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Year 1 three years in a row!

(25 Posts)
Debs123 Sat 18-Jul-09 07:49:08

My son is moving from Yr1 to Yr2, and has just been selected to be in a mixed Yr 1/2 class, for Sept 09.

When he first joined the school he was in a mixed YrR/1 class (10 YrRs / 20 Yr1s), this year he has been in a straight Yr 1 class (30 Yr1s). He has just been selected from a year of 100 to be in a mixed Yr 2/1 class (10 Yr2s / 20 Yr1s) from Sept 09.

So in other words he will have spent all three years of his infants school with predominantly Yr1 piers.

This doesn't feel right to me.

I do not have any strong opinion either way about mixed classes. But to be under the pier influence of the same majority age group/cohort for 3 years (and educational env) does not seem right and is puzzling, considering that there were another 90 children in his year who could have been chosen to be in the mixed class instead of him (50 of his year have NOT been in mixed classes yet).

(We were told verbally when he started that the school does not put children into mixed classes more than once through their 3 infants school years (other parents were told this also). (So there is a 'loss of trust' issue also). (There is no written policy on this).

We asked the (new) HT why specifically our son had been selected from the 100 year 1 pupils for the mixed class and the HT would/could not give us any justification.

(My son is also SEN (for reading)).

Can someone please advise??

The HT is not giving any impression that they are likely back down on this, or move him to a straight year (there are already 30 in each of the non-mixed classes).

(Changing school for us is going to be complex as we have another child about to start his YrR at the same school this Sept).

edam Sat 18-Jul-09 08:05:22

That does seem odd. Ds is going into a mixed Year 1/2 class this year but it's the first time he'll have been with another year.

Could you try the governors? And are you happy that the teachers to date have managed to work with both year groups effectively?

foxinsocks Sat 18-Jul-09 08:07:14

that sounds totally bizarre

I'm only a parent (so have nothing to do with teaching) but I really do not get these mixed year classes at all, especially when it seems there is an option to have non mixed year classes

I can't see how it could possibly be to his benefit tbh

so does that mean next school year (after this one), he will have to go into yr3?

lemonpuff Sat 18-Jul-09 08:12:10

I was always given the understanding that children could not do two years in a row, in mixed year classes. Rule where I was anyway..

Hassled Sat 18-Jul-09 08:23:22

A lot of the smaller, rural schools only have mixed classes, so I don't think there's any sort of rule. And some of the larger schools are forced to have mixed classes because the Local Authority have given them a PAN (Pupil Admission Number) that can't be divided neatly by 30, so there are "spare" children in each Year Group.

As long as you are happy that your DS is progressing well, meeting his targets and getting the support he needs, then I don't think the mixed year groups needs to be a huge issue. It is hard to teach Yr1/Yr2, because you're trying to get one bunch through SATs, and have to tailor the teaching accordingly. But most children cope well - I think you should just see how it goes for a half term - if you don't think he's happy, talk to the Governors.

edam Sat 18-Jul-09 08:35:56

ds's school has to have mixed classes as it has a 45 intake. Bloody LEA won't let them expand to two forms - school has asked and asked and asked again and presented all the arguments they possibly could.

Thing is moving to two forms would be very popular - it's an outstanding school, and not just in Ofsted terms. But the LEA doesn't like outstanding schools expanding, the dunderheads. Apparently there are spare places in our town - I doubt it, tbh, we don't just have a high birth rate but loads of Londoners move here for the good schools.

If there are any spare places, they must be at the least desirable school. And this place being what it is, parents appeal or go private to avoid it - they are NEVER going to fill those places.

Hassled Sat 18-Jul-09 08:41:23

Edam, we're in the same boat - 105 PAN, Outstanding school with 170 applicants for Reception this year. LA won't budge on expansion because we'd be taking kids from undersubscribed (and in some cases, failing) schools elsewhere. Hence mixed classes, which do work well but put a lot of strain on the teachers and, as seen by the OP, are not necessarily popular with parents.

Debs123 Sat 18-Jul-09 08:51:38

We have no concerns about him going into mixed classes.

What we do have concerns over is that he is the only child (out of 100 in his year group) who will have spent his entire time at the school in Yr1, when there are 45 out of 100 children in his year group who would have had a 'normal' YrR, Yr1 and Yr2 education.

It is the continuous 3 years of having Yr1 piers that is our concern. We have nothing but our gut feeling which is telling us this is wrong for his social development (not educational) but we have no evidence to take the HT.

CarGirl Sat 18-Jul-09 08:55:51

Edam where we live a school was allowed to expand and it has had a detrimental affect on other schools. The less popular school went down from 90 in year, 60 the next, 22 the next which meant they lost funding when they most needed it. The school did have a poor ofsted because it was in debt!!!

Tables have turned now though as the now tiny school is doing better than the previously much sought after school. So sorry I understand your LEA's point of view, plus an overcrowded school is a nightmare.

Hassled Sat 18-Jul-09 08:56:33

Well your evidence is your DS himself. Does he have good friendships with children of the "right" age? When you have friends round, do his social skills seem similar - i.e. age appropriate? I agree, it seems odd that only one child has been singled out like this.

foxinsocks Sat 18-Jul-09 09:00:52

Debs, I can't see how it could be to his benefit. If he has SEN, does he have an IEP? Is he making progress?

I think the fact that they can't justify it would worry me because it sounds like they have not taking his individual learning needs into account and they should be.

If they can't justify why it is the right decision for him, then I would take it further tbh.

I would also worry how he will manage in the juniors (if it's a straight yr3 class) tbh.

edam Sat 18-Jul-09 09:08:35

Being the only child who is in mixed classes all the way through reception is very, very odd. Why him?

edam Sat 18-Jul-09 09:08:51

Sorry, I mean infants.

Debs123 Sat 18-Jul-09 09:12:54

That's a good point you've raised.

When he moved from his split class in Yr R he came over with only 1 other boy from that class which on his first day back at school told him he no longer wanted to be friends. As you can imagine we then had a few weeks of him not wanting to go to school because he was so unhappy. We did see his teacher (and HT) at the time. It took him until January to form strong friendships with other children, as the other children in his new class were already in their little groups. He also had an incidence of being bullied as he was an easy target being on his own for the first few month in the class.

All of this has made him prone to low self esteem, but this last term he has made a really strong set of really good friends of his right age.

What we think is that the school (which is an outstanding rated school) let him slip through the net and didn't realise he'd been in a mixed class before - but of course they'd never admit to this!

Debs123 Sat 18-Jul-09 09:26:31

"Debs, I can't see how it could be to his benefit. If he has SEN, does he have an IEP? Is he making progress?"

He has made amazing progress over the last year, he started the year still learning his phonics and is now reading stage 3 books - the school wants to keep him in SEN for continuity! He is at the national average for his numeracy also.

The reason he was still doing phonics at the beginning of yr1 was due to glue ear during reception which we nor the school picked up on - when he had his hearing tested they said he must have been lip-reading at school.

It's also a good point you've raised about yr 3, I'm adding that point to our list!!
Thanks.

foxinsocks Sat 18-Jul-09 09:37:11

I think you're right. They've not realised have they!

I'm glad to hear he's made progress. I hope he's with his friends at least for next school year and that should make a difference to him too.

cazzybabs Sat 18-Jul-09 09:53:35

coujld it not be fo his benifit...if he has SEN then there may be other children with the same needs in his split class? Or a teacher with ailites best suited to his need?

I have taught mixed year 1/2 class and it wasn't like the year 2s were doing year 1 work - they were following the NLS and NNS (as was at the time) for their level....it is all about differentation....no different in a class of year 1s as I have now - some working at reception level targets and some at year 2/3 level.

I can see your issues, but maybe you need to see th postiivies

Debs123 Sat 18-Jul-09 09:58:02

"Being the only child who is in mixed classes all the way through reception is very, very odd. Why him?"

It does make you wonder, especially at 3 o'clock in the morning, you start thinking all sorts of things - what have we done wrong!

Our younger DS is starting YrR in September, there are 9 starting from his Pre-school and guess what out of 3 x yrR classes he is going into a yr R class on his own, 6 into another class and 2 in the last class.

It makes us think, Why's It Always Us?

Debs123 Sat 18-Jul-09 10:10:48

"I can see your issues, but maybe you need to see th postiivies".

It's good to get the other side of things, my best friend is an experienced primary teacher who has taught in mixed class schools and she has been a great help, although she doesn't understand why the school's done this.

The problem we have is our school hasn't told us why it would be a positive for him. He came home yesterday after having an introductory day in his new class and told us he didn't like the children because they were all babies!

I help in the school class rooms when I can, and I know they are brilliant at teaching mixed classes. I'm just worried he's not going to get the social stimulus he'd get in a straight Yr2 class - he's only going to have 3 x Yr2 boys in his new class one of whome he's not that keen on.

paranoid2 Sat 18-Jul-09 11:11:59

We had something similiar in that when my Dt's moved to yr2, one was put into a mixed year and he was the only boy from his class in yr1 that was moved to that class. It took him a while to make new friends and then when going into yr3 my Dt's were the only ones that were swapped about and then it was Dt1 going into a new class where he knew nobody and Dt2 leaving the friends he had made. Now Dt2 has SEN and I think the move in yr3 may have had something to do with TA's and probably the school trying to make the best use of a potential TA that was possibly going to be coming on board for DT2. In the end I moved my boys , not for the mixed classes reasons but it has ceased to be an issue in their new school. I think in your scenario the school have either not realised (as I think was the case in our scenario in Yr2) or that his SEN could be the reason and the school is either trying to do the best for him or more worrying, for the year in general (as I suspect was the reason for my scenario in yr3)
Based on what you have said it would seem more likely to be the first reason but I would go and speak to the HT just to get clarity.

paranoid2 Sat 18-Jul-09 12:12:22

Sorry just read that you have already spoken to the HT. Very unfair of her not to discuss it. I agree - board of govs if things dont work out

katiestar Sat 18-Jul-09 20:04:56

But he won't only be with Yr 1s will he ? There'll be other YR 2 s , same as there would have been other reception children when he was in a R/Y1 class.Can't really see it as being a big problem if I am being honest .

Clary Sun 19-Jul-09 01:36:44

Actually he hasn't been in a mixed class every year, has he? And he hasn't 2 yrs in a row in a mixed class.

Your real concern seems to be that he has been with yr 1s all the time - but surely that's a good thing this last year, when he has been in, errm, yr 1.

Would you have preferred it if he had been in a mixed class this year?

Are his new group of friends going to be in the mixed class with him?

If not then I think with the problems this year you have cause for a discussion with the head.

Debs123 Sun 19-Jul-09 21:32:14

I think what we are really concerned about is that:
1. The educational enviroment in which he will have been for 3 years will have a contextual bias towards year 1 curriculum.
2. The developmental stage of his majority pier group will have been the same throughout his entire time at this school.

We wonder what effect it may have on his development, his view on the world, and how he sees his place within it.

We are asking the HT tomorrow about this, as she must have strong reasons to think it's in his best interest (when there are over 40 children in his year who have followed a standard YrR, Yr1 and Yr2 route).

If anyone has any positives I'd really appreciate them.

northyorksmoors Wed 29-Jul-09 01:07:14

Ask to meet the head.
Ask to see the long term planning from 2007/8, 2008/9 and 2009/10 to satisfy you that your child will be taught Y2 curriculum, and not a repeat of previous years.
If head hedges over previous point, ask if you child can go into alternative group.

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