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Larger Reception Class with two teachers and assistants - any options, experiences?

(13 Posts)
lynniep Thu 09-Jun-11 22:07:55

Due to a c**k-up by our local council, of which I won't go into details, basically the reception intake for our catchment school this year (only) is over the legal limit for one teacher. There are 40 children. The school has been given extra funding to deal with the extra numbers.

Original plan was that they create two classes for this year, then 2012 intake will be back to normal.

However just been to first parents meeting and they've decided instead to create one large class. They are expanding the existing classroom (joining it with another room so essentially much larger space) as well as creating new bathroom & washing facilities etc.

They will have two registration groups, but apparently to all intents and purposes there will be one class, two teachers, and two assistants.

They made it sound very wonderful and happy families, but I'm a bit disappointed as I thought my DS1 was going to be in lovely small class, now it turns out he's in an extra-large one.

I'm glad they will have a 1 in 10 ratio for 'adult attention' but I'm not sure how the teaching will be done by both? (To be fair I dont know what they 'teach' or how they teach a four/five year old - I cant really remember that far back)

We will ask at the next meeting how this will work exactly (and about things like PE - will they have to have two sessions for this or get an extra teacher etc) but until then I'd like to know if anyone has any experience of this?

dikkertjedap Thu 09-Jun-11 22:26:23

I would ask them what a typical day would look like. For example, if there are 40 children and just one teacher was to take the register (probably twice a day, e.g. first thing in the morning and then after lunch break) it would waste a lot of time IMO. Would they group them in small groups to do phonics, numeracy, other activities. How would they group them? Would this be fixed, e.g. one group always with teacher, other always with TA or rotate? They might make it all work perfectly fine.

admission Thu 09-Jun-11 23:07:54

Much of the foundation year will be about discovery by play, so don't expect too much in the way of formal class work and they will also be outside a fair bit of the time.
Actually two teachers and two TAs should work very well in being able to support this learning, so I think it may well be to the benefit of the children in the larger class.

lynniep Fri 10-Jun-11 09:10:43

thanks for responses. there will be two registration groups of 20 - they said thats the only time of the day they will be separated, so I really dont know how the teaching day will pan out. As admission says a lot of it will be play-based - I just envision complete chaos (because thats what its like when I pick DS1 up from pre-school in the afternoon - and thats only about 20 kids lol)

HarrietJones Fri 10-Jun-11 09:25:20

Dd2 went through infants like this. It was actually much better than dd1s experience of a 1teacher/30 kids class.

If one teacher is off there is continuity.
Higher pupil/adult ratio
More chance of children working in groups of similar ability( more children to choose from.
More space per child if they are spread over 2 rooms.

redskyatnight Fri 10-Jun-11 10:02:16

DD's school effectively do this -they have nominally 2 classes but in practice 95% of what they do is mixed. works very well - it's meant DD has got to know her whole year, knows all the members of staff well (not just the ones for her class) and makes it easier for the staff to organise a range of activities.

acebaby Fri 10-Jun-11 12:14:27

I would try to find out what will happen after reception/infants. Will the higher ratio carry on? How will they manage the classroom size? Presumably, they can't expand every class in the school. What are the maximum numbers for junior school classes? Maybe they are assuming that a few children will leave...

bitsyandbetty Fri 10-Jun-11 12:17:24

It is fine. My dc's school has a 60 intake in reception all in the one larger room but split into 3 groups and the first year was a bit of a culture shock but they prefer the system and my DD was the second intake and she did really well because it allowed more factilities and breakout groups.

RosemaryandThyme Sat 11-Jun-11 17:52:20

Have a read of this weeks TES magazine - they feature a primary school class of 71 (yes really-seventy one !!!) and it would give you a good idea of how a large class day un-folds.
I too am in a similar position with my son entering an unusually large reception class but do think it might be manageable having seen this review.
Hope it helps.

mrz Sat 11-Jun-11 18:45:40
The point about the TES articles is that the children are Y3 and they aren't always in such a big group as there are periods when they work in much smaller groups and there are 2 teachers and 3 TAs per class

wicketkeeper Sat 25-Jun-11 11:02:51

I work as a supply teacher, and regularly spend time in one of these mega classes. My concerns are as follows -
1) it's very difficult for every adult to know every child well (I pride myself in knowing every child's name by the end of the first day with a new class - I can do this with a class of 30, but not 60!!),
2) making sure every child completes everything they need to do is a logistical nightmare and the teachers are in danger of disappearing under a sea of ticky boxes,
3) if it's such a good idea, why aren't we doing it with older kids? Or younger kids? We wouldn't have pre-schoolers in such a huge group, and we wouldn't have older kids in such a huge group, so why do we think it's OK with 4-5 year olds?

TheFeministsWife Sat 25-Jun-11 11:09:45

DD1's reception class was like this. There was 2 teachers and the class was separated into 2 classes of 30. They were all in 1 big class room that had different little alcoves were the classes were separated. They had toilets that they all shared. There was around 10 TAs though (literally) so every child has some help and was seen to pretty quick.

Elibean Sat 25-Jun-11 11:41:18

This is exactly what we had for dd1 - a 'bulge' class of 40, two teachers and two assistants. They did have two class rooms next to each other, and free-flow between them, but as dd2's reception class amounts to 60 kids (now double intake) in one huge room with a divider down the middle, I would think your ds's class will peaceful in comparison wink

There was anxiety from new parents with dd1's class, but it worked absolutely beautifully. Plenty of 1-1 attention, lots of friends to choose between, and invariably there is some drop-off in numbers during the course of KS1 (people returning to other countries, some going off to independent schools, some just moving to different borough).

I wouldn't worry about who is teaching what, the two teachers will sort all that out before term starts. I do think its more the adult-child ratio that matters, rather than small classes - too small, and it can be tricky for friendship groups.

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