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How are Reception classes divided up in a two-form entry school?

(20 Posts)
MamOfTwo Fri 08-May-15 12:59:46

Just wondered how Reception classes are divided up if children are going to a school that has two-form entry? Are they divided on age so each class has a wide age range? Would siblings get placed with a teacher who has previously taught their older brother or sister? Would teachers talk to their nursery/pre-school to find out their friends and try to place them with at least one friend? I know each school is different but would just like to hear experiences...

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Fri 08-May-15 13:05:09

DS2 went to a school where the allocation was fairly random. A mixture of birthdays, abilities (if ability was known - mainly from the children who had attended the pre-school class). Very close best friends were usually separated on purpose to encourage them to play with/talk to other children.

DD is starting Reception at a different school in September & it is done purely on age. They have a PAN of 45. The eldest 15 will be in a class with the youngest 15 of Year 1, as they will be closer in age to summer born Year 1's than to summer born Reception children. DD has an August birthday & will be in a purely Reception class for her first year & then a mixed Year 1/Reception class for Year 1.

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Fri 08-May-15 13:06:43

So, the message is, different schools do it in different ways grin.

Are there meetings, transition sessions etc.? They should be able to tell you then.

AuntieStella Fri 08-May-15 13:09:26

I can only speak for ours, which typically has about 50% moving up from own nursery.

They split those between the new classes (trying to move everyone with at least one friend) and they definitely aim to balance the numbers of each sex and have a spread of birthdays (not oldest/youngest) together.

If parents ask for a particular teacher (eg based on sibling experience) they'll listen and try to accommodate, but no guarantees on that one.

AFAIK they ask parents of twins if they want them together or separate, and go with parental preference (if none, they separate).

Quite a few new joiners come from one nearby local private nursery. I know the school is in touch with them, but don't know how far it affects how they group the new pupils.

coppertop Fri 08-May-15 14:02:16

At ours the teachers visit the local nurseries and preschools to meet the children. They usually try to put the children with at least one friend when they start school. My dd1 was put in the same class as the other child from her preschool.

Not sure how they divide up the rest though. It looks as though they aim for a balance of girls/boys, ages, SN, and EAL.

MamOfTwo Fri 08-May-15 16:10:35

Thank you for the replies. What does EAL stand for coppertop?

slippermaiden Fri 08-May-15 16:11:44

My two (twins) started reception in a class with them friends from nursery, the teacher said they tried to make sure everyone knew at least one friend.

coppertop Fri 08-May-15 16:57:57

EAL = English as an Additional Language. So children whose first language isn't English.

Millymollymama Fri 08-May-15 17:19:52

I think there is an element of prior attainment in the mix too. In the first year of Early Years, children are assessed as to what they can do. In order to run as a registered setting, a nursery should do this. The information then goes to Reception. It is then used to balance the classes so that not all the advanced children end up in the same class. Likewise with the less advanced. I think parental preferences are not high on the agenda and some schools ignore birth dates too. It is more about what the child can do although emotional maturity is part of this.

DarylDixonsDarlin Fri 08-May-15 17:25:02

Ours was a random mix of ages, but they did try to keep friends together - we had to specify which pre school they'd come from, and name 3 friends of the child. Other than that it was generally mixed - 45 children, split over 2 reception classes.

WombatStewForTea Fri 08-May-15 17:37:15

Ours is fine purely on age. Oldest half go into one class and the younger ones go into the other (both small classes). We do this all the way through the rest of the school where we are 1 1/2 form entry rather than 2. Apart from in very rare cases where difficult characters are separated. It's good as parents can't complain about favouritism etc. and they just have to lump it.

Wigeon Fri 08-May-15 18:40:40

In my DD's school, I think they try to make sure that there are roughly similar ratios of boy/ girl, spread of birthdays through the year, and SEN (Special Educational NEeds) or behavioural difficulties.

I am almost 100% certain they don't work out if Teacher A had a child, they also get their younger brother / sister. I am also pretty certain they don't put children with their friends - I don't think they know this iunformaton or make any attempt to find it out. I'm not entirely sure whether they divide the children who went to the school nursery (one form) between the two Reception classes or not.

2cats2many Sat 09-May-15 08:00:10

A teacher at our school said that they first tried to divide equally any children with known SEN and behavioural issues. Then it was a case of trying to get an even mix of ages and genders while taking into account and requests for friendship groups to stay together.

zingally Sun 10-May-15 11:37:14

Speaking as a reception and KS1 teacher, this is how most schools split classes:

- If a teacher has an association with a family, usually through having taught a sibling, that teacher will generally get the next one.
- Equal mix of ages, so you don't end up with a class-full of September birthdays, and the other full of August babies. That's not fair on either teacher.
- Equal mix of genders.
- Equal mix of SEN, although if one teacher is vastly more experienced than the other teacher, generally they will take any child who has already been made known to the school as either particularly difficult in terms of behaviour, or has an unusual or serious special need.
- In some cases, friendship groups are kept together, sometimes not. Schools generally work on advice from the nursery on that one. Particularly if the nursery says one in the pair is particularly dominant of the other, or one relies on the other too much.
- Twins (or sometimes children from family groups, such as cousins) are decided upon with input from parents. In my experience though, most families want them split up so the children have some independence.

MamOfTwo Sun 10-May-15 14:17:26

Thank you all, particularly zingally for taking the time to post. I feel better informed now!

Wigeon Sun 10-May-15 14:50:17

With keeping the same teacher teaching siblings, in our school there has been quite a churn of teachers (either ones leaving, or changing which year group they teach), so I very much doubt my DD2 will have any of the same teachers as DD1 did (and they are three school years apart).

TheWildRumpyPumpus Sun 10-May-15 14:53:03

Alphabetical for us, with a bit of fiddling to get a balance of boy/girl in each class.

BackforGood Mon 11-May-15 15:33:17

I've taught in a few schools, and had dc at others, and I've never heard of the fact you've taught an older sibling being a deciding factor - how odd!

Personally (speaking as a 3rd child) I know for sure, that, given a choice, I'd choose to have a teacher that had never taught anyone in my family before - any opportunity to be just judged as 'you' and not your siblings, to be welcomed. That's the same for my dc too. But in all honesty, I would not expect a school to ask me which class I would like my child to go into.

That said, I've never come across a school where they have pandered to "I'd like..." requests from parents either - completely different if there are valid reasons but not "I like Mrs X but don't like Mrs Y" type conversations. Surely no school does this? there was a long thread in this last week where a poster asked if she could ask if her dc didn't get put in the shouty teacher's class, and it went on for several pages, but the overall summary was - don't do it, you'll look like a loon'.

My experience, as a teacher, is that schools want the classes to be fairly even though, so would agree with everything Zingally said, EXCEPT the first one. smile

ebwy Tue 12-May-15 14:17:37

I have no idea how the two reception groups are split in my son's school. It's not by age, as there are birthdays spread through the year in his group. It doesn't seem to be by ability either. It's not keeping friends together.

We did ask that he be kept in the same one as his friend (who has selective mutism) as he does better with someone he knows from outside school there and it's best for her to have someone she can speak to available to her in case she needs it - her mother and I asked together. And they were kept together, but it wouldn't have been the end of the world if not.

I'm guessing it's a split so that each group has some of the kids with certain needs etc in but otherwise fairly random.

WhenMarnieWasThere Tue 12-May-15 22:25:23

In my DD's school, the morning nursery group went into one class and the afternoon nursery group went into the other class.

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