mixed year groups on KS2(8 Posts)
DS is at a small village primary in year 3. Next year, the whole school is moving to mixed year classes - 3/4, 4/5, 5/6 etc
Anyone got any experience of this? DS will be (I suspect) in year 3/4 due to his ability.
In R/Y1 it works well but presumably the curriculum is similar. How do teachers teach different bits of curriculum to one class of different year groups? Eg he has now completed the year 3 work but half his class next year need to learn all of that?
Am a little worried that as DS will be with the year 4's who are at average/below average ability that the gap will get wider and wider and as he wont be mixing with higher ability children in his year he will remain at status quo.
Been at a school (s) with mixed year groups for 6+ years now. And a Governor so a bit more insight. Others will be along too. But mostly, don't worry. A few points:
1) Most schools do not have mixed year groups sorted by ability. In my experience they tend to aim for a mos of girls/boys, older/younger in year group/mix of abilties
2) The national curriculum can easily be planned to work with mixed age groups. Basically a rolling programme of some topics. Lots of maths/English stuff is studied again and again - but just further steps each time. No-one will mis anything. Or be taught something they already know (other than to strengthen/embed their knowledge)
3) Differentiation. Differentiation. Differentiation. In a class of 30 Yr4 pupils you would have some children working/with the ability of eg Yr2 level still. Some working/ability of Yr5-6. The range of ability of a Yr3&4 class would probably be about the same. A couple maybe scratching still at some yr1 levels. So a single Yr4 class - the teacher has to diffentiate for yr1/2 to yr 4/5 levels. Ditto a mixed yr3/4 or 4/5 class. Teacher teaches to the level of the children/child. Some get extra help with "catching up". Some get extra support to embed and master the subject.
4) Progress. Teachers and schools are assessed on progress. So they will not let any child sit around not learning. If they come into KS2 at x level they need to help that child progress. Even if he/she is at a really high attainment level (eg superstar exceeding every test etc etc) the school needs to help the child progress. They cannot think - OK - he's got it - let's ignore them. If the child has not continued on the upward trend there will be questions.
5) So many school have mixed year groups at primary. Teachers are used to it. It can help the younger year group "grow up" as they have older peers around. It helps the older year group mature as they are role models.
Talk to the teachers in your school or the head - I am sure they will reassure you.
My DS has been in first mixed year this year 4/5...He is year 4...It has been his best year ever.. For many reasons some not relating to mixed class.. I do think he struggled with the more mature children (year 5's) when he joined but it has helped him understand been grown up isn't been stroppy and arguing about everything( though he still does that sometimes) He has matured. He hasn't struggled with the work. I know spellings in HW are different for his years..A conversation with his teacher recently with teacher about something he found difficult she pointed out it was a year 5 skill and no one was expecting him to know it in year 4 but will understand it better when he does it next year. I am more than happy with my DS's year
Also it tends to mean you have 2 or 3 teachers working together on their planning (not always and not on everything) - but you therefore have a whole mix of experience/expertise rather than just one teacher. So if your son's teacher is a little weak on science but the yr4/5 teacher is better it will bring the level of science lessons up iyswim.
Our school has mixed years and it seems to work. They use a 2 year topic cycle, and as Hiding says, differentiation, differentiation, differentiation!
Thanks everyone. I will certainly ask questions at school!
I think the new curriculum and the huge difficulties lots of schools are facing regarding accurate assessment to show progress, I think it is now a lot more difficult to teach combined year groups. It will need extraordinarily competent teachers because the curriculum is now pretty set in stone for each year.
I too am a governor and our school has just had our assessments externally moderated. We know we are pretty accurate regarding assessment but similar unmoderated schools are reporting vastly better results for children at expected level. Therefore what some schools say children are achieving, they may not be. Asking teachers to make judgements on attainment for two year groups will be challenging and moderating the assessments would be vital in my opinion.
I also think whole class teaching is much more difficult with a mixed year group. I think they would have to be split up because the curriculum clearly demands this. How can the Y3 children be taught the maths the Y4 children are doing without the prior learning to support it? Differentiation is key but it is now more challenging than before. I would ask how this new arrangement will work bearing in mind a two year rolling programme for maths and literacy is not really possible.
I've seen it but not experienced it for my DC.
The only time I would be concerned is a mixed y5/y6.
The SATs preparation in y6 is quite focussed, even in more laid back schools.
Year 6 need to have their chance to be 'top of the school'.
After SATs y6 can get a bit 'demob happy'.
I am sure a good school can mitigate for all those things if it tries hard enough.
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