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Mixed class worries, help me understand please

(3 Posts)
RaisinHell Thu 30-Jun-11 08:13:53

I am worrying about the whole mixed class thing which occurs in DS? school and I would like some reassurances from others who have experienced it.

It?s a village school with a PAN of 20, a few years ago it had falling numbers but in recent years (last 3) it?s been full and the actual intake has been more like 20 ? 23 ish. So the school is ?bottom heavy? IYSWIM.

This year my DS is in a class with his own cohort plus just a handful of kids from the year above, but for next year it?s looking like it?s going to be closer to a 50:50 mix of his cohort with the one above. Basically what happens is that the lesser able third to a half stay in the same class and the more able move up to join the lesser able kids of the year above. This seems to happen a lot in the middle years as Reception stays as just Reception and at the top of the school they put Y5&Y6 together.

I am worried about how they differentiate work across such a broad spread of kids? ability and stages. For example within a given year group I would estimate that there is more than a year?s difference in ability/progress between the kids at the top end and those at the bottom end of the class and from what I can see from my own DS work, the work is not really differentiated enough for the kids already without throwing in a new half of the class who are now supposedly working in a different key stage.

Can anyone please explain how this can work successfully as I am really unsure about it.

Also what happens when the current full KS1 classes get to the top of the school then in this case? We are talking of a combined group of 40-45 kids potentially, they can?t have a class as large as that presumably? So then some Y5 will be left in the class below potentially with Y3 and Y4?

As you can see I am really struggling to fully understand and get my head around all this, it is something that has worried me since day 1 at this school but until now it has not really affected DS.

spanieleyes Thu 30-Jun-11 16:48:52

I teach a mixed age class ( yr 5/6). Currently in ( for example) maths, my yr 6's range from level 6 to 2b and my yr 5's range from 5B to 2C. So there is actually very little difference in spread of abilities because of the combination of year groups. So mixed age classes do not necessarily mean more differentiation is required than in single age classes. Nevertheless, an experienced mixed age class teacher should be able to plan work sufficiently differentiated to meet any range of abilities-there are some schools with a R/1/2 class and a 3/4/5/6 where the range will be huge!
Usually we have R/1, 1/2 3/4 and 5/6 classes. Next year we will have to have R/1, 2/3, 4/5, 5/6 because of numbers -the 5' will be split by age but literacy and numeracy are set by ability! So when your "bulge" classses hit KS2 they will have to re-adjust the mix of years-perhaps 4/5,5/6 with 2/3 together. I'm afraid it's all down to numbers and budgets!

RaisinHell Fri 01-Jul-11 14:24:05

Spanieleyes, thank you very much for your reply (and sorry for the weird question mark punctuation all over my OP blush)

I am clearer now about the spread of abilities, that is a bit of an eye opener, over 4 levels wow!

I know about some very small schools which are as you say just one class for KS1 and one for KS2.

I am still worried about how it will pan out and I am sorry that DS' class will be split up as they are a nice bunch and get on well as a group sad

I think also that when the current KS1 classes get to KS2, the school will have no choice but to 'bulge' the extra bodies downwards and will end up more often with classes which could span 3 year groups (we currently have a 3/4/5 class but this is unusual) and ultimately that will mean a mixed YR/Y1 class which has so far never happened. People are attracted to our school because of the idea of only 20 ish in a class, but of course that only happens for YR.

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