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class mixing, not happy

(26 Posts)
jollymollie Mon 04-Jul-11 19:57:59

dd2 has just brought a letter home about her class for September. She is currently in reception and will either go into a mixed reception/yr1 or mixed yr1/2 for September. She is the oldest child in her class and is very advanced in reading/maths. The teacher has told me she is mature for her age. They have put her in the mixed reception/yr1 for september. This means she will be in a class with children 2 years younger than her. In the letter sent home it said the decision was based on friendship groups/academic ability and maturity. Well all of her closest friends are in the Yr1/yr2 class, she is very mature and very academic. I am angry and at a loss to see how this will benefit her. She has been told at school by her teacher that she has been put in that class to ' look after the little ones!' I don't send her to school to look after anyone but to learn. I know lots of parents are unhappy about the mix but I really can't see how this is in her best interest. Btw school have made a mistake with the class mix in previous years and actually admitted to it, so they're not always right!

Rosebud05 Mon 04-Jul-11 20:05:00

There have been a few threads about class mixing here recently. It's that time of year.

In this case, I would ask the teacher/head the rationale behind the decision and talk it through with them. Presumably she won't be the only year 1 in the class and not all the reception kids will be August babies - almost 2 years is the maximum difference, to be fair to the school.

vnmum Mon 04-Jul-11 20:07:46

Going off your post, I wouldn't be happy with this either. It seems that everything the school has said they based the decision on is completely opposite to what they have done with regards to your DD's age, ability etc.
Is there any chance of appeal?

Taffeta Mon 04-Jul-11 20:16:55

Either they aren't telling you something or they have made a mistake. Ask for a meeting and ask them to explain their rationale.

jollymollie Mon 04-Jul-11 21:38:01

thanks for the replies. I am going to speak to the teacher on Wednesday and if there is no satisfactory response, request a meeting with the headteacher. I don't generally make a fuss about these things but in this case I am really not happy.

RaisinHell Mon 04-Jul-11 22:19:29

Jollymollie, good luck with your meeting, I would be feeling the same way too. I hope you get an explanation which you are happy with. In our school this kind of thing happens with a handful of kids annually, the parents go in to challenge the decision but the school has never changed a class allocation, we probably lose a couple of kids each year due to this.

skybluepearl Mon 04-Jul-11 23:04:14

I'm not sure if your DD will be moved classes but wanted to let you know what happened to us.

My school uses 3 mesures - age in the year group, academic ablility and confidence. My bright son was academically able and born middle of the year. He stayed in reception classroom due to confidence. Had it been based soley on ability/age, he would have gone into other classroom.

While in year 1 (in reception class) he did year 1 work - not reception work. The main difference between year one in reception room and year one in other classroom was slightly MORE play (yay), slightly LESS time spent writing (suited son as he didn't enjoy written work at that point) and MORE maths work?!? He continued to be in a MORE 'held' environment also.

He became a free reader part way through the year and then left the class having made made huge strides in maths. He was also much more confident having been the older child in the class. He was able to shine and take the lead when previously the louder children had dominated floor time etc.

When the class got back together in year 2 he slotted straight in and returned to the top sets. For a short time (5 months?) the ones that moved up seemed to write a little more but it has made no long term difference at all. Son is now in year 3 and on reflection i am glad he stayed with reception teacher.

What i would say is that your DD is still very young and that she has a whole life time of schooling in front of her. Why not let her enjoy a more balanced year 1 that involves a little more access to the reception toys. She will still be covering the year 1 work I am sure. You can always ask how they are going to do this if you have any concerns.

I must add that some of the parents used to say their child had 'gone up' while my child was 'staying down'. It really was an odd thing to say as both groups were doing the same work. They maybe thought of their child as being better maybe? Their kids however were really exhausted through year one and quickly lost some of thier enthusiasm for school.

PeppaPigandGeorge Mon 04-Jul-11 23:12:43

This was done many years ago when I was at primary (earlt 1980s). I don't know if the method of teaching (i.e. doing age appropriate work) has changed but I do know a lot of the children in the younger group went on to fail or do badly in maths GCSE many years later. These were kids you would have expected to do well.

colditz Mon 04-Jul-11 23:22:30

Is she REALLY 'very advanced' in English and Maths? cos to be honest, my friend thought that about her daughter and was furious when she was put in the R1 class, but now she's in Y4 it's as clear as the nose on your face that she's not very bright, and had actually been very well hothoused by her mother throughout nursery. Good on the school for spotting it, to be honest.

MM5 Tue 05-Jul-11 05:19:02

Honestly, there is too much concern over mixed aged classes. Teachers know how to teach mixed ages and teach the appropriate curriculum for the needs of the individual children. A child in a R/1 class gets FAR more small group and one to one support than a pure 1 or even a 1/2. This is due to the free flow provision of the reception children and the teacher really being able to focus on a year 1 child's learning. We have had some of the brightest children in R/1 that were mature but not very confident and they have moved on to pure year 2 classes and beyond without a hitch. Don't get hung up on the mix of the class. Support the individual learning of your child.

BTW... at my school, the class lists are thought about A LOT and we never have had a child move classes because a parent wanted them moved. There have even been some parents who have gone to the LA over classes and even they wouldn't make our HT move the children. In the end, most parents do find out it was the right decision. The children who don't settle into their new class are those parents that go on and on and on about it at home and it gets stuck in the child's mind that they are being hard done by.

jollymollie Tue 05-Jul-11 06:06:03

it's really not that at all! I know from previous experience the decisions can be wrong. DD1 was put in the older class a couple of years ago. She was sensitive and a June baby, so was one of the younger ones. Definately not confident. The YR1/2 class was made up of 4 girls and the remainder were older boys. I knew it was a mistake and voiced my concerns. No, the teachers knew best I was told. She went on to have a miserable year at school. At the end of school year the teacher told me that yes, in fact they had made a terrible mistake with the classes that year. This hardly fills me with confidence. Another point which I didn't make earlier but which is also bothering me is one of the teaching assistants at the school has a child in reception. (she used to one of the mum's i spoke to before becoming a TA). She came up to me in June and told me that the class lists had been compiled and dd2 would be going into the YR1/2 class. Her son had been put in the R/Y1 and she voiced strong concerns that the children do badly in this class and don't learn very well. When the letters were given out yesterday her son had gone into the YR1/2. I'm not sure the relevance, I certainly didn't ask her for any information about the class groups as she does not even work in the same KS as dd2 but obviously seems to be privvy to the discussions. I strongly feel that this class is too focused on play. My daughter has a few years at nursery and has gone through a year of this in reception. She is ready to move on to something more structured. I say she is bright because that is what I've been told by those who teach her and the reading level she is on, I'm not basing this on my own opinions. As far as confidence goes she is certainly not lacking in that!

MollysChamber Tue 05-Jul-11 06:20:22

She isn't being kept back. She is still in year 1 and should be taught appropriately by her teacher. If you feel that this is not happening through the course of the year then obviously speak to the school about it. The only reason I would be concerned would be if her close friends were in a different class but tbh, even then, kids at this age make friends very easily.

Rosebud05 Tue 05-Jul-11 08:22:35

The conversation with the TA puts another slant on it. She shouldn't have been disclosing this information in advance.

I'd mention this to the head as well, tbh.

coccyx Tue 05-Jul-11 08:29:41

Maybe other children are just as bright and mature???? she won't do reception work and doubt it means she won't get into university she/you wanted.
We had this at our primary school and one parent was seen crying in the car when she found out her, verging on G&T!!!!, daughter was staying down. Ridiculous

Rosebud05 Tue 05-Jul-11 12:39:44

It's not helpful to talk in terms of 'going up' and 'staying down'.

ragged Tue 05-Jul-11 13:17:42

Just get a meeting to express your concerns, OP. There may be things you don't know about (that's what happened to us with DD).

jollymollie Tue 05-Jul-11 20:49:36

I had a meeting today with the head who couldn't give me any good reason as to why she has been put in this class and she is reviewing it. She could see my point and as I stated before my other daughter had a very unhappy mixed year due to the way they split the classes (she was mixed with the older children when she really wasn't ready and should have stayed in the younger class) but I just accepted it at the time thinking they knew best. Even the teachers in that case admitted they had made a mistake at the end of the year! The school do not always know best and I am glad they are reviewing the situation. Will post the outcome as and when. I am not saying dd2 is g&t by any means but she is a mature and able 5 year old who will be nearly 6 by the time school goes back. I really don't think being in a class where a lot of the children are 4 is in her best interest. Maybe if she was really struggling in some way or really lacking in confidence but she isn't.

Rosebud05 Tue 05-Jul-11 21:19:35

That sounds quite constructive. Though I do think it's a bit crap that the school hasn't any good reasons for how the classes will be mixed, as these decisions are supposed to be very well thought out.

Scholes34 Wed 06-Jul-11 12:33:04

A mixed class in an infants school won't be taught as one whole group, so the fact that she's nearly 6 and has 4 year olds in her class isn't really an issue. The fact that she's not with her friends is probably the real issue for you.

ragged Wed 06-Jul-11 12:38:18

It could come down to numbers, they thought your DD could cope and the others needed to be together in other class.

skybluepearl Wed 06-Jul-11 19:26:11

If she stays in reception room don't worry - she will be doing year one work what ever room she is in. Made no difference to my son in top sets..

Lonnie Wed 06-Jul-11 20:03:49

Does the school keep them set in the two classes for the rest of the year or is the a "second lot" that goes up later on? If the latter then perhaps you could see what happens until then?

In the primary my youngest are in they keep about half the class in the R/y1 year and then at halfterm 4-5 further go to the Y1/Y2

jollymollie Thu 07-Jul-11 16:06:49

I've just been told they've swapped her class. DD is delighted. I have also been told they felt the original decision may not have been the correct one for her. Very glad I addressed the issue and really grateful to the school for taking my views into consideration. Thanks for all your responses.

startail Thu 07-Jul-11 16:20:17

grin very happy for you and your DD and what a good school to accept that they are human.

DD1s secondary sorted out their dense setting with a gentle prod. There is never any harm in askingwink

jollymollie Thu 07-Jul-11 16:34:08

thanks startail. I'd been told by others that there was no point in asking them to reconsider as these lists are set in stone so I am really pleased how they have responded.

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