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mixed year classes

(11 Posts)
sleeplessinderbyshire Wed 14-Nov-12 13:00:13

Sorry if this has been done to death but I think my question is a bit different. Choosing primary schools for DD1 who is an August born child. We are lucky as looking at furthest distance of admission for 5 local schools we are well inside the line (like 2-3 miles for one or 2 of them) 1 I would never consider, one is an unlikely one and then there are the 3 Ofsted good/outstanding ones with the good academic reputations. Top contender is single form entry village school which we loved and friends have children at who are happy and achieving. I went to look at another of the top 3 today and have some concerns (hopefully she'll get #1 school but I do need 2 reserves)

They have an intake of 50 each year. They divide these into a reception class of 30 and a mixed reception yr one class. (OK so far sounds OK) but this splitting is done purely on age so the youngest 30 get pure reception, the older 20 get a class of 20 YrR and 10 Yr1s. Then through the school they split like this (on age alone) so my DD being august born would (after year R) always be in a class with 10 from her real year group and 20 from the lower year. The stas results are well above average (but then again it is in an affluent area and the less local kids have been sent here because their parents want a good education). The head was rather evasive (actually think an oily mix of tony blair and david cameron) about how well the younger kids did and kept telling me that statistically younger children will always do worse til aged 14 but that once they get to secondary school (the kids from this primary almost exclusively go to the big mixed local comp) the majority of his ex pupils are in the top 3 streams. He says splitting by age not ability is fairer on the children and the parents like it better confused

I realise class teachers always differentiate work within the class but have a I justifiable worry about DD being in the "wrong year" throughout her school career? I think if she were a winter/spring child I'd not dislike this school so much (but maybe I am being silly). SOme other stuff not to like there too but generally seems OK and have friends who rave about it (but they have Oct/Nov and march birthdays)

flakjacket Wed 14-Nov-12 13:09:24

Can only comment on how this worked for my child. She is July born was in classes just like the ones you describe until Y4. She is now in a mixed Y5/6 class because our school stop splitting by age then and just have three Y5/6 classes. I worried that she would be significantly behind the older children in the year who (in my opinion) had always had the advantage.

However, it has become apparent that she is in fact at the top of her year group and is one of less than half a dozen Y5's in the top Maths and English set with the Y6's. I have been pleasantly surprised and feel a bit guilty for whinging for th last 5 years blush.

iseenodust Wed 14-Nov-12 13:25:26

IMO avoid. A rigid DOB approach will work for some DC and not others. School may change to levels at some point, again will work for some. The group of 10 may become 8 if some families move. The group of 10 may feel like an appendage being squished in for some activities. Strict DOB allocation lead to significant gender imbalance which was a problem. Can impact on friendships - earlier/later into lunch & playground etc. Some summer DC more mature/able so while the head is saying statistically 14 that is absolute bollocks for others.

It's an approach which is useful to heads who don't want any discussion about classes every year.

DameEnidsOrange Wed 14-Nov-12 13:32:59

My DCs went to a small primary with mixed year groups - it wasn't however based on DOB.

The school said it was not based on academic ability either, they tried to keep a gender balance and tried to keep DCs with at least one friend, and this did seem to bear some truth as they often put Y5 children who struggled either academically, emotionally or socially in with Y6.

DS (sept born) has ASD and was always put in with the year below, but he progressed well and is (at 14) considered G&T at sciences and technology.

mam29 Wed 14-Nov-12 14:18:32

dds 1st primary she feb so was never in split class was in pure reception of 30 then year 1 of 30.

The 15oldest in year group 45 were in r1-they never got taught together or socially mixed.

Year 1 she lost her best freind from preschool through the split and combined with 15oldest many she dident really know.

Freinds dd was july born and her mum moaned she dident have that many party invites, she lost one of her close freinds, that the r1 class her youngest was in dident mix with year 1 socially in playground.

When freind has word with r1 teacher she said she had never seen the divide this bad that it was unque to dds year and tehy would try better to intergrate them.

However by end of year 1 the 13year 1 kids who were in r1 were very close and so were their parents very cliquey.

Going into year 2 the few older ones in year she got on with were split again. her younger freind rejoined but no longer wanted to play wit her.

It also become apparent that acadameically some of youngers 1s were ahead of majority of kids in the year 1 class and were on top table.The r1 class had less kids the ta would take oldest receoption to play and they would be taught smaller groups.

The 15 oldest in year 2/3 class meant to be on dob 2 were moved up despite being younger and 2held back

My dd was placed on bottom table next to no freinds of hers and felt rubbsh as she was lower level then youngest kids in year.

shes now moved to another mixed school.

shes 2nd oldest out of 10year 2s in a mixed year 1/2 classs o 20years 1s and 9year 2s in her class then class 3 has 10year 2s and 20year 3s.

However for science they taught as combined year group of 20.

phonics groups is based on ability so her group has some year 2s couple year 1s and couple year 3s so seems much more socially inclusive.

In old school she was middle of year new one cut off feb hence why shes now split.

MilkRunningOutAgain Wed 14-Nov-12 18:10:36

The set up you describe is exactly the one at my DC's school with the exception that the 10 yr 1s in the mixed yr 1 reception class were chosen because they needed a little more help, rather than by age.

Dd was in the mixed class as a yr 1, she needed the extra help and blossomed academically, after a yr r where she seemed to go backwards. She's now yr 2 and doing well academically. But socially it was not good, she felt separated from her year, plus got some teasing from yr1 's in the other class about being a baby and not being good at school work. This was quite negative for a shy yr 1 who was extremely aware that she was picking books from the same baskets as the yr r kids. Very few party invitations, didn't go on the other classes outings , and none were arranged to compensate, and has found it difficult to reintegrate back into a class of her own year socially and has few close friends. Another problem was that in the mixed class there were only 3 yr 1 girls, dd being one of them, and she hadn't played with the other 2 in reception. She did make friends with 1 of the girls, but it was more out of lack of options than choice.

Now in yr 2 she doesn't have that many friends and is shyer than when in yr r. Many of the yr 2 girls have firm friendship groups and dd isn't in them.

I think you are right to be a little concerned about this type of mixed class. Ask lots of question about how the children mix, go on outings, are able to keep in touch with the friends they make in yr r. My dd's school differentiated the work for the yr1s in the mixed class well, and dd made loads of progress, but socially it was a bad year for her.

rrbrigi Thu 15-Nov-12 11:04:58

I just wonder how it works. My son is a younger reception class with another 25-28 children. Then the school has one more class where they teach Reception and younger Year 1 children together. They have 45 children intake in Reception. But I cannot see what will happen in next year? Who will be in mixed class and who will be in straight Year 1? It is so confusing.

flakjacket Thu 15-Nov-12 11:22:37

Ask a teacher rrbrigi, it will either be split by age, ability, or 'socially' which will mean keeping friends together where possible and splitting up the naughty ones!

flakjacket Thu 15-Nov-12 11:23:07

I mean a teacher at your school, obviously...

mam29 Thu 15-Nov-12 18:01:42

rrbrigi-well ours old school was 45 so

30 youngest /reception
15 oldest in rception year in r1 with 15youngest year 1s

then year 1

30kids in class 1

thats The 15oldest in year that were in r1 combined with the 15middle of the year.

The 15youngest that were in rception then go into r1 with the 15oldest reception intake.

Bar cut off 31st augusts the mixed class is fairly close in age.

The mix changes every other year of that makes sense.

so then in year 2-dd lost some of her freinds who were 15oldest as they went into mixed 2/3 class but gained the younger 15 that were in r1.

Ors was sup[post to be based on dob but some years was ability.

Ask what they do in yours is best every school diffrent.

Littlefish Thu 15-Nov-12 20:14:28

My school has a 45 intake.

We have 2 x reception (22 and 23 children)

3 x mixed year 1 and 2 classes with 30 children in each.
3 x mixed year 3 and 4 classes with 30 children in each.
3 x mixed year 5 and 6 classes with 30 children in each.

This ensures that all the children in a key stage receive exactly the same curriculum. The three teachers work extremely closely together to plan and assess as a key stage. It works really well for us.

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