What can you do if you disagree with school?

(65 Posts)
yummumto3girls Mon 22-Jul-13 22:54:55

Long story, small school, 5 classes, 7 year groups so children stay in same class twice during their time at primary school. My DD is staying in same class this year when we were expecting her to go up. The criteria used to select children are vague and subjective rather than based in optional SAT's and grades and we are very unhappy that she is 1 of 9 staying in her class when we strongly believe that several of the children who have gone up have lower grades than ours. We are happy to be corrected but have written to Head and Governors and they are just not answering our questions to assure us that a decision has been made objectively. DD will be yr 5 so next year is a really important year for her as we want her to sit 11+. We accept she won't change class we just want the school to provide the facts and figures. Plus they have now asked us, and three other parents who have complained, that we must confirm we want her school place by 9am Wednesday, which feels like bullying for making a complaint. So where can I go with this now? Ofsted? Who is there to help us parents?

lborolass Mon 22-Jul-13 22:58:41

I don't know anything about that kind of system but why would they ask you if you want your school place? Surely a school can't just take your place away (is it a state school), could there be some kind of misunderstanding?

When did you write to the governors - it might take them a little time to reply as they won't be having regular meetings over the holidays and probably have governors on holiday themselves so I wouldn't necessarily assume they are ignoring you.

Patchouli Mon 22-Jul-13 23:04:34

DD's school has similar and all sorts of factors seem to be taken into account when deciding who moves/stays.

friendship groups
splitting children who distract each other
confidence - some children who perhaps lack confidence a little might have more confidence when they're one of the older ones in the class so may put their hand up more etc
balancing boys/girls
Just loads of different considerations.

So facts and figures would be impossible.

It would be a shame if your DD was made to feel some sort of failure

yummumto3girls Mon 22-Jul-13 23:26:38

I have had a response from governors who are too wet to challenge the Headteacher. I know wrong decisions have been made, I know it won't change things but just want the school to show that they are transparent and decisions not based on whether they like(or dislike which I suspect) a child. The letter from Chair of Governors asks me to confirm my place, they have no right to take my place away so I am fuming. It feels like a threat because I have complained.

BreconBeBuggered Mon 22-Jul-13 23:45:41

What facts and figures have you asked for? I doubt the school would be keen to supply you with the grades of other pupils. It''ll be hard for them to demonstrate transparency without compromising confidentiality. Have you been clear about what result you hope to achieve from your complaint?
I'm puzzled about the reference to 'confirming your place', if you have made no reference to withdrawing your child from school. The LEA might be able to help with that one.

clam Mon 22-Jul-13 23:47:56

But she will still be doing year 5 work, even if she's in a composite class, surely?

MaybeBentley Mon 22-Jul-13 23:48:47

But surely if the selection criteria is not grades there aren't figures to have? Plus the school can't discuss other children with you as that would break confidentiality. If the decision is not based on ability it is a combination of reasons, many of which would require knowledge of the other children and schools just can't do that. Schools have to look at what is best for all the children and that sometimes means not agreeing to what an individual parent wants. And without all the information how can you be sure "wrong decisions have been made", rather than "I haven't got what I want"?

TheSecondComing Mon 22-Jul-13 23:51:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MerylStrop Mon 22-Jul-13 23:56:53

IMO you are well within your rights to ask for confirmation of the selection criteria and well within your rights to ask to discuss their decision. Though I am unclear about whether it will actually affect your daughters educational opportunities.

Had I been in receipt of such a letter re your child's place, (provided that any papertrail would not find a stroppy email threatening to withdraw my child, that is) I would be copying it to the LEA and Ofsted in a flash.

Totally unacceptable.

BackforGood Mon 22-Jul-13 23:59:08

What Patchouli said - but you didn't acknowledge with your next post.
Also what Brecon said.
They can't tell you what other pupils are achieving. They can't tell you about personal circumstances of children which may well have been a big influence in the decisions.
They will have deliberated long and hard over it, and done the best they can for all the pupils.
I don't understand the bit about confirming your place though ? Unless you have said you are leaving ?

MerylStrop Tue 23-Jul-13 00:04:57

re-read your OP
how many times has your dd stayed in same class? is it not, quite simply, just her turn?
sounds like a nightmare system to organise and teach in
surely her work will be differentiated?
if you think that the school is actively making decisions that will be to the detriment of her educational progress (the comment you made about liking or not liking particular children) that is a pretty serious accusation. if you really think that is the case, would you not be looking at moving her?

YDdraigGoch Tue 23-Jul-13 00:06:21

Same as Patchouli. I doubt there's any sinister reason. Your DC will be doing the same work as other kids on same age group. I'm not sure what it is you're concerned about.

misterioso Tue 23-Jul-13 00:31:42

I also don't understand your angst, maybe they have asked you to accept your place because one of the other parents in the same position has threatened to leave and they think you might all go en masse.
I don't see how it will affect her chances of passing the 11+ either.
You also can't say you know wrong decisions have been made, wrong for whom?
As a side issue, what does your dd say about it all, she is old enough to understand? Is she upset and does she think it will affect her chances of 11+ success.
I would be concerning myself with your dds worries and happiness rather than your own tbh.
It seems like its just one of those things that goes with attending this school.

piprabbit Tue 23-Jul-13 00:42:24

Mixed classes at my DCs school are decided by a whole mixture of criteria including (but not exclusively): friendships; birthday; ability and gender. They are trying to create a class which is a well-mixed, cohesive group.

It isn't something the Governors are involved in at all as it isn't part of their remit (they don't do anything operational). It is down to the class teachers and dept. head plus the HT. I doubt the Governors have the information you require and it is likely to be September before they can speak to the HT about your letter.

Jinsei Tue 23-Jul-13 07:51:22

I'm guessing that you or one of the other parents has threatened to withdraw - can't see any other reason why they would ask you to confirm the place.

Your reaction does sound a bit OTT to be honest. You can't possibly say that "wrong decisions have been made" without knowing all of the facts/reasons for those decisions. And as others have pointed out, it may not be possible for the school to discuss all of these factors with you.

As you have acknowledged that the situation isn't going to change, your focus now needs to be on building bridges with the school again and asking for reassurance as to how your child's educational needs will be met in the class that she is in.

Why do you think they don't like her?

Caitycat Tue 23-Jul-13 07:59:39

As someone said above, if they all stay in the same class twice during their time in school is your concern that this is the third time (in which case you might have a valid complaint that this isn't how ir usually works) if not then it's surely just her turn to do this? Nine children must be about a third of the class so she will hardly be left alone.

Pozzled Tue 23-Jul-13 08:09:01

I agree with other posters. They're will be a wide mix of reasons for choosing the classes, which are not easy to quantify. Having the 'right mix' in a class is really important for all the children.

You seem to be assuming that your daughter is being 'kept down' and that she will not be working to her potential in the new class. This should not be the case at all- she should be given appropriate teaching and work no matter what class she is in. The school will have various ways of ensuring this, and I would focus on this aspect in any discussion with the school.

Some small village schools have three or four year groups in one classroom, and still manage to teach all the children effectively.

insanityscratching Tue 23-Jul-13 09:35:57

Dd's school have composite classes, the reasons why one child might stay with one teacher for two years are complex. For example dd is staying with her teacher because her SEN means that she needs a teacher with strong routines and the teacher we chose last year has worked well and so will continue. It also means that X won't be in her class because dd and X clash nor will Y because Y needs a teacher who is flexible and spontaneous but Z will be because Z is one of dd's best friends. In those instances it has nothing to do with academic achievement because dd is top group and X,Y and Z are all much lower groups.

NumptyNu Tue 23-Jul-13 10:25:20

I picked up on your comment about the criteria being vague. Is a lack of transparency regarding your child's progress the problem? We are also having a similar issue.

PatriciaHolm Tue 23-Jul-13 10:49:26

"The criteria used to select children are vague and subjective"

Yes, they always will be, combined with academic insight. It's not a decision based on grades alone; they have to figure out the dynamics of the class, friendships, personalities, etc. They absolutely won't be able to give you a list of concrete measures by which the placings have been done, and it's won't be the "cleverest" who have moved class and the intention will never have been to do that. They also won't be able to share with you any information that might tell you other pupils grades.

"Wrong decisions" haven't been made, just ones you don't like. The school are well aware of your child's abilities, let them teach to them as they intend to. If, next year, it transpires that differentiated teaching isn't happening, then you will have a valid complaint. Now you don't.

As others have said, I suspect the comment about places is because you or someone else has said something silly like "put my child up a class or I will pull them out!" and school needs to cover all its bases and make sure you're not going to do that.

PTA Tue 23-Jul-13 11:19:11

This is why out LA does it on language groups, no ambiguity, no room for appeal or protest. If your child is in the language group that is going into the composite class then that's it.

Of course, if you child is the only boy/girl or has no close friend in the language group then parents do get upset and annoyed but that's just how it is.

crunchbag Tue 23-Jul-13 11:34:54

PTA, do you mean age groups rather than language groups?

That's how our infant school did it, youngest 30 went to a Y1 class, oldest 15 went to Y1/Y2 class.

clam Tue 23-Jul-13 17:00:09

There is no method of selection that suits everyone - everyone will think that someone else's child should have been picked if it's an unpopular option, and that their own child should have been selected for the popular option.
Of course the criteria are vague; it's not up for debate, that's why. They're the professionals who know the kids academic strengths and weaknesses and social combinations, not you.
Sorry if this is not what you wanted to hear.

soapboxqueen Tue 23-Jul-13 18:42:22

The answer is not much. It is up to schools how they organize classes. I would suggest that your only real alternative would be to move your child if you are not happy.

Agree with pp in that you cannot know if an incorrect decision had been made.

BreconBeBuggered Tue 23-Jul-13 22:38:08

Have you responded to the Chair of Governors about your child's place, OP?

ShoeWhore Tue 23-Jul-13 22:45:10

Like other posters I am really not sure how you know that wrong decisions have been made OP.

Our school had a composite class this year (this is unusual for us) and one mother was very vocal about bad decision making on the part of the school - what she meant was the decision making resulted in her dc being in the composite class. Actually the school had given the matter a lot of thought and it has all worked out very well - overall results for both year groups affected are excellent.

yummumto3girls Tue 23-Jul-13 23:46:58

Thanks for all of your comments. I disagree with what some of you have said in that I don't think any school have a right to make decisions about my childs education without it being a clear and transparent process and them being able to justify it. I was also a governor at this school, and technically still am until Sept, but after 6 years have recently resigned for other reasons, so I do have a good knowledge of how all this works. Their criteria are based on the child's "emotional well being", "literacy ability" and "motivation to learn". They have told me my child is 9th in the class for literacy but still isn't one of the 13 going up. A child in a lower literacy group is going up. So they can't have a criteria and then ignore it, and not justify it. The approach from the school has been defensive and aggressive from the outset and despite my best efforts to resolve this, including accepting she won't change class, they won't explain the reasons behind their decision to me.

My child has been on a taster day at another school so I can understand why they have asked me to confirm my place, but as I am in the middle of a complaints process it is inappropriate until this is exhausted. Other parents, who tell me they have not threatened removing their child have had the same request which is inappropriate.

I'd be interested to hear what the criteria are in your schools.

Anyway, I have written to the school and Chair and told them that I will be removing my child from their school. Sounds extreme I know but we all have to do what is best for our children. DD is totally chilled about it all and will fit in anywhere, she is the one who has decided tonight that she would like to leave as she has been separated from all her friends and feels that she will get a better education elsewhere. I am very proud of her because she has made a very mature and considered decision.

TheFallenMadonna Tue 23-Jul-13 23:51:02

If it's not literacy, then it is emotional well being and motivation to learn. And that is difficult to hear about your own child.

BackforGood Tue 23-Jul-13 23:55:32

Have you not read any of the posts from people answering your original post ?
People have already explained how these decisions are made.

Also , you say they have given you the 3 criteria which they combine to make the decision. You seem intent on ignoring that, and trying to make it all about literacy.

lljkk Tue 23-Jul-13 23:57:15

Don't you think it's possible your child is being mixed with younger pupils for emotional well-being or motivation to learn levels, or do you dispute those assessments too?

Criteria in our school: Intake usually around 45 so lots of mixed yr classes. Stated as a whole mix of factors but ability is not part of it (doesn't seem like it in my observation, either). Our school does not term it as "going up" if they are in a class with all same age, or term it as "staying down" if they are mixed with younger year group. So I humbly submit that your school has a faulty way of dealing with mixed yr classes.

yummumto3girls Wed 24-Jul-13 00:02:52

Just to clarify, she stayed in the same class for yr 2 & 3, so would normally then have spent two years in the same class for year 5 & 6, instead they are keeping her in a mixed yr4/5 class as opposed to a mixed yr 5/6 class! She will be a year 5. It is is difficult to see how they will teach to year groups, it must be a nightmare for teachers, however she will be taught differently in this class to the yr5/6 class. They stream children for literacy and numeracy in top class but not the mixed yr4/5 class, she went to the top class for literacy last year, got a high grade in optional Sats, but is now being told she will not be streamed in yr4/5 class which I believe lowers the level to accommodate yr 4's (it will be based on topic work). Hope that makes sense. I just would prefer her to be challenged more in a mixed yr 5/6 class as opposed to a mixed yr 4/5 class as she has a tendency for distraction when not pushed, hope that makes sense!?

Jinsei Wed 24-Jul-13 00:02:58

Well done OP, you have probably made the right decision. Once the relationship has broken down between a parent and a school, I think it can be hard to get things back on the right track.

FWIW, I think you were being completely unreasonable about the school's decision, and so the school may well be glad to see the back of you! Anyway, I hope that your dd settles quickly in her new school and makes lots of new friends.

yummumto3girls Wed 24-Jul-13 00:07:33

Backfirgood - yes I have fully read the posts! The criteria, sorry but emotional well being, what does that mean and how do they justify that. My child is probably the most grounded and emotionally mature child in the class, However her emotional well being has been impeded by being separated from her friends without a good reason!

NewNameForNewTerm Wed 24-Jul-13 00:13:32

I'm amazed at the school for ranking children in literacy (i.e. telling you your child was 9th in the class). Literacy is a wide subject and your child might have the 9th highest reading age according to a certain test, but are they 9th for speaking and listening, reading comprehension, handwriting, spelling, writing stories, poems, non-fiction, etc. ?
I think if the school have told you the criteria - "emotional well being", "literacy ability" and "motivation to learn" - they have been as transparent as they need to be. Further information does overstep what you can know about other children.
I can also see why the school want you to confirm your place - you have voiced that you are not happy with them, you have had a taster session elsewhere - maybe they have someone waiting eagerly on their waiting list and want to help that child should you be deciding to move on.
I know I've not been there, but rather than it being the school being defensive and aggressive it seems to me, from your tone of posts here, it is you who are getting cross that you can't get your own way.
I'm sure the school will be sad to see your daughter leave, this is nothing about them not liking her or bullying you. It is about schools making the decisions based on their professional decisions for the whole school. Parents can comment and ask, but if they expect to be able to make the criteria about who goes into which class it just becomes a farce! Maybe you'd like to write the curriculum and plan the lessons for them too?

yummumto3girls Wed 24-Jul-13 00:14:06

Jinsel - yes I am sure they may well be glad to see the back of me despite my 6 years worth of unending work for them that has got them out of the shit many times.

I don't want to be part of any organisation that thinks it can make decisions without being transparent and objective. I am sure 99% of decisions in schools are made with the right reasons, but I don't see why anyone should not have the right to seek clarification on decisions without being met with "how dare you question me" attitudes.

yummumto3girls Wed 24-Jul-13 00:17:43

New name - I take it you are a teacher! She was 9th according to optional Sats.

NewNameForNewTerm Wed 24-Jul-13 00:18:18

Correct.

NewNameForNewTerm Wed 24-Jul-13 00:19:29

And we never rank children on test results at primary school. It is a single snapshot on just one day; rarely a true reflection of what a child's level is day-in-day-out.

yummumto3girls Wed 24-Jul-13 00:24:54

I totally agree its a snapshot, the teachers have said her results were not a true reflection of her abilities. Just to be clear, this is not about me getting my own way. I have told the school that I accept classes can't change,I just want them to clearly justify their decisions. I think teachers underestimate parents knowledge of other children. We all talk to each other and know a lot about each others children. Teachers are professionals, as am I, I have to justify my decisions when questioned, teachers should be no different.

TheFallenMadonna Wed 24-Jul-13 00:33:31

Why do you think they don't like our daughter?

TheFallenMadonna Wed 24-Jul-13 00:34:28

Your daughter, of course. I am not dadto3girls!

NewNameForNewTerm Wed 24-Jul-13 00:34:35

But justifying their decision will mean discussing other children with you as they are part of the equation. I don't know what profession you work in, but the levels of confidentiality required means we can't even make unnamed comments about it that may let you know information about other children.
I'm not saying parents are not professionals or know their children, but how can a school function if they let the parents make decisions about classes. How would it be if all the parents were asked "do you want your child to move up or stay down?" Even if it was worded more positively. Judging from your reaction, how many would want to stay down? Then what does the school do? Surely as an ex-governor you understand that for the smooth and effective running of the school it just needs to get on with many decisions like this.
Reading between the lines you are generally unhappy about the school, so maybe it is best to move on. Good luck to your daughter at her new school, from your description of her I'm sure she will settle and make friends quickly (but wouldn't she have done that in a new class at the old school?). If you have bad feelings towards school she is bound to pick up on it and it will unsettle her even more, so you've probably made a good choice for her.

soapboxqueen Wed 24-Jul-13 00:48:01

Problem is though that it is difficult to justify decisions in this situation without alluding to the abilities of the other children. The school have given you their criteria and their answer but you are not happy as you believe the teachers will get all confused about how to teach children in mixed age/ability classes without being reminded by you that some children are older and/or more able than others. As a profession that had never occurred to us before so thank you.

I'm afraid the only person/people who know the strengths/weaknesses of the cohort as well as the social dynamics of the children are the staff. Basing your objections on optional SATs which most schools don't do anymore because they are crap, seems like you are clutching at straws. You know your child, the other parents know theirs, you all think you have an idea about the others but you don't really know. Your only concern should be; where is my child now? what is their target? how are the staff going to get them there? Not, how can I reorder the classes to suit me.

I appreciate your said to the school that you knew they would not change the classes now but if that is the case, what is the whole point of this? Surely it would be better, if you were truly concerned, to ask to speak to the class teacher to learn how she will provide for your child so as to put your mind at ease.

As other ppl have said, it is best to move on if your relationship with the school has broken down to such a degree.

Bumply Wed 24-Jul-13 00:54:18

It's really weird seeing you refer to it as being 'kept in the same class'. Ds2 was in composite classes almost every year at primary. They did it on age basis as far as I know so he'd be in say the P3 bit of a P2/P3 composite (being the youngest) and then the following year be in a P4 or a P3/P4 purely based on which classes they had to merge that year. The teachers were well used to running composite classes so there was no question of him getting a lesser education because he was in a mixed group. As the youngest (especially on Scotland where a lot of his age peers had been deferred a year and were therefore in the year below) it gave him a chance to to mix with his own age more for things like sport. In Scotland the size of a composite class can't be larger than 25 so that benefited him over the occasional years he was in a Px on its own.

zipzap Wed 24-Jul-13 01:13:30

I've come a bit late to this - but just out of interest, how well did your dd get on with her class teacher last year? And how many of her group of friends have stayed in the same class as her, how many have changed to the different class? Is that the same for everybody - at both my dc school they have to name 2-4 children they like and they try to put them with at least 1 or 2 friends in their new class (3 classes to a year in infant school, 5 classes per year in junior school).

Just before they announced the new classes for next year for ds2, we discovered that a reception teacher who had been ds1's Y1 teacher was moving back to y1. DS1 had had a rotten time with her, just never gelled and moved backwards more than forwards in his time with her. I also found her very unapproachable and difficult to deal with. (in all his other years, ds1 has been in g&t style stretch groups for all sorts of different things, has always got good reports from his teachers, she is the only one that everything went wrong. And by the end of the year I discovered that at least half the class if not more had had similar problems, people still talk about how she ruined their dc's infant school time etc so it's more than just me being pfb!). Anyhow, I was able to approach one of ds2's current teacher's to see if there was any way that I could request that ds2 didn't end up in this teacher's class as I could see the problems being even bigger than ds1 had. Luckily she agreed with me - and managed to steer him away from that class [big sigh of relief smiley] but there are some poor kids who will have had to have had her for 2 years on the trot which, if you are having a bad time with a teacher, is horrifying at this age when it means the basics aren't being taught properly, let alone reinforced.

Which is a very long winded way of saying - do you have issues with the teacher - is there anything to suggest that you don't want her to stay with her (I know that your dd has decided to move on and away from the school - was knowing that she had to have this teacher again part of it or was it just the friends thing or something else?)

I can see why you are upset though - does sound like she is not being treated in the way you would have expected her to be. Do you think they are over compensating because you were a govenor and therefore didn't want to seem to be favouring you by putting your dd into the single year class rather than the composite class?

MidniteScribbler Wed 24-Jul-13 01:45:31

Selecting classes is completely subjective. There is not one single criteria that can be used to determine which class a child ends up in. To give you an idea of what happens at our school - the current teachers and the next years teachers along with any other teachers that are involved with that year level (music, PE, aides, etc) and the head meet to decide the classes. Generally students with special needs are placed first - often because one of the teachers has experience in dealing with that particular need. We then consider everything from parent requests, grades, motivation for learning, friendship groups, children who just seem to rub each other the wrong way, children who don't work as effectively when in a class with certain other students, access to particular skills a teacher may have, or on the odd occasion we've even looked at parents and teachers who may not click with each other, or even just where a particular teaching style may suit a student better than the other teacher. It usually takes at least four to eight hours. Not one student is placed in a class without a lot of consideration for so many factors. And generally we're not going to tell parents why their child is in a certain class, because it may disclose information about other students. When we say "it's the best fit" it's because it is. We've done our research, we know these students, we know ourselves as teachers and we know what the best learning environment for those students is going to be and we make decisions accordingly.

PatriciaHolm Wed 24-Jul-13 11:20:00

There isn't going to be some nice Excel spreadsheet they can give you that ranks all the children with scores for all the criteria, there just isn't. They have told you how they have done it, that is all they can do.

Unless you trust that the school knows what they are doing, it probably is best you take your DD elsewhere; if the trust has gone, then nothing they do will be right from now on, however hard they try.

titchy Wed 24-Jul-13 11:33:36

If each child has to spend two years in a mixed year class, I'd be quite happy that my dc's year 5 was spent in a mixed class, as presumably that would mean their year 6 would be spent in a purely year 6 class, not a mixed year 5/6 class. Ho hum too late now!

mrz Wed 24-Jul-13 12:41:45

How on earth do you know she was 9th from optional SATs? Has the school told you other children's results ... I hope not as it would be a huge breach of confidentiality

kilmuir Wed 24-Jul-13 12:52:36

Madness. Teachers know ALL the children better than you.
She will be taught year 5 curriculum.
We are in a 11+ area and schools not supposed to teach for the exam

insanityscratching Wed 24-Jul-13 12:59:31

Yummo you say the teachers have said her results were not a true reflection of her abilities Do you think that maybe her test put her ninth but on a day to day basis she doesn't perform as well and so isn't meeting the literacy criteria anyway?
Why do you say kept down? At dd's school they move classes there is no up or down mentioned.

yummumto3girls Wed 24-Jul-13 14:43:28

Zipzap - yes I don't think the teacher really liked my DD, she was always getting told off for things that she hadn't done (and for things she had done!). Other children would be messing around and because they would make my DD laugh she would be told off. She had excelled throughout school and always been above average, but certainly not top of the class, yet in this class it has ground to a halt and she has barely made one sub level progress in numeracy, despite me asking from September for her to be in maths booster groups but was told she didnt need it, surprise end of year very little progress. That's how all this started, I had a meeting to discuss her optional Sats results and why little progress so we could work together. Was told about a month before rest of class what class she was to be in, which obviously I kept confidential. I don't think this teacher works in the best interests of my child, or indeed gets the best out of my child. As next year is an important year for her I want her to have the best opportunity of succeeding, and that's not going to happen If she stays in this class.

Mrsz - the school told me she was 9th in Sats, so they can't have a criteria and then choose to ignore it, or at least explain to me why.

Just to be clear ALL classes are composite classes, so for her it's the difference from being in a mixed yr 5/6 class or a 4/5 class. I know they say it's not moving up or down but at our school there are some very clear differences between how a year 5 would be treated in one class to the other, which should not be the case. A year 5 should be treated the same wherever they are.

Anyway trust and confidence in the school has broken down and it's best we move on, that's until DD3 is due to start next year!

Kilmer - I know they can't teach to 11+, that's my job, but I can make sure that she is getting the best education to underpin this.

Thanks for all your comments everyone. We break up today, this situation has haunted me for 6 weeks now, on top of many other stressful issues. I'm glad we have made a decision and we have to stick to it, who knows whether it's the right one but that applies to us all. DD excited about new school and is spending the day saying goodbye, autograph book and camera. Off to collect her now, going to be very difficult and sad as have spent 8 years at the school since DD1 started.

GreenShadow Wed 24-Jul-13 16:59:50

This is why our primary school splits mixed age group classes purely on age, with no exceptions, however gifted the DC is.

There were some objections when they changed from an ability-based split, but it does stop the kind of issues above.

What they do do with very gifted children is sometimes move them up to the next class just for literacy or numeracy depending on their talents which seems to work.

clam Wed 24-Jul-13 17:37:44

I think splitting according to age alone is unnecessarily divisive. Why would you want to deliberately split good friendship groups if there's no real reason to? I mean, in any jumble-up there's going to be some collateral damage, but at least try to keep some groups/pairings together.

insanityscratching Wed 24-Jul-13 18:33:07

Plus isn't it better to take the children's personalities and needs into account? There are three y5/6 teachers in dd's school, the one whose class she has been in this year and will be next year has suited dd down to the ground. The other two whilst I'm sure are equally good teachers dd would have struggled with because one is very spontaneous and dd needs routines and calm and the other is very loud purely because he's a large man with a big voice. Dd's autism and sensory issues means that loud is painful to her. So splitting by age would have been disastrous for her if she had been allocated the "wrong" teacher.

GreenShadow Wed 24-Jul-13 21:49:23

It seems to work pretty well clam and insanity. I wasn't aware of any disagreement in my time there.

I think if everyone knows how the split will be implemented well in advance and it is not subjective, you don't tend to get complaints. Maybe they would make allowances for cases like your DD insanity, but I was never aware of any such requests while we were there.

NumptyNu Wed 24-Jul-13 22:45:01

Clam - our school deliberately split close friendship groups to encourage socialization. I still can't get my head around it, but am an amateur to this school lark (DD end reception). Isn't it natural to have a best buddy? Perhaps one of the pros can shed some light?

clam Wed 24-Jul-13 23:05:44

Sometimes there is a close friendship that has become unhealthy in some way - maybe one child is too dominant, or a parent has requested the children be split but prefers that request to be kept private to avoid awkwardness amongst the families. But other than that, if there's no problem in the pairing/grouping, why split it? Although once you've put all the names into the melting pot, it's a bloody nightmare to balance the classes. There are so many considerations (gender, ability, age, social needs, friendship groups, teacher expertise etc..) and sometimes you do have to split an otherwise nice group to make it all work.

ReallyTired Wed 24-Jul-13 23:28:22

It is hard for a parent to be realistic about their child's academic ablities. Some children will never be grammar school material and coaching them for the grammar or putting them in a private school does them a diservice in the long term. Most grammar schools take the top 20% of children at the very most. (In some cases its the top 3%) A child needs the natural intelligence to keep up with the fierce pace of learning.

My son's year 6 class had a HUGE range of ablitites. Thankfully his school has no mixed age classes. The bottom table count on their fingers and the top table are doing level 6 work. I suspect that a mixed year 5/6 class would not have that much bigger spread in ablities.

I think it would be horrible to make a split puerly on ablitiy. Year 6 girls children can be really immature and catty. Can you imagine the potential bullying in the playground of child A making fun of the fact that child B has been kept down a year for being thick.

MidniteScribbler Thu 25-Jul-13 03:13:54

OP, is that you're daughter is actually with the teacher that she hasn't clicked with, rather than the grouping she has been assigned to? In which case, that is a completely separate issue.

soapboxqueen Thu 25-Jul-13 07:47:23

I was going to say similar midnite. This sounds more like an issue with the teacher rather than the set up.

yummumto3girls Thu 25-Jul-13 13:43:48

Hi guys. Really interesting to see how other schools work and their criteria. I do think that if the criteria are clear, largely objective and transparent and clearly communicated to parents well in advance then chances of disgruntlement are reduced. If children who should be doing well are then not doing well that should be communicated so there are no end of term surprises in class decisions. Totally agree about friendships, some are unhealthy and need splitting up but surely in order to learn a child must be happy, and to most friendship is a huge part of that. There are 5 parents in this class that have complained so something has clearly gone wrong. Yes as much as I like the teacher as a person I don't like her as a teacher for reasons already stated. The decision is made now, school has finished, one tearful daughter and one equally tearful mum! Still we must look forward and be positive.

ShoeWhore Thu 25-Jul-13 15:39:02

I understand your dd has specific needs insanity but most children don't. And in a single form entry school you are stuck with whatever kids are in your intake and are taught by every teacher.

Our school rarely has to split years but when it does it is done by age - very hard to argue about. And very easy for the children to understand.

Agree with reallytired about the likely spread of abilities across a mixed v single year class.

NewNameForNewTerm Thu 25-Jul-13 15:46:08
insanityscratching Thu 25-Jul-13 17:56:34

I chose dd's school because of there being more than one class a year for that reason after removing dd from a small school. Dd's school works on getting a good mix of children with the right teacher rather than an age split and it seems to work there. Dd next year will be in a pure y6 class (because the school has been extended by two more classrooms) but with the same teacher so that will be new to her but don't anticipate any problems. Streaming and specialist teachers for other lessons means that the class is rarely taught as a whole class anyway tbh.

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