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Mixed classes again!

(29 Posts)
ellieding Thu 09-Jul-15 21:43:56


I know this has been talked about a bit but any reassurance would be appreciated.

My six yr old daughter is bright - ahead of her class. She is not 'gifted' in my opinion, just well stimulated; I haven't spent the last six years at home for nothing! She currently spends all her lesson time with a supply teacher because she is ahead of the current teaching.

Now I've been told next year she's moving from a full yr1 class into an age mixed class with only seven yr2s, the rest will be just yr1.

I'm fairly horrified tbh. She's working at a year 3 level and will now be in a class with kids just out of reception. I can't possibly see how this won't affect her. She says the teacher is going to get her to 'help' the other children but somehow I feel this still isn't fair on her own education. These kids will be learning basic phonics and numeracy, she is already reading Lewis Carroll and Dodie Smith and her mental arithmetic is very good.

I don't want to be precious about this but I just feel like it could be disastrous for her as a child who absolutely loves her school but was already bored by a year 1 level. I know they are meant to tailor it to their needs but I just can't see how this will happen at carpet time etc when they are getting their lessons. She will be repeating so much mundane stuff.


TheTroubleWithAngels Thu 09-Jul-15 21:57:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ellieding Thu 09-Jul-15 22:14:02

It is mixed because of age, you don't need to be unpleasant. Lots of parents find the mixed classes concerning. It's alright to be frank about your child's abilities isn't it?

TheTroubleWithAngels Thu 09-Jul-15 22:19:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Gileswithachainsaw Thu 09-Jul-15 22:20:32

fwiw I would be concerned too. I'm assuming kids have been mixed according to age so the oldest of yr one with ten youngest of yr 2 so there will still be a range of abilities. If your child's needs aren't being met than I fear that has little to do with class's mixing and more to do with a poor approach. She shouldn't be bored whatever her level is.

Can you arrange to see a teacher so yk7u cab find out what they plan to do?

fyi I'm. Sure op would have the same concern if her dd was to be placed in a class full.of kids older than her and was working below levels, wondering if her dd would get the support she needed them.

People always equate children doing well with being snobby or goady. Some kids are gifted. get over it. they deserve to have work differentiated rather than coast to make MN feel better hmm

ellieding Thu 09-Jul-15 22:27:22

That was meant to be tongue in cheek!

I didn't push her ahead! I did what came naturally to me as a parent! She likes school and she likes learning. All I am concerned about is her having a substandard year because of still being around twenty odd year 1s. I don't want her to be moved up or precocious, I just don't want her to be spending time listening to the yr1 curriculum again - who would want that? I just want her to have to opportunity that the other yr2s in a non-mixed class are having!

ellieding Thu 09-Jul-15 22:29:49

Thank you Gileswithachainsaw

CobblerBob Thu 09-Jul-15 22:30:43

Six years of you being at home doesn't necessarily make a bright kid... You do realise that yeah?

Anyway, my kids have been in mixed classes for years. I have an academic one and an arty one. Both thrived/are thriving. Both are/were in classes where there are a few really advanced children. Those kids are doing really well too. In fact this school has the best sats results in the county. It isn't about the classes but about the teaching and if teachers are able to do well in that environment. Mixed classes can work really well, with all levels of ability.

If you feel your daughter is so far ahead why don't you talk to the teacher to see if they agree and have solutions for her "boredom." Also, remember things change- my daughter was exceeding everywhere in year 1 and is bog standard now, except for art and literacy. It happens.

TheTroubleWithAngels Thu 09-Jul-15 22:36:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Gileswithachainsaw Thu 09-Jul-15 22:39:58


I think all you can do really is see what happens and raise any concerns if you feel she isn't being given the work/chance to work at her level.

It may be they feel she's very academic however socially and emotionally she would do better with the younger children.

It could of course, as with anything, the best thing ever or a huge mistake. I was held back a year in school and I remember not being allowed to do next level up maths books, and stuck having to help someone with tenor spelling rather than the teacher. bit that of course was many many years ago. am old now

I would say Continue your support at home and arrange to speak to her teacher the second she starts being left to coast.

It's no more acceptable to leave a kid unchallenged and bored as it is to leave them struggling and unsupported.

ellieding Thu 09-Jul-15 22:47:38

She has been going out of lessons for one-to-one certainly for this term but no-one has talked to me about this apart from her. Interesting what you say about the computer, she has been doing a lot of game challenges on the Ipad with this teacher which I was a little hmm about, but she says they do other things too. She really has loved her time with this teacher.

I know she is encouraged to help the other children when she is in class which she enjoys and the teacher in her new class has implied to her that she will do lots of helping and jobs with her but just seems strange that they have been doing this one-to-one and that she might have to essentially spend her time listening to year1 stuff again.

I am going to ask them about things, but was interested in other people's experiences too.

Gileswithachainsaw Thu 09-Jul-15 23:03:19

They may put her in with a group from the other class.

I would definitely be hmm about the ipad. She can do that at home it's a bit if a cop out really.

TheTroubleWithAngels Thu 09-Jul-15 23:06:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WhattodowithMum Thu 09-Jul-15 23:16:00

It sounds like your Dd is getting more differentiation/resources than would be the norm in a state primary. Our primary would provide much less, and doesn't even believe in setting tables.

That said, I understand your concern about a mixed age class. It's not ideal, but sometimes that's his the numbers work. Is there another class she could have been in? Would it have been any better?

Enb76 Thu 09-Jul-15 23:25:01

It's not as hideous an idea as you think. My daughter is probably similar to yours, she spends a fair amount of time cementing her knowledge by being paired with lower ability kids. She helps them understand what they are doing, has to find different ways of explaining concepts and lateral ways to work out problems. It's stretching her sideways rather than putting her so far ahead that she become disassociated from the year group.

It has really been good for my daughter. While she does do extension work she's also gained an unshakeable grounding in the basics from lots of different angles. She's gained leadership skills and an ability to explain everything she's doing rather than just knowing because it's the right answer.

I was really suspicious about my daughter 'teaching' but I have nothing but praise for it now.

ellieding Thu 09-Jul-15 23:27:08

Enb76, how genuinely reassuring. Great to know.

Enb76 Thu 09-Jul-15 23:45:43

However, any more phonics and she might explode.

ellieding Thu 09-Jul-15 23:51:08

Argh! It's true!

Millymollymama Fri 10-Jul-15 00:11:46

The new curriculum will stretch her more than the old curriculum. You should ask the school what progress they expect her to make this year and how they intend to meet her needs. They should have discussed this with you last year! I have seen children who are very bright work with older children for some of the time. Brilliant Mathematically gifted children who end up at Cambridge for example.

What is her writing and maths like? Are they as equally advanced in all areas of the curriculum? What "level" have the school assessed her ability as? She will not be doing y1 work. No school will repeat a year. She will be doing Y2 work but it should be extended. If she attains "mastery" in all of that, then look about spending time with older children. Do you know if she has "mastery" of all topics in KS1 for Engiish, Maths and Science? If she has, which I think us unlikely, then you do need the school to adopt a different approach so she can access KS2.

Out2pasture Fri 10-Jul-15 02:38:29

I have been through this exact scenario. If you speak to the head ask about the other 6 students in her year group and about the teachers plan to meet their needs.
In our case the students selected WERE NOT a well thought out mix which when pointed out lead to the school changing the plan of action.
However if it was the top 6 with your daughter and an experienced teacher it could be a wonderful opportunity.
Unlike adults kids can tune out background noise and the year 1 material would go in one ear and out the other while your daughter focuses on her assigned material.
But for obvious reasons the 6 students should be a nicely jelled group.

mrz Fri 10-Jul-15 06:53:35

Can I ask why parents think phonics is a problem ? We continue phonics throughout school and our level 6 readers find it just as useful as beginner readers

Enb76 Fri 10-Jul-15 07:24:20

In our school it's not differentiated at all so it goes at the slowest learners pace with a lot of repetition, as far as I can glean from my child. 10 minutes everyday of same old, same old is never going to appeal to a child who finds it easy. So she switches off.

mrz Fri 10-Jul-15 07:28:41


AliceDoesntLiveHereAnymore Fri 10-Jul-15 07:40:54

My ds1 is in a mixed class as that's what they have at his school. Academically, he is well ahead, but he is too young to move up to the next class. I had this issue with dd as well years ago. There is something to be said for development of social skills and leadership as well. Whenever my dcs have been in a mixed class, the whole class is not taught the same curriculum - year 1 (for example) is taught to their level and year 2 students taught to theirs. It's differentiated. I was offered the opportunity to move dd up a year when she was 7 and I refused. After some discussion, the school made some changes to allow them to academically challenge her more. She was already one of the youngest in the class, and I felt socially it would be a struggle for her. It was the right decision IMO. My parents made the same decision for me when I was in primary school. My cousin moved up a year at slightly older, and he really struggled with the social aspect when he hit the preteen years and it derailed the academics for awhile.

There's more to school than just straightforward academics.

Enb76 Fri 10-Jul-15 07:46:02

It's a class of 30 children, there's unlikely to be enough time to completely differentiate the phonics. When they get to 'English' it is differentiated. I have learned to pick my battles. I am not unhappy with the school and recognise that they have limits to what they can do.

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