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dd's Reception class wildly over-full: what is a 'bulge' class, exactly?

(24 Posts)
Elibean Wed 10-Sep-08 10:15:03

ATM, the class of 42 (!) is split into younger ones in the afternoon, and older ones like dd in the morning - but after Xmas they will all be there all day, as per usual.

If 12 don't magically drop out, the playground rumour is that a portacabin will be brought in and a new teacher employed...not ideal, and I'm anxious about it, but equally I can see they have no other options.

But the word being bandied around is 'bulge class' - does that mean they sort of plan to accomodate the number until they drop naturally, as opposed to taking a split class forward through the whole school??

This is a school that used to be undersubscribed, but has done really well in improving their reputation and stats, and is now clearly going the other way - so guess they were unprepared - but I do wish they'd kept their intake lower sad

Majeika Wed 10-Sep-08 10:16:19

Im sure it is not legal to have 42 in a class!

Thought the max was 32!

Someone wiser will be along later to tell you what is actually allowed.

I would not be happy either.

UnquietDad Wed 10-Sep-08 10:19:07

I thought the maximum was 30 at KS1. Our school got into trouble for having 32 and had to employ an extra teacher in DD's Y1.

Hulababy Wed 10-Sep-08 10:19:08

Maximum in primary is 30. They can get round this by having more qualified teachers, plus some TAs int he class withthem.

Can the present rooms space cope?

bambi06 Wed 10-Sep-08 10:21:49

i know of a class in catford that has 60!!with two teachers and two TA`s bedlam if you ask me !!!

Elibean Wed 10-Sep-08 10:22:20

No, present room space is already small! There is a teacher and a v experienced TA. I think the legal limit is 30, but if they have to keep 42 they will employ another teacher and split the class in two sad

ATM, there are no more than 28 in the classroom at any one time, because the summer babies go in the afternoon.

Elibean Wed 10-Sep-08 10:23:00

60 in ONE classroom shock

I would move her if it came to that!

If I could, obviously.

SoupDragon Wed 10-Sep-08 10:31:45

I'm not entirely sure how they could have been unprepared. All they had to do was offer 30 places and that's it. If people dropped out, the place is offered to the waiting list.

SoupDragon Wed 10-Sep-08 10:32:48

As for "the playground rumour ", why don't you ask the head teacher what they are going to do about it given the legal limit on class size?

SoupDragon Wed 10-Sep-08 10:34:24

What's wrong with a portacabin and an extra teacher though? I've been taught in portacabins, all 3 SmallDragons have been to nursery in portacabins and they're just like ordinary classrooms.

LIZS Wed 10-Sep-08 10:38:26

Presumably they have shortfalls in other year groups to enable a larger intake and ultimately it may lead to mixed year classes to keep each within 30 for Foundation/KS1. tbh it is unlikely that provision hasn't been made for the New Year already, given recruitment and building lead times. Ignore the playground rumours and ask the head direct what the contingency plans are and if there will be a parents meeing to inform you.

Elibean Wed 10-Sep-08 10:47:09

Yes, of course, I am planning to talk to headteacher asap - its all a bit chaotic atm, but should be able to do so by end of week.

I don't mind portacabins per se - its just changing environments all over again, as well as teacher and some classmates. I suppose it won't be as disruptive as I imagine (being in the middle of my first ever week as a Reception mum!) but I'm not delighted either: dd will be sad and anxious all over again if her room/teacher/friends change just when she's got used to them.

Thanks Liz, that clarifies it - they have never had the full 30 by yr 1, AFAIK, but then again they've never had to split a Reception class either. They've always taken over the allotted number - just not this much over - expecting drop-outs to the private sector and our other local state primary (which is hugely oversubscribed) by start of term.

This year is different though.

kittybrown Wed 10-Sep-08 17:29:32

Each school has a PAN (Primary admission number) which is usually around 29 for a small school (1 class), 58 (2 classes) or even highr for larger schools. The LA sets the number for the school. If, as you say ,the school has been undersubsribed there would probably have been enough pupils for 1 teacher in the past. If your school has a PAN of over 42 then the head would have had no choice in accepting the pupils or they may be other circumstaces where the LA can make you take pupils.
It sounds to me as the school are doing all they can if there are rumours of a portacabin and another teacher. If there are no more than 28 in the class with the teacher at any one time then they are not breaking the law but if that changes complain straight away!

CarGirl Wed 10-Sep-08 17:34:23

I wonder if there are more children in the local vicinity of the LEA then there are spaces for over all the schools so their school was chosen to take the extras?

Romy7 Wed 10-Sep-08 17:39:39

i think it sounds brilliant. within limits until christmas and then smaller than average class after? not sure what you are having an issue with?
it does sound as though the LEA have grouped all the spares under the one roof so they only have to set up one extra class. it sounds perfect to me.

fridayschild Wed 10-Sep-08 17:47:15

I would guess that a "bulge" class is what you are describing, a one class intake school finding itself a two intake school.

If I were in your shoes I would ask the head whether s/he expects the bulge to be a one off, ie this year only, or whether the increase will continue. If it is a one off, maybe the school facilities can cope with a few more kids for a couple of years - age 7 is a great time to drop into the private sector. And if you are in London, lots of people do move out in the first few years of school. However if it is permanent, what is the school doing to do about it? If you have sibling priority for places, the little brothers and sisters of your DC and her many class mates will all be entitled to places in the next 2 or 3 years, so the problem doesn't go away.

wheresthehamster Wed 10-Sep-08 17:52:33

A bulge is a one-off that will continue until the children leave naturally in yr 6 or whenever. You won't notice any difference apart from more competition for the plum parts in school plays grin

LadyMuck Wed 10-Sep-08 18:09:49

Soupdragon, apparently PH school in E Croydon suddenly went from a 2 form intake of 60 to a 4 form intake of 120 in the last 3 weeks of August! Everyone is still in shock, and the council still have another 80 children to place (not helped by certain private schools losing children as well).

Elibean Wed 10-Sep-08 20:46:47

Ah, ok, bulge clarified, thank you. I did wonder if it was just this year, or ongoing - they have major problems with small classrooms, but there are plans for building new reception and nursery rooms (will be too late for dd though, already delayed a year).

romy, my issue is pretty much what I said: dd has just started to settle a bit in a class where she knew not a soul, and trusting the teacher has been the key. Changing classroom isn't that big a deal, but I'm disappointed that she may have to cope with losing her teacher, and possibly friends, from the class she's in atm.

Not the end of the world, obviously, but not what I was expecting. Last year's Reception was 26: no one was expecting this to crop up at all. Still, its true that an even smaller class in the end might be a silver lining.

Again, I have no problem with the school handling it well - they are lovely people, with high principles, and I do trust them overall.

newgirl Fri 12-Sep-08 17:34:49

i think its a shame they havent written a letter to the parents - keep you all up to date with the plan.

I think it will be sorted by the Jan term - it sounds as if they were waiting to see if all those kids actually turned up, and now all the staff are back in to the swing of term they will get organised for Jan.

If they do make two classes, they may offer those places over time to other kids in the area - i doubt a local authority would waste places.

MaloryDontDiveItsShallow Fri 12-Sep-08 17:36:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Elibean Fri 12-Sep-08 22:56:34

Malory shock is that legal??!

Littlefish Sun 14-Sep-08 14:48:28

Yes, it's legal Elibean, as long as they have 2 registers, with no more than 30 children on each register.

As Kittybrown said earlier, each school has a PAN (pupil admission number). This PAN is worked out by the LEA on the physical space available in the classrooms/hall etc. Schools then have to allocate teachers according to the number of children (up to the PAN) who apply in any school year.

E.g. If the PAN is 45 and 45 children apply, then the school needs to provide 2 teachers. If the PAN is 45 and only 30 children apply, then the school only needs to provide 1 teacher. However, if during the course of the year, more children apply for spaces, then the school should provide an additional teacher if numbers go over 30.

The 30 per class rule only applies in Foundation and Key Stage 1 though.

Malory, do you know what the school PAN is?

Nymphadora Sun 14-Sep-08 14:57:45

dd2 was i class of 36 with 2 rooms, 2 f/t teachers and 3 TAs , now in YR2 they have split and have nice small classes.

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