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Are there guidelines for how often a child should be in a composite class ?

(11 Posts)
taylok Wed 22-Jun-11 13:12:49

Hi
I've got all this to look forward to as DS is just 4, but my nephew is being placed in a composite class for the 3rd year in a row; are there any guidelines as to how often a kid can be put in a composite class if a single year class is available ? And is there any guidance on the age range within a compsite ? I'd read somewhere it should be no more than 12 months ? We're in Scotland.
Ta much

hannahsaunt Wed 22-Jun-11 13:16:32

My ds1 will have been in a composite class for 6 of his 7 primary years. The only year not was P2 and thereafter it has been with the same group of children who have been kept together. It has been absolutely fantastic and we were strongly supportive, therefore, of ds2 being put into a composite. Advantage in Scotland too is that composites are capped at 25. I see no issue.

ASByatt Wed 22-Jun-11 13:19:00

I'm not aware of any limits?
Where I live, composite classes are the norm, although your post suggests that maybe things aren't working out for your nephew?

taylok Wed 22-Jun-11 13:25:37

No they aren't, he's in a class with boys almost 2 years older than him with distinct behavioural problems. I know its a sort of not in my back yard thing, but we feel he's been in there 2 years and deserves a chance at a regular class with his own friends. Oh well. ta

rainbowtoenails Wed 22-Jun-11 13:30:12

There are loads of rural school in scotland which only have composite classes so no to both your questions.

AMumInScotland Wed 22-Jun-11 13:33:25

DS was in composite classes all through, and some schools only have one or two classes to cover P1 to P7 so no there aren't any rules.

It sounds like maybe the school need to do more to reduce the impact of the children with behavioural problems though - his mum should maybe try to put pressure on from that angle.

RustyBear Wed 22-Jun-11 13:39:14

You couldn't limit the age range in a composite class to 12 months, as many single year classes will have an age range of 12 months less one day (in England, oldest child born 1 September one year, youngest born 31 August the next year.)

So if you had a composite Year 3/4 class this year, there could be children in it born between 1st September 2000 and 31st August 2002 - this is quite normal, and some schools have them all the time.

Hulababy Wed 22-Jun-11 13:46:06

It would be impossible to put a cap on composite classes and even age ranges to an extent. In some very small schools composite classes is the only way a school can function to stay open.

ASByatt Wed 22-Jun-11 13:48:14

I think that the issues you describe are a feature of that particular school/class/situation rather than being attributable to the fact it's a composite class.

JemimaMop Wed 22-Jun-11 13:51:37

Composite classes are the norm here. In my DC's village school there are 4 classes: Reception (from the term after they turn 4 until the September after they turn 5, so some children are there for 5 terms), Year 1/2, Year 3/4 and Year 5/6.

The very small primary school that I went to 30 years ago only had 2 classes: one for infants and one for juniors.

I don't see any problem with them. Any class can have some rowdy children in, regardless of age range.

Euphemia Wed 22-Jun-11 16:54:11

Composite classes seem to cause huge concern among parents, but they are a fact of life and with a good teacher they should present no problems academically or in terms of discipline.

Schools cannot choose how many classes to run each year, as the number of teachers a school is allocated depends on the school roll. So, for example, a school might like to have two P1 classes of 15 pupils but (except in certain targeted deprived areas), they would not be allocated an extra teacher and would have to look at one straight P1 class and perhaps a composite P1/2 then a straight P2 - so three teachers across those classes rather than the four that would be required if they had two P1 classes and two P2 classes.

Whether composite classes are necessary depends on the school roll each year, and given that schools don't know their P1 intake until fairly late on, they really have to plan as best they can and can't take into account things like how often a child has been in a composite class.

The only downside I have ever seen of composite classes is social, for example a girl in a P2/3 class I was a supply teacher in had been separated from her P1 friends who had gone into the straight P2 class. She was quite upset about it, and struggled to settle socially in the class. Academically, it works fine.

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