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Composite classes - reassure me it will be OK!

(14 Posts)
starrychime Thu 26-May-11 18:21:58

So found out DD's school will be doing composite classes for her year next term. She will be in P4. Classes will be 3/4, 4 and 4/5. How will they work things out do you think - will it be age, ability, will they take friends into account? DD would be devastated if she wasn't with her friends she's been with since P1 any more. Some of the youngest in her class are also the most able I think and some of the oldest aren't. Assume it won't just be an age thing will it?

MmeBlueberry Thu 26-May-11 18:27:32

I would imagine that there will be a lot of mixing with the structure you have described.

At the school I teach in, we don't have composite classes, but do have very small classes. We put some of these classes together for some lessons, and the result is that all the children know each other very well.

Mixed classes can be quite a good way of setting students. The QCA does produce schemes of work for composite classes, so it has all been well thought out and tried & tested.

BarbarianMum Thu 26-May-11 20:16:05

They do this at ds1's school. All I would say is that none of the parents of the younger children (reception, Y1,Y2) like the idea but none of the parents whose children are doing it have a problem. I don't know exactly how it works but it does seem to.

admission Thu 26-May-11 20:37:08

A very large number of schools run mixed year group classes, so do not be concerned about it. What you do need to check during the school year is that the work is being properly differentiated so that your child can make as much progress as possible, rather than the whole class being driven by the pace of progress of the lowest performing pupils

RoadArt Thu 26-May-11 20:40:01

Composite classes can be good for social skills. The older ones become leaders and supporters. The next year the youngest become the oldest and they become the leaders.
Grouping/ability is spread across the whole class exactly the same way as it would be in a single year
A lot of schools do it so it must work. Works fine in our school.

Our school doesnt set on ability or age, it is completely random, and more often the children are selected on their dynamics, which kids will work together, which teaching style will suit that child best etc.
They deliberately dont set on ability so that parents dont start getting stroppy.

In a way though it contradicts all the reasons why you should never move an academic child up a year because of social skills

DownyEmerald Thu 26-May-11 22:33:49

Who goes on to the 1/2, and who stays with R/1 is done on development. After that (3/4 and 4/5) it is done strictly on age.

handsomeharry Thu 26-May-11 22:49:12

Not necessarily Downy. Different schools have different criteria - and I suspect the OP is from Scotland as she mentions P4 rather than Year 3.

IME of schools in my area it can be friendship groups, ability groups etc. My DS was split from his two best friends in P3 and TBH it was the best thing that could have happened. He still seems them every day in the playground but is his own person in the classroom.

Sylvaniasandwich Fri 27-May-11 16:07:25

DD nearly went to a school that does this. I thought it sounded like a very weird idea but asked my mum (ex head of a very successful school). She said it can work brilliantly and she had wanted to introduce it at her school.

I would imagine that the classes were mixed by ability rather than age.

LindyHemming Fri 27-May-11 18:57:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bumply Fri 27-May-11 19:09:55

DS1 managed to get through school never being in a composite class, but DS2 has been in composite classes after P1 (which they try to keep separate).
In the boys school splits seem to be done by age, so DS2 is the youngest P5 but gets to socialise with the oldest P4s who are in the P4/5 class.
Not sure if it's Scottish schools or just our school, but composite classes can't be larger than 25 whereas the single year classes can be up to 31 (P3 and onwards) so there's another benefit to being in the composite.

neverforgethowmuchiloveyou Fri 27-May-11 19:59:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AMumInScotland Fri 27-May-11 20:28:26

The legal limit is 25 throughout Scotland in composite classes, which makes up for the wider range to differentiate over, so you will definitely benefit from the smaller class. DS was in composite classes all through pirimary and it worked very well - the teachers all made a lot of effort to differentiate, and were flexible about children going into groups in other classes for some subjects if that fitted them better.

In DSs school it was strictly by age - largely I think to avoid any argument from parents about why some children were in the higher or lower class, as it's not up for debate if it is simply by date of birth.

DownyEmerald Sat 28-May-11 20:26:39

I did mean in dd's school obv smile

thejaffacakesareonme Wed 08-Jun-11 11:32:59

I've just heard this morning that DS1's year group is to be split into three next year - p2/3, p3 and p3/4. He is one of the youngest in the year and if it is to be decided on age will be in the p2/3 group. That class will have 15 p2's and 7 p3's. At present he is in the top groups for reading and maths. Am I right to be concerned that if he is put in with the younger kids that his learning will suffer, as the teacher will be likely to focus on the p2's since there are more of them?

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