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Year 1 and 1/2, how does it all work and is it fair?

(12 Posts)
Elliebelli Mon 29-Nov-10 02:05:00

My DD is currently at a school where children of the same academic year are split into different classes based on when their birthdays fall.

For example, there is a Y1 and a Y 1/2 where the older children from Y1 (those born between Sept-Feb) are placed in a class with children from Y2 (Y2 children whose birthdays fall in the summer) and that class becomes Y 1/2.

When the current Y1 children move into to Y2 in Sept, depending on their birthday, they may very well end up in a Y1/2 class where they are taught with children who are 1 academic year behind them (it's all very confusing).

Now, I was assured by the reception teacher that the whole system was very fair and the Y1 kids who were in the Y1/2 class would be taught the same stuff as those in only Y1, so those in Y1 would not be at a disadvantage.

I personally cannot get my head round how this arrangement can be fair. Firstly, if your children are placed in an environment with other older children, surely they get "brought on" by the older kids? Also, when the teacher is teaching the Y2 kids what they need to know from the NC, the Y1 contingent of the class are also learning it. Surely what Y2 is learning, rubs off onto Y1. For example, the Y 1/2 class will get taught to tell the time using the analogue and digital clock, where as the Y1 class only gets taught the analogue clock.

My DD's class will only get reading and spelling homework for the whole of Y1, where as regarding the Y1 group in Y 1/2,I found out that they are now also getting maths homework. And when homework is handed out, the Y1 section are given work allocated for their level, but do also have the choice to attempt Y2's homework if they wish. Well, the children in solely Y1 do not get that choice at all.

It is only in Y6 that the whole academic year finally comes together to form one class. So basically you have one group who has gone through their whole primary schooling being in a class with kids an academic year ahead, having access to lessons more advance than what is expected of their year and additonally more advance/ harder homework of they so wish.

Then you have an other group who would not have had access to any of the above, and on top of that, often find themselves in a class with kids an academic year behind.

I just cannot understand how it could possibly be a level playing field when they all meet up in Y6.

Sorry to ramble on. It's all very confusing. Has anyone ever had any experience of this sort of arrangement?

Many thanks, Ellie

chivers1977 Mon 29-Nov-10 07:27:29

At our school we have a year 1, y1/2 and Y2.

The mixed class is quite odd as it is the most able year 1s and the least able year 2s. Apparently all of the y2s in the class are on the SEN register and my son (y1) is the only Y1 child in the class on the register (due to suspected dyspraxia). Therefore apparently a lot of the y1 children in the class are performing above the y2s.

There is the same mixed thing all the way through the school at KS1, lower KS2 and upper KS2.

NappyShedSal Mon 29-Nov-10 08:26:45

Our school has mixed age range classes, but the children always spend one year being the older year group and then one year being the younger year group. Does that make sense? So it should even out over time.

wotnochocs Mon 29-Nov-10 09:14:13

Within the purely Y1 class there will be differentiation for the diffreernt abilities.There will be some working at Y1 level, some in front and some behind.
my experience is that normally kids are split by ability rather than birthday though, which would seem to be more sensible.

muddleduck Mon 29-Nov-10 10:49:57

not really sure what 'fair' means in this context.

In a way this is just a less extreme version of the 'unfairness' of putting children with birthdays either side of the September cutoff into different classes. All they are doing is trying cluster the kids by age so that the range of ability is (hopefully) not too wide. The kids will then be taught at an appropriate level within this (assuming the teacher is good). I'm amazed at the range of teaching that can go on within a single class. However they are grouped the range of ability can be huge at this age.

BTW agree with other posters that usually this is done on the basis of 'current attainment' level rather than on age. This is a more sensible, but is often more controversial as parents get upset if they child is not where they expected.

personally I like the way that our school does it. We have 3 classes all mixed year 1/2. Then the three classes are all regrouped within this for phonics/numeracy etc in a flexible way that allows for change during the year and different groups for different subjects. And the parents don't stress about it because the differences between the groups are less obvious.

taffetacat Mon 29-Nov-10 11:47:04

Our school has a split year system and its done on ability from Y1. Birthdate is much better at this age.

IME, it depends on the teacher and the children. For example, last year DS was a Y1 in a Y1/2 equal split by birthdate ( change only happened in Sept ) and a lot of the work they did was Y2 equiv as the Y1 children were on the whole quite able. In a class where thats not the case, there would need to be more differentiation. Then it comes down to how good the school and teacher are at identifying needs and differentiating work.

PixieOnaLeaf Mon 29-Nov-10 11:56:05

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PixieOnaLeaf Mon 29-Nov-10 12:21:52

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DiscoDaisy Mon 29-Nov-10 12:29:45

My DS is in a split yr1/2 class. There's 10 yr2 and 20 yr1 of which he is 1.
They were just chosen. There is no reason why they have been put in this class ie it's not age related or ability related.
My son is doing very well and it's not affecting him at all. The yr2 children do yr2 work and the yr1 children do yr1 work.

Elliebelli Mon 29-Nov-10 13:11:10

Thanks for all your replies,

I was just interested to hear other people's experiences.

Firstly they are definitely split according to birthdays and not ability.

There was a mum whose child was clearly one of the brighter kids in reception, yet currently is in Y1 rather than Y1/2 due to birthday. When the mother complained, she was told "it was not a private school and they did not select according to ability".

NappyShedSal- The arrangement your school has makes a lot more sense to me and seems a more equal system.

All I can say at the moment is that Y1 does not get maths homework, where as Y1/2 do.

Additionally,the Y1 group in Y1/2 have the choice to attempt the Y2 group's homework on top of their own, if they so wish. The kids solely in Y1 do not have this opportunity.

I suppose it's also lots of little things like; Y1 are given words to learn for a spelling test, and that's it; where as Y1/2 are given words for spelling tests but also have to make a couple of sentences using the words they have learnt. they do also get given simple comprehension homework, which Y1 do not get at all.

Yes, as Pixie says, in Y2 they would end up repeating everything again, however surely the fact they are stretched that bit more to start with would be beneficial rather than not?

If they were repeating everything again when they get to Y2, surely that would help to reinforce what they came across in the year before? And after Y2, they then move onto Y3/4 and once again with kids one academic year ahead.

I try to do work with my DD at home, but it's very difficlt with her being tired after school, reluctance to do it etc. I have found, if it's work set by the school, then she'll just get on with it.

PixieOnaLeaf Mon 29-Nov-10 13:33:42

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flickaty Wed 01-Dec-10 10:55:21

hi my dd's school have mixed age calsses but their are done acording to ability. Y1 is split and they and the few brightest are put in with Y2 and the rest stay in with reception for an extra year but do Y1 work and get things like spellings and maths homework which the recpetion children dont get.

For my dd it has worked out really well, as she she was ready for the more formal learning of the year 2 class. They are setted with in that class and their is overlap between year groups as the Y1 children are working at a higher level than the slower Y2's.

i dont thin that it is fair to set children accordinng to age though as 2 of the 5 children that have gone up have summer birthdays and it would have done them no good to have been kept back. And their are also children with autum birthdays who were not ready to go up and will benifit greatly from te more informal setting of the reception class.

They will all be back together again next year and will stay together as they go up the school.
so for my dd its the best thing but i would not feel this way if it was done by age.

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