any louder than a class of 30 (impression from the few times I have been in there).

FrameyMcFrame Fri 12-Jul-13 22:33:57

but if they were divided in to 2 classes there would still be the same adult to child ratio wouldn't there?

FrameyMcFrame Fri 12-Jul-13 22:37:19

Just wanted to know what the advantages are?

We are always told big class sizes=bad
Small classes=good

When did that all change?

mrz Fri 12-Jul-13 22:38:44

or perhaps they would be one pure reception class and one mixed reception/Y1 class ... there are lots of ways to organise classes.

LemonBreeland Fri 12-Jul-13 22:41:10

DS2 has just finished P1 in Scotland, and had 50 in his class with two teachers.

I wasn't sure about it, but it seems to work as the school do it every year with P1. They have a big double classroom.

simpson Fri 12-Jul-13 23:18:18

Honestly I was you this time last year (really worried about how it would work) especially as DD is very bright and I thought this would be neglected blush however I could not have been happier she has truly thrived and there are more adults in the classroom which she loves especially like today where the theme was "India" and the teachers were wearing saris.

FrameyMcFrame Sun 14-Jul-13 09:14:21

that's good Simpson.
I guess i just wanted to understand the theory behind it...

tumbletumble Sun 14-Jul-13 09:22:10

I think the last paragraph of Periwinkle's post explains it well. Basically if you have 2 classrooms and 2 teachers with 23 kids in each classroom, the children are always divided in that way. If you have 2 teachers and 45 kids then it is more flexible - they can be split in any number of ways depending on what seems most appropriate at that time.

My Mum is a TA in a reception class like this. There are 90 children with three teachers and 4 TAs. She was cynical when it started but it has worked well. The children all know which teacher they 'belong' to and the reception classroom is actually three linked rooms plus outdoor space. There are times each day where the children work in classes of 30 with their teacher and other times when it is free flow. The TAs have lists each day of the children for reading and small group work so no one is forgotten.

RoooneyMara Sun 14-Jul-13 10:14:18

It's too many imho.

Ds1 started school somewhere with 90 children + and there were 3 teachers/TAs I think, you could never get hold of them to talk to either before or after school, they took children out of class in small groups just to meet legal requirements, ds never ate his lunch, didn't have a drink all day, or go to the loo and he got his head bashed on the ground by some of the other kids, supervision was hopelessly inadequate.

We switched schools and ds2's experience of reception was fecking marvellous compared to that. The little ones NEED more help. I wouldn't send a child there - sorry OP sad

maxmissie Sun 14-Jul-13 10:18:15

My dd was in a class room of 45 with two teachers in one room when in reception. There were two separate classes and they had separate parts of the room for certain things e.g. register, stories, pe but were mixed up for others. It seemed to work ok and it didn't seem to affect dd in any way, it was just what she knew. although there are more children in a room together the class ratio is less than in most schools. It think the reason for it was lack of classrooms.

zipzap Sun 14-Jul-13 11:25:15

Ds2's infant school is like this but the reception area has 3 classes of about 34 each in - there's a big shared area and each class has a little bit sectioned off as a base area.

It gets worse for years 1 and 2 though - they are in one long room with a bug shared area in the middle with all the desks in, base areas along one side (just big enough for them to sit down on the carpet, a cupboard for the teacher) and things like the library and a messy art area and store cupboards on the other side. There's barely enough space to get all the desks in and seems horribly crowded and noisy to me but it's all they know and what they are used to so they just get on with it. But almost 200 kids plus staff in a room plus staff - not sure I could stand it week in week out!

Picturepuncture Sun 14-Jul-13 11:37:33

OP small classes are generally considered to be good because of the staff:pupil ratio.

In the situation you describe the ratio is actually better than a standard of 1 teacher and 1 TA to 30 pupils.

For me it all hinges in the competency of the staff and the design of the room. In principle it sounds like a good idea.

FrameyMcFrame Sun 14-Jul-13 12:07:35

thanks all.

I will just have to see how it goes with DS in Sept...

I'm not so worried about how his education is tailored specifically to his abilities to trade off a smaller amount of kids in a room. (but we have no 'choice' as this is the only place offered)

To me, playing and making friends and learning to be confident in his own skin is much more important than reading or writing at this stage.
The formal stuff will come, he's a bright boy.
I just don't want him to be stressed in a noisy and impersonal environment...
Obviously, it could be all fine. I'm just worried sad

tiggytape Sun 14-Jul-13 13:06:01

I think it can depend on the physical space, the acoustics and the planning. There are purpose built open plan classrooms in some schools with sliding screens, quiet areas and well thought out layouts to ensure free movement and effective small group teaching.
If it is entirely open plan then noise and distraction can be an issue but in this instance may be countered by having only 45 children instead of the 60 you’d expect with 2 teachers.
It seems to be a very popular way to arrange things for reception classes now and even the schools that don’t officially have open plan space seem to be doing a lot more communal work with all classes mixing and all teachers working together more often.

FrameyMcFrame Sun 14-Jul-13 16:52:49

It's an old school...1960s so I can't see it's going to have mod cons like sliding screens and that.
I'll reserve judgement until I see it in action.

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