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School plans to combine YR1 and Reception in September.

(19 Posts)
Tortoise Mon 08-Jun-09 10:46:03

I received a newsletter from my children's primary school Friday.
There is a message in it saying how they are pleased to announce the plans for September.

The plan is to combine Reception with yr 1 and split into two classes because there is a high intake of new reception children in September.
So the school will have Reception/Yr 1, Reception/YR then classes 2-6.

My DD2 is in Reception and was due to go into YR1 in September.

There is a meeting at school after school tonight and those that i have spoke to are very against this plan and also annoyed at the way we have been informed!

They say there will be an equal number of ages in each class and children will be with at least one friend.

I do not want my DD2 split up from her lovely class of 23 to be put in a mixed group of around 30.

How would you feel about this?
I could do with other peoples opinions/advice or experiences of this please.

RustyBear Mon 08-Jun-09 10:51:40

Both my two were in mixed age classes several times over their primary school time; I never had any problem with it.

If the school has a large reception intake next year (presumably 37) there's probably not much else they can do - they won't be able to afford two teachers for 37 children and also won't have the space to put two reception classes.

Not sure how else you would expect to be informed other than a letter and a meeting?

Tortoise Mon 08-Jun-09 11:00:12

Thanks Rusty.
The information was in the general newsletter. I would expect something like this which could affect my child to be in a separate letter.

dylsmum1998 Mon 08-Jun-09 11:02:06

tort my ds was in a mixed reception class when he started school, it was great. they have much more play based learning (which i am very pro)
i start looking at schools for dd this year and it will def be something i am looking for

ShannaraTiger Mon 08-Jun-09 11:13:22

Tort my Dd's school has mixed classes as well:
R & Yr1
Yr1 & Yr2
Yr3 & Yr4
Yr4 & Yr5
Yr6
Initialy they did combined classes because numbers were dropping. Because of the benefits though they decided to keep it when numbers increased slightly and have an extra TA I think. Agree though you should have had a seperate letter.

Tortoise Mon 08-Jun-09 11:14:05

Thanks Dyls.smile
They do lots of learning through play at the moment but i expect that to be less in Yr1.

dylsmum1998 Mon 08-Jun-09 11:22:55

in a lot of schools play based does stop in yr1, which i think is a shame. i don't like to see lots of children sat still at desks. i think they shoiuld be on the move learning, even now i learn best when i'm moving and have a tendency to nod off in still lectures blush

although you are right i would have expected a seperate letter with more detailed info, what about parents who are unable to make the meeting.......

RustyBear Mon 08-Jun-09 11:36:37

Oh, right, I thought you had had a separate letter, which I agree would have been better if they were making a change like that.

Maybe it would be a good idea to mention at the meeting that more information would be a good idea for those that can't attend (they may be planning this anyway, when we have information evenings we always put the information on our website as well & are happy to print it off for those who don't have internet access)

Tortoise Mon 08-Jun-09 11:46:07

I think most parents will be able to make the meeting and those that can't would probably see the teacher or head teacher when they can.

How does teaching two different classes work?
Won't it be hard for the new little ones starting, to join a group of bigger kids?
I know when my DD1 started Reception 2 yrs ago she would not have coped with it.

lottysmum Mon 08-Jun-09 11:46:45

Can fully understand why you would feel this way... my dd was in a mixed yr1/2 group until I moved her at beginning of this year and lets just say I'm delighted with her progress since she went into a sole yr group she's now starting to show her full potential.

It's also not nice being the first year of change.....a double blow... but I cannot see them changing... unfortunately for you.

Tortoise Mon 08-Jun-09 12:17:26

Lottysmum Thanks, good to hear feedback from others experiences. smile
Will have to see what happens at this afternoons meeting. I think there will be a lot of people protesting this plan.

crocdundee Mon 08-Jun-09 20:41:06

Sounds like a budget issue, and the school are likely to have little option. The maximum number of children for a reception class is 30 and also recommended for KS1. In practice, if there are children requesting places and there is a class with only(!) 23 then the LA will be putting some pretty strong pressure on the school to restructure.
I doubt the school and staff are 100% happy themselves, and the newsletter approach is to try and be positive and keep the change low-key. Myself, I would've liked a separate letter to the parents of children concerned, but there we are.
Mixed classes have their pros and cons, but tbh differentiation happens in all classrooms, there may just be a wider spread of abilities. On the plus, your daughter should have more chance to enjoy a play-based curriculum for a while longer.

Tortoise Mon 08-Jun-09 21:47:48

I think overall the meeting went well and we all got a better understanding on how it will work and that there really isn't any other option. Also ours is one of the only schools locally that hasn't had to do this in previous years.

I would still prefer DD2 to stay with her origianal class but she seems happy with the group she will be with and she will be in the group who stay with their currant teacher.

I guess (to me) it feels like she will miss out on that big step of changing classes in September. I don't want her to feel like she will still be in Reception. I think the school have plans to talk to them so they don't feel this way.

sarararararah Tue 09-Jun-09 13:33:30

IME mixed age classes can give you the best of both worlds as long as the teacher manages it well.

Pros:
1.Y1s can continue learning through play, a BIG plus. All schools should be doing this and anyway and if they're not then they aren't doing it right!
2. It can actually be easier to teach children at their ability level. Higher ability YRs can work with Y1s,obviously meaning lower ability Y1s can work with YRs. Higher ability Y1s can still be stretched, in their own little group.
3. Y1s get a year of being "top dog". They already know the routine and usually love the experience of being the responsibile ones and showing the YRs the ropes.
4. They have other children to choose to be friends with. Sounds like the school have thought through the friends thing if they're all going to be with at least one friend.

Also - just in case you were worried. They shouldn't repeat anything they did last year. Themes and topics will be entirely differnent and it's perfectly possible to teach the children at their level just as you would in any class. All teachers have to match learning to children's ability in any case.

Other posters are right. The school won't have any choice as there just won't be the funding for anything else. I do think it can be a positive thing.

HTH a little!

Littlefish Tue 09-Jun-09 15:46:11

Very good post Sararararararah smile.

I agree with everything you've said. I've taught a mixed R/1 class and absolutely loved it.

sarararararah Tue 09-Jun-09 16:58:45

Thanks Littlefish! I've nearly always taught mixed ages (although am not at moment actually) and love it too! Can see why parents worry about it though, as it is tricky when you're not a teacher to see how on earth you would cater for two different ages.

Where I am (rural Norfolk) it is actually not unheard of to have whole key stages in 1 class, i.e. YR,1,2 in one class, Y3,4,5 and 6 in another. And, although it has it's own challenges, that can work really well too!

IMO the only times mixed ages doesn't work well is when it's not managed well. After all, if you think about it, it is kind of strange children are put in classes purely by age anyway!

The last two paragraphs were for OP not you Littlefish as I know you know this!

Littlefish Tue 09-Jun-09 19:42:43

I'm teaching a single aged class this year and it feels a bit weird! Having said that, there's almost as wide a spread of ability as when I've taught mixed age classes, so my teaching style hasn't really changed. I teach Y2, and we use a play based/practical/exploratory model as you know Sarararararah. I can't really think of a Primary year group when it wouldn't work, if I'm honest.

thecloudhopper Tue 09-Jun-09 21:05:16

We are leaving 8 children down who are due to go into year one to make a NRY1 and a Y1and 2 class. The parents have not been informed yet, one thing I would say is in Wales were I am this does affect the statitory ratios.

Tortoise Tue 09-Jun-09 21:49:31

Thanks for your input. smile My view has changed alot in the last few days and i think it will work out fine. smile
Christmas cards will be a nightmare though! grin DD2 will want to do all her new class and her old friends!

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