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Mixed age classes in ks1 - if you had a choice..

(10 Posts)
Asleeponasunbeam Fri 07-Nov-14 07:58:17

And it looks like I do have a choice here, would you prefer your summer born DC to be in a straight year 1 class or in a mixed y1/2 class, with the third class in the KS being straight y2?

It appears to be 'streamed' in that the mixed class is the (currently) higher attaining y1 and the (currently) lower attaining y2.

The new system itself has been decided, so I have no sway there, but I have been asked for my opinion on the placement of my own DD.

I'm heavily leaning towards the year one class. Familiar staff and most of friendship group. More creative and EYFS style learning. But there is a tiny (teacher) part of me worrying about whether I'm projecting...

Pippidoeswhatshewants Fri 07-Nov-14 08:02:57

Ds was in a mixed YR/1 class when we moved to the UK and he was in Y1. It was a blessing for him.
In your position I would choose the straight Y1 class, though. There is no need to push your child to be with the Y2s. Enough pressure on them already.

HappyAsASandboy Fri 07-Nov-14 08:08:49

I think the right decision depends on your child (sorry!), but with no knowledge of the child I would default to the Yr1 only class.

My DTs are due to start school next year an I am actively trying to avoid my catchment school, largely because the teach all classes at KS1 in mixed aged groups. I am not a teacher (though have had a long term relationship with one and seen the efforts taken to differentiate work across abilities) but I can't see how a teacher can be as effective for each child when the abilities span from not-so-capable-just-turned-5-year-old to highly-capable-very-nearly-7-year-old. It's just too big a span (IMO). One child was four a minute ago and one child is nearly seven! Obviously these are the extremes, but the principle holds.

If your DC is very bright and would benefit from the stretch that a bit of competition with the Yr2 kids might bring, then I'd consider the mixed class. But not if that meant that next year toe DC will be 'held back' by the new Yr 1 kids.

All in all, I think kids should be taught in year groups, though I am also an advocate of letting kids stay back/advance a year if that's what would work best for them.

<wanders off to lament that state education is going to be a frustration for the foreseeable future >

Recovering Fri 07-Nov-14 08:12:54

It's tricky. I already think yr1 should be more play based, so would tend to opt for yr1 (and I have a bright child). However presumably in such a small school you know the teachers. If you know their styles that would influence me too.

merlehaggard Fri 07-Nov-14 08:40:46

Year 1 is a bit of a jump up for any child - I can remember both my eldest moaning about having to be "work" and not just play! I would be a bit concerned about the year 1/2 class being even more so. Having said that, if your child is at the top end of the class and you felt would benefit from the challenge, I would consider it. My other concern would be that the following year, half the class would go up to ks2 without him - and that may well be his best friends. I think this would be my concern.

DeWee Fri 07-Nov-14 09:11:49

It depends on the child really.
Dd1 works well at the top end of the group. She then can be a little bit of a leader, and she always pushes herself academically. Socially she has always been slightly immature. So she would have been best in the straight year 1 class.
Dd2 is best at the lower end of the group. She likes to work hard enough to keep up with the middle/top middle. So if she was in the year 1/2 class she'd have been trying to keep up with the year 2s. Socially also she gets on very well, in some ways better, with the year above. She would be best in the mixed.
Ds would be the one I'd have struggled with the decision. He acts down to the worse behaviour often. Behaviourwise he likes to be just about good enough to scrape out of trouble. So putting him in with older ones might bring his behaviour more maturity. However if things get too tough for him in expectations/difficulty he can totally give up and not even try.

The other thing is that presumably the year 2 class is split similarly. So it will be the bottom end in with the top end year 1. That could have issues, in that the top end of year 1 may well be better than the bottom end of year 2. This could have the result of making the year 2s very resentful and feel it's not with trying, and the year 1s feel superior etc.

That would depend on the year group, and I doubt the teachers would give information on that.
If I think back to my primary days, my form didn't have a real bottom of the form group. In other forms they would have been middle of the form. They'd have mixed quite well with the top (who weren't brilliant) of the form below. The form above me was as a whole poor academically-our form was doing work above them from about year 2.

In dsis' form there were a group of 6 or 7 (45 in her form too!) that were really low ability (talking about hardly reading in year 6, and it wasn't for want of trying, the school was really good with low ability generally), and some of those had behaviour issues too. The form below had a group of 3-4 really top-scholarships to the local top schools type level.
Putting them together would not have made a good form at all.

iseenodust Fri 07-Nov-14 09:25:58

I would go with the majority friendship group. DS was put in a mixed KS1 class as Aug born but one of only 3 boys from his year. They were always a few minutes later/earlier to lunch (couldn't sit with friends from other class, playground games already started) & did PE at a different time etc so it wasn't good.

lljkk Fri 07-Nov-14 09:43:44

I have an immature summer born DS who is usually in trouble at school (behaviour), & tends towards above average attainment otherwise. I strongly want him to be with his gang of friends, whichever class they are in. Wouldn't give a toss about the yr mix otherwise. He could be in with reception as long as he was with his mates who anchor his behaviour.

Asleeponasunbeam Fri 07-Nov-14 10:02:47

Thanks for all your constructive replies. I had to make the decision before I read them but have gone for the straight year one class. My biggest concern was the mix of lower attaining y2 and higher y1, which I have expressed to the school.

Teacher, DC and I am all happy with the decision.

JennyBlueWren Sat 08-Nov-14 14:03:21

As a teacher who has had to split children between classes including composites it seems the streaming is the wrong way round. They should not put the most able Y1s up with the poorest Y2s as they will overtake them at somepoint in the year and this can have an impact on they Y2s self-confidence.
Rather I'd be looking at putting the most confident (not necessarily top ablility) Y1s up with average Y2s (not the top fliers but not those who need lots of support).
Your child should get the right support for them whichever class they are in. Parents often worry that a composite class will be repeating work but this should not be the case.

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