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Mixed year groups - question about selection

(14 Posts)
Honeymum Thu 12-Mar-09 13:06:19

DD2 is currently in Yr 1. She has an August birthday and as things stand will be in a mixed year 1/2 group next year along with the youngest half of her class. The structure of key stage one at the school looks like this: Reception classes x 2, Year 1, Year 1/2, Year 2.

All of DD2's friends will end up in Year 2. Her teacher would like her to go into Year 2 as she's one of the brightest (described as "very, very clever"). I want her to go into Year 2 but principly because I don't want her traumatised by being separated from her friends that she's known for two years.

I have yet to talk to the Head. DD's teacher says that she's lobbying hard to get a few of her summer born kids into the Yr 2 class, but he's never been inclined to change the system (based on age) in the past. Does anyone have any experience of this sort of thing and any tips on how to convince him to put DD into Year 2?

AMumInScotland Thu 12-Mar-09 13:13:28

My DS was in "composite classes" all through primary as it was a small school with only mixed classes. In their case the divisions were done absolutely on age, as they found that otherwise they'd get lots of opinions from parents and couldn't make everybody happy. It sounds like your headteacher may be taking that line - it can be very difficult for them if there is flexibility to explain why some people have got what they asked for while others haven't.

skramble Thu 12-Mar-09 15:25:32

the classes at my DD's school seem to be arranged on ability. DD is one of the younger ones, well I think so and she is in the upper class. I think it must be easier to teach similar levels of kids together.

DS was also in the upper clas although younger, no other boys form his original class were in this, he was the only boy from his year group, did him wonders as he just got on in class and played with the boys at playtime, also made older freinds in class.

So if you want to push it say dd will be fine as she will stay be able to socialise with friends but will maybe concentrate better in class (well until she starts chattering to new freinds grin.)

Honeymum Thu 12-Mar-09 20:42:57

Yes, AMumInScotland, I can see that it might be a problem if parents were complaining but according to DD2's teacher, most people don't give it a second thought. And, I agree with Skramble that it must be easier to teach similar levels together.

Having mulled it over though, I think selection on the basis of academic ability, at age 5 is wrong. BUT I am upset that she'll be separated from her mates.

katiestar Fri 13-Mar-09 10:39:50

I think schools should put parents in the class they feel is right for the child (and all the other children)rather than pander to parental opinion !

kittybrown Fri 13-Mar-09 12:13:55

Honeymum maybe the parents in the past haven't complained or given it a second thought as the rules are clearly set out.

There are flaws to both systems. Our school used to split classes based on ability and it used to create no end of complaints from parents especially those of the children in the middle ie bottom of one class or top of the other. Some of the top children in the lower class would get their self confidence boosted by being top only to find when placed in the other class they weren't.
We've now switched to classes split by age. I have younger children who are bright and they are flourishing in their younger classes but as it stands they are both in single age classes. Next year they will both be the oldest in mixed-year classes and I have my misgivings about that.

hedgepig Fri 13-Mar-09 16:34:34

DS1s school is small with only 4 classes and and so has mixed classes all the wat through. He is now in year 1 and an August baby and stayed in Class 1 with about 8 other year 1s plus the new reception tear intake. The criteria for spiting the year 1s was not on age but on academic ability but also emotional maturity and whert anothe ryear in the 1st class wold help build their confdence etc. I would say the DS1 has really benefited with staying in Class 1 rether than going up to class 2. One of his frinds also an August baby (girl) went to Class 2 and although academically she was suited to this class, emotionally she has found it hard to fit in this year.

hedgepig Fri 13-Mar-09 16:35:03

sorry hopeless spelling!

Honeymum Sun 15-Mar-09 22:03:45

I've spoken to my sister and brother-in-law, both teachers. They both think that DD2 should be in the year 2 class rather than the 1/2 ie. that selection should be on ability...But I'm not going to challenge the school policy. [Kittybrown, I think that parents haven't complained in the past because it is a city school with lots of EAL kids, and not many pushy middleclass mums]

My main concern is that she should stay with her friends. She'll cope well academically - she is very clever, though I say this as her mum wink - and more importantly she'll be happy. I think she'll be devastated to be split up from all of her friends. Yes, she'd make new ones but I am worried that it will be a big upheaval from her to leave her peers.

Honeymum Fri 17-Jul-09 15:13:36

Hello again
Sorry to bring up this issue but I am very upset to have been told that DD is to be separated from all of her close friends and will be the lone one from her group to join the year 1/2 class next year. The head has only told me today despite conversations with me and DH over the past three weeks when he said he would "look into it". I now feel that the system and procedure has taken precedence over what's best for the individual child. He said that there were 2 others in the school who were in the same boat (ie with no friends in their classes) and one set of parents who had complained and for this reason he couldn't move our DD. I am very sad and angry that DD will risk losing her lovely friends and want to take it further. Any thoughts?

melissa75 Fri 17-Jul-09 15:59:24

I do not think you will like my response, but I am putting it out there.

As a teacher who obviously sees a lot of different social situations in a school, children are a LOT more resilient than I think we sometimes give them credit for. She will be absolutely fine, she most certainly is not going to "be traumatised". She will make new friends, and I assume all the children will be 'reunited' during play and lunchtimes? The classroom is supposed to be a learning environment, not a social party!

Speaking from experience, sorting out class lists is an absolute nightmare, because no matter what, a school is never going to please every parent, there is always going to be ones who do not like this, that or the other, and are going to come in and complain, but at the end of the day, they have to make a decision and make that be the final decision.

I like your idea katiestar! smile

Honeymum Fri 17-Jul-09 16:55:19

That's interesting, thanks. One friend is all I wanted for my daughter, going forward into her new class,that's all. I don't think it is too much to ask for school to check that they have one friend in their new class. Yes, she probably will be fine - the school had better bloody well hope so. But she might not. She might come home every night in tears for the first term. Who knows. It is not seeing things from her point of view, to split her from all of her friends, nor is it allowing her to foster long-term friendships. It is not, in a nutshell, putting the child at the heart of the decision.

Forgive me for being emotional about this but I am particularly angry because the head has not been clear from the start and I assumed that there was flexibility were there is clearly none. And there should be. My sister is also teacher and she is shock and angry that friendships are not considered, and that my DD, because of where her birthday falls, will be in mixed year groups with younger kids despite being very able.

Pogleswood Fri 17-Jul-09 20:27:08

Actually,I disagree,Melissa - haven't got your experience as a teacher but I am a parent whose DCs are in a school that regularly has mixed age classes,split by age.DD wasn't friends with the children in the narrow bit of her age group which was kept together,so she was with older children,made some friends there,next year she was with the year below,made some friends in that group,was moved again..It wasn't the end of the world and she did survive,but it was much easier for the children whose friends stayed in the same group all the way up the school.
And when they are little it does make a difference if they are in class working with their friends or not,seeing them only at playtime isn't the same.
I realise it must be hard to sort out class lists,but I don't think it should be impossible to consider friendships and ability - and people change schools because of these issues,do the schools really want to lose pupils?
Sorry Honeymum,none of this helps you change your Headteacher's mind!

screamingsiblings Fri 17-Jul-09 20:43:49

My DC school has 7 yr groups and 5 classrooms. DS will spend 3 yrs working with younger children, while some others in his year group will spend only 1. I personally think it affects motivation if there is nothing to chase. DS is very competative, and to have older children to aspire to would do wonders for him. Alas, he is a May baby, so he spends his time looking after, and helping younger children. I have to go in and ask for harder spellings and homework for him, as otherwise, we do little more than 3-5mins homework a week. (Other than reading, of course). Overall I like the school, and he is doing well. I just can't get my head round how different the school experience is for children, depending on when there were born within the year.

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