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School mixed classes

(25 Posts)
Turefu Tue 04-Jul-17 20:01:20

My son is about to finish reception. I've got a letter from school , list of the children in Year 1. They mixed children from Year 1 with Year 2. School explained they can't afford to employ six more teachers to serve all years separately , so they need to mix classes and it worked well before.
Is it common practice? Did it happen at your children's school? How children react?

Leeds2 Tue 04-Jul-17 20:05:36

It didn't happen to my DD, and I wouldn't have reacted well to the news if it had! But, there have been loads of positive stories about mixed classes on MN and I hope some of them will post in this thread so you might feel a bit better about it.

Justhadmyhaircut Tue 04-Jul-17 20:09:45

Ds is in 3/4.
Dd year 5 and dd year 6 in together.
All doing fantastic. Less than 100 in the whole school.
Had reservations as they had to move from a regular school but fitted in and working above average across the board. .

mrz Tue 04-Jul-17 21:01:39

Mine went to a school with just three classes (reception to Y6). My small primary school only had one teacher.

Edna1969 Tue 04-Jul-17 21:05:42

My DDs school has 4 classes so she has always been taught in mixed year group classes.

Properly thought out and planned it works. This has been the structure in the school for some time. My DD has just done brilliantly in her SATs so it has worked for her.

userres Tue 04-Jul-17 21:08:01

Our local primary used mixed classes, personally I didn't like it especially for my very late august born as she was 2 years younger than half of her class and she really struggled

sunnyday1976 Tue 04-Jul-17 21:12:54

Just an infant and a junior class in my DDs school. Less than 50 in the whole school and seems to have worked OK for a long time and my children are doing well.

grasspigeons Tue 04-Jul-17 21:17:24

It's surprisingly common and can work really well.
I like it when the mix up two years completely and have had no problems arising from this,
I'm less keen when they 'stream' the kids as I think year 1 is too young to feel like you didn't make it into the year 1 class and had to do reception twice.
My children have experienced both.

BubblesBuddy Tue 04-Jul-17 22:50:52

I think y1 and 2 combined can be fine if the teacher is good enough. That's the key when a school has no experience of mixed classes and neither has the teacher. It takes a lot of planning. It is better than y1 being with Yr as another poster talked about recently. That would have been an over my dead body scenario because my DD is a late August birthday who just happened to be bright and mature.

Edna1969 Wed 05-Jul-17 19:25:03

BubblesBuddy our school has 2 classes in KS1 one mixed YrR / Yr1 and one Yr1 / Yr2. Our Yr1s are split on ability not age and it works very well.

DD2 is now in Yr3. She was in the Yr1/Yr2 class in KS1 however one friend was in the YrR/Yr1 class in KS1. Today you can't tell the difference and they are both over achieving for their age. If managed well it works. Every child is different and some really benefited from another year of a more informal class still doing Yr1 work and cetainly didn't fall behind.

BubblesBuddy Wed 05-Jul-17 19:29:41

I accept it can work but you are telling children at the age of 5 that they are not good enough to go into the higher attaining class. Plenty don't catch up and surpass the children selected to be in Y1/2. It is like the 11 plus at age 5.

Edna1969 Wed 05-Jul-17 19:40:15

I'm not sure you are and its certainly not put thay way!! This has been how it has been at the school for many years and it works the results speak for themselves. Current Yr6 went through this too and they have just done really well in their SATs all of them even those who were in the "lower" class :-)

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Wed 05-Jul-17 20:11:15

Our small village school only has 5 physical classrooms so all we've known is composites - it's just how it is. I've no problems with them at all and in Scotland the law limits the class size of a composite to 25 so there are concrete benefits. They are great for social bonds up and down year groups, children mix more and have friendship up and down school.

I think there's two groupings to avoid: so much of P1 is learning how to 'do school' - routines and putting on shoes and stuff - that's wouldn't fancy doing that year twice, iyswim. And in our school a lot of fuss is made of the P7s and I do feel sorry for the P6s in that class who don't get as much fun/responsibility etc as the leavers.

paxillin Wed 05-Jul-17 20:20:35

Ours used to, reception was not mixed, but Y1+2, Y3+4 and Y5+6 were. Worked really well, but as PP said Y5 was not so great, they were in a way just the Y6 in waiting.

Turefu Wed 05-Jul-17 21:09:58

Thanks for replies.
I'm not happy with it, but I guess I need to accept it. School have been "good" in ranking for years. Hopefully it'll work well.

Turefu Wed 05-Jul-17 21:13:55

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett, there're 25 children in my son's class. It's not massive class, hopefully everything will be fine.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Thu 06-Jul-17 09:08:57

Can I ask what your specific worries about it are?

Changebagsandgladrags Thu 06-Jul-17 09:14:20

We only have two classes in our school: reception to yr 2 and then 3,4,5,6.

I find it works really well. For the younger children they get a chance to try other things. For the older children, they get a sense of responsibility because they often lead groups and things.

In the older class, they can really differentiate children. So the high flying yr 5s get to work with average ability yr 6 on some topics.

Squishedstrawberry4 Thu 06-Jul-17 09:16:53

Three of my kids are in mixed year group classes. It's works very well. The older year gets to lead/gain in confidence/look after others, while the younger year get stretched and nurtured by peers. Also wider sets of friendship groups.

Deliaskis Thu 06-Jul-17 11:00:37

DD's school have always run a 4 class system until this year, when they went to 5 classes (which DD benefited from - she's now had 2 years with just 17 in her class), but will be going down to 4.5 next year. The school and teachers are used to running mixed year group classes and it has very good results, plus a great school 'family' feel as the children all know the classes above and below them. I was in a mixed year group in the final 2 years of primary, and it was fine - for some things we were sat roughly in ability groups, but mostly we were all expected to work at our own level so it didn't make any difference if the kid sat across from you was older/younger/quicker/slower than you were.

HannahLI Thu 06-Jul-17 16:33:54

My kids go to a big primary but they mix classes I also have a reception child about to go into a mixed class but we are really excited about it. When my older DS did a mix 1/2 class it was so great mixing with the other year group, it also helps different friendships to form and they still get taught different things but if really helps to make sure that what they learn is concrete because they see it in different forms. Our experience has been really positive.

Turefu Thu 06-Jul-17 17:59:08

Can I ask what your specific worries about it are?
I'm worried it can hold back children. When children get older, they learn more difficult things, I'm not sure if mixing with younger ones will be helpful. My son is summer child and he'll be in the class with other kids nearly two years older the him and I wonder will it be to much for him. From other hand, I was in one year class in my school, so I guess for my idea of mixing classes is totally new.

SafeToCross Thu 06-Jul-17 18:10:30

I found other parents worried about it, but we liked it. With one summer born and one autumn born, it meant our kids were always more socially 'in the middle' of the group. My very petite dd did not stand out as looking younger than her peers because she was with 'the year below' as well as her age group. No issues with teaching. The year 2/3 split can be tricky as it spans KS1 and KS2, but still fine for us.

BringOnTheScience Thu 06-Jul-17 19:52:03

I've had mixed classes as both a parent and a teacher. There really is nothing to worry about OP. There will be differentiation to ensure that everyone is working at the right level.

Deliaskis Fri 07-Jul-17 07:39:29

The thing is, is there is a group of more able children, no matter what year group, they need to be supported with learning more complex things, whether it's numeracy or literacy or whatever. And that should be done in smaller ability groups anyway. There are children in DD's current 1 year group class who are almost 2 years behind her in reading, and others who are nearly ahead in numeracy, so in a single year group there are still huge differences that need to be accounted for. I don't see a mixed year group as any different, apart from the added social benefit that some posters have mentioned.

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