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Composite classes Scotland.

(35 Posts)
Youranus Mon 25-Apr-16 14:04:32

I have a daughter currently in primary 1. Her class has around 14 primary ones and 6 primary 2 children. As next year's intake is low , (11 children moving up from pre-school) it will be another composite class. School breaks up for the summer holiday at the end of June. My child will either remain as part of that class or move up to primary 2. When am I likely to be informed which class she'll be in for the next academic year? Would be interested and grateful to hear other parents experiences.

blaeberry Mon 25-Apr-16 14:08:48

We normally get told on the penultimate day of term but there is quite a large number of transient families round here so much the school doesn't know numbers until quite late. Even then we're are told things could change over the summer.

Composite classes, like P1, are capped at 25.

blaeberry Mon 25-Apr-16 14:10:17

She would still be in P2 even if it is a composite class.

Friendofsadgirl Mon 25-Apr-16 14:12:08

We normally get told a few weeks before the end of term, with a disclaimer that the arrangements may change before August (they never have). DD was in a composite class when in P2, with 6 pupils from P3.
Sounds likely that your DD will be in a composite class again with those numbers of pupils. The DCs all get taught at the right level for their age and schools are well used to mixed levels/years. I used to worry about composite classes but from what I've seen, it always seems to work out ok.

FortyFacedFuckers Mon 25-Apr-16 14:15:02

At my DS school they aren't told until the last I'm pretty sure this is so by the time the gets get home & you open the letter the school is closed so that we can't phone to complain.

Crabbitface Mon 25-Apr-16 14:21:34

Our council's policy on composite classes states that where possible, a child won't be placed in a composite class two years in a row. Obv in very small rural schools this is impossible, but might be worth checking your own council/school policy.

TondelayaDellaVentamiglia Mon 25-Apr-16 14:21:49

our EA go by age...strict policy.

I think too many parents were trying to wangle their child into the perceived better class so they came up with the D.O.B as the decider, there's no arguing with that.

And same as sadgirl I think composite classes work really well in smaller schools, excellent socially as out of school activities often mean they already know children (and their siblings) who they might not usually, and in class as often children are mixing between levels suited to their progress.

Youranus Mon 25-Apr-16 14:21:55

Thanks blaeberry. Of course, she will be a p2 regardless of which room she studies in. School roll is fairly stable here, not too much fluctuation over the last few years, so hopefully we'll find out quicker than the day before the end of term!

Youranus Mon 25-Apr-16 14:35:34

Thanks to everyone who has replied. Crabbitface, I think that's unavoidable in our case as the school has only 4 teachers for 7 year groups. TondelayaDellaVentamiglia, I think splitting classes by age seems to me to be the fairest way for the children involved, but pretty certain they split by ability where we are.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Mon 25-Apr-16 14:39:42

It's done by age at our school. But our school only has 5 physical classrooms so DS has been in a composite more or less all the way through as he has a relatively larger year group. I can honestly say it's never been a concern and in many ways is a benefit - class sizes are capped at 25 which is great, and he has lots of friends from the two year groups above and below him, as well as his own group.

Crabbitface Mon 25-Apr-16 16:57:44

When you say it's split by ability what do you mean? More able P2's less able P3s or less able P2's more able P3's? It seems really random at our school.

Youranus Mon 25-Apr-16 17:29:38

According to our local councils guidelines, a group of pupils allocated to new classes should be working at similar levels in mathematics and languages. I would assume that the more able pupils from my daughters class will move to class 2.

TheTroubleWithAngels Mon 25-Apr-16 19:05:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Youranus Mon 25-Apr-16 21:44:52

Thank you TheTroubleWithAngels, 40 children enrolling during the holidays must have been a logistical nightmare for the Head Teacher! Our school roll is only 90 for all 7 years, so I'd be surprised if more than a few arrived during the summer break. Strangely enough, after starting this thread this afternoon, we were informed by the school that we'd hear where our children would be allocated in the first week of June. Last years parents were given the news via the report card, so seems likely that will happen this year too, as they are also scheduled to be sent out the first week in June.

FuckOffJeffrey Tue 26-Apr-16 19:49:41

My DD is in P2 this year and is in a composite P2/1 class. I was a little off with this initially when I found out last year - 2 weeks before the end of school. We also had a group meeting with the P2/1 teacher and the Head to discuss the details a week later. DD was in the top groups for everything in P1 and not the youngest so I couldn't understand why she was one of the 6 P2 children selected for a composite class.

I was told that she was chosen for her emotional maturity, she is very sensitive and takes a long time to warm to new people. Her teacher thought she would be happier working in a smaller P2 group than the big P2 class. She was also separated from a girl who was her friend, but would boss her around. Although the teacher didn't tell me directly, I'm pretty sure separating the two of them was a factor in the decision.

By going into the composite class she has had the same teacher for P1 and P2. The smaller P2 group has been great for her confidence. All of the other children in the P2 group are really nice. 3 have English as an additional language so require a bit more 1 on 1 with reading and DD and another 2 of the children are working at a higher maths level than the average for P2 and they do some extra work with the trainee maths teacher that comes into school twice a month. Overall I couldn't be happier with the situation and would be more than happy if it happened again for P3.

It's interesting to see how different schools decide who goes into composite classes. I'm sure when I was at school many years ago it was done on ability.

OneMagnumisneverenough Tue 26-Apr-16 19:53:59

In our area it was apparently done by dob but they also said they'd try to keep reading groups together where possible which makes sense I suppose where you have one straggler left in either class.

prettybird Tue 26-Apr-16 20:58:07

Ds started in a P1/2 composite class and then was moved into the P1 class after either the September weekend or October break (long time ago now so can't remember blush)

The school tended to have to shuffle composite classes all the way through primary school as it became ever fuller and it was the only way it could juggle the capacity.

At ds' school, language and numbers tended to be split into groups by ability, so they mixed between the classes regularly.

TheTroubleWithAngels Tue 26-Apr-16 21:06:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OneMagnumisneverenough Tue 26-Apr-16 21:34:20

Yes trouble but it is always like that in a class anyway, there will be a range of abilities and up to a 15 month age range (deferred children included) so it really doesn't matter where they draw the line, I think that it's always felt that it's better for them to be amongst their social peers rather than their academic but it does make sense if you are left with 1 P2 in a higher reading level than the rest of the class to move up to the P2/3 rather than the P1/2 just for logistics. Though to be fair in our boys primary they had kids flying about to different classes for their maths and english so it probably doesn't really matter.

TheTroubleWithAngels Tue 26-Apr-16 21:59:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OneMagnumisneverenough Tue 26-Apr-16 22:14:18

Yes smile

I know one year they had a particularly troublesome P7 class so they ended up with two P6/7 composites so they could keep certain kids apart!

Also when in about p4 or 5 there was a girl in my elder sons class that everyone thought the sun shone out of, she was a nice enough girl tbh but she had the halo effect in that they thought she was brilliant, was constantly sent up to P7 for reading etc.

Then they did a standardised reading test. She came out with a score of about age 13, pretty good going for a 9/10 year old. Quiet, shy, bullied Ds1 got age 15 grin

Funnily enough after that they reshuffled the groups and there were 3 of them in the class that were doing well in reading so they now had their own group in their own class (and Ds2 from the year below came up to join them since he scored 13 and a half smile )

Youranus Tue 26-Apr-16 22:30:28

Thanks again to everyone for their replies. My daughter started reading just before starting P1, is now fairly fluent and is in the more advanced reading group. Not too sure where she is in mathematics, but her teacher says she has no worries. Her birthday is late summer, so neither one of the oldest or youngest, but as FuckOffJeffrey has pointed out, she may still be chosen to remain in the P1 classroom. I agree TheTroubleWithAngels, that DOB is not always indicative of ability though, but surely selection by age is better for the self esteem of the children remaining in the younger class. I worry how her confidence would be affected if she was to remain in her current class for another year, whilst watching friends move up to the next class.

FuckOffJeffrey Wed 27-Apr-16 00:21:57

I understand what you are saying Youranus. I went through the same thoughts last year and DD was sad at first that she didn't get to move up with her friends. In the beginning I did have to remind her that she was still in P2 and not P1. (I think there were some playground comments amongst the children).

By October week everything settled down and DD was saying things like she was special because the teacher had chosen her to stay. The 6 P2's in her class do all have a close bond now but still mix with the other P2's at lunchtimes, break times and other activities. DD likes being one of the older children in class and judging by the amount of party invites she has gotten (far more than last year), the P1's like her.

It really isn't all that bad once you get used to the idea.

On the subject of age I do agree that it makes sense from the child's perspective if it is done by age. Doing it based on the individual child's needs rather than age is surely better isn't it? Some of the younger P2 children are brimming with confidence, but others (like my daughter) are still a bit shy and lacking in self confidence. To me it makes more sense to forget age and work out who would benefit most from a composite class vs non composite class.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Wed 27-Apr-16 10:09:53

Honestly, there are no self-esteem issues in our school based on who is in what 'slice' of a composite class. I think you're anticipating that if DD stays in the P1/2 composite she'll feel she's been 'held back a year' like they used to do for children who were behind, nothing could be further from the truth. It's simply presented as 'this is how we organise things', the P1s and 2s will be separate at some times and together at others and the work will be differentiated.

She will still 'move up' to P2 because she will be a P2. In the kindest way, I think you need to be careful that you aren't passing on any subtle messages that her confidence should be affected.

I know it seems like a big deal, but I promise it really isn't - and with the capped class size and increased focus on differentiation, it's actually a positive imo.

Youranus Wed 27-Apr-16 10:47:17

Thanks FuckOffJeffrey and LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett. Glad to hear you're both having positive experiences. Her Dad and I have a strict rule on not discussing the issue when she's around, but yesterday, she was told in class that they would be having a trial day in their new classrooms mid June. We've told her she will be extremely lucky either way as her current teacher is wonderful as is the potential new p.2 teacher. We then told her that there is not enough space for all the children in the new class, so some will remain in her current class for another year. She seems happy with this so far. Like FuckOffJeffrey has experienced, there was some playground chat last year that upset both the children and parents of last year's class, but as LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett has said, it's likely to have come from parents discussing too openly their concerns in front of the kids.

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