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45 year intake so mixed classes - any experiences?

(19 Posts)
twofalls Wed 14-Oct-09 08:10:26

I am just looking at schools for 2010 intake for DD. Our local school which is fine (very mixed catchment so has some challenges, but quite frankly, that's life) has a 45 year intake so has to mix the classes.

I am a bit concerned about this as it sounds like they haven't quite agreed as to how to mix the classes - they used to do it by ability but were wary of creating a kind of "hierarchy" (I am brighter than you - they also have a lot of SEN children who come from all over the district so that probably has an impact) so now I am not really clear how they do mix them up.

Does anyone have any experiences of mixed classes? How important is it?


twofalls Wed 14-Oct-09 09:51:43


Hando Wed 14-Oct-09 10:00:07

What is a 45 year intake?

Pyrocanthus Wed 14-Oct-09 10:12:55

Presumaby 45 children in the year group, i.e. 1.5 classes full.

TheFoosa Wed 14-Oct-09 10:14:28

my dd is in a yr 1/2 mixed clas, her school only has 4 classes altogether

I would prefer her to be in single yr class as I feel she is held back to accommodate the younger yr 1 children

meltedmarsbars Wed 14-Oct-09 10:15:02

Whats the problem with the SEN intake?

captainpig Wed 14-Oct-09 10:30:55

I would think it would be done by age, ie mixed Y1/2 class would be the oldest in Y1 and the youngest in Y2.

twofalls Wed 14-Oct-09 10:34:32

There is no problem with the SEN in take meltedmarsbar, I didn't say there was. i said that is probably why they didn't mix it by ability, because they don't want to create that kind of division and because they have a high level of SEN kids, they are especially sensitive to that.

Sorry to clarify, they take 45 children per year which means they have to mix the classes up.

Hando Wed 14-Oct-09 10:48:34

I wouldn't send my daughter to a school that had mixed year groups unless the classes were much smaller.

I find 1 teacher and 30 children of varying abilities but all aged roughly the same is hard enough as it is, but 1 teacher with 30 children of totally different abilities and ages is surely going to be chaos?

I would pick another school.

colditz Wed 14-Oct-09 10:56:33

My son's school is ann incredibly mixed bag when it comes to abilities. There is possibly more diversion in year two than there is across 4 years in some schools.

The teachers deal with this by streaming across the groups.

There are two Y1/Y2 classes, and the two teachers work together to cook up the work for them. Year 1 and 2 are streamed into Red Group, Orange, Green, and Blue. All the children across the two classes are grouped according to ability, and all the children in Red group get the hardest work, Blue get nearly that hard, Green get a bit easier, and Orange get the easiest (so I am reliably informed by my 6 year old).

The teachers then work together to set work for each group. Green and Orange group are usually teacher supervised, and Blue and Red group are TA supervised, with little 'top up'inputs from the teacher. So in each class room, the teacher and TA may have Green and Blue group, or Orange and Red group. or any combination depending on what they are doing.

It works very well, and I would rather have my son set by ability than age, which is not a reliable indicator of ability at all!

twofalls Wed 14-Oct-09 11:22:15

colditz, that makes a lot of sense to me. I saw the school in July when it was a bit hectic so I think I will go for another visit. The head talked a lot about the fact all the planning was done by groups of teachers rather then in isolation and that there was a lot of team work across the year groups.

hando, it might not be as simple as choosing another school. this is our catchment school and all the others are fully or over subscribed. It is also 5 minutes walk away and the others are a 30 min walk or a hideious drive through town. I am concerned about it though so will ask for more details on how they manage it.

MrsBadger Wed 14-Oct-09 11:43:43

one of our local ones is 1.5 form entry and works very much as Colditz describes.

One good point I can think of is that (academic ability notwithstanding), the youngest reception children who are only just 4 when they start school are in a class with other young starters and not with enormous nearly-5yos, whereas the bigger ones who will be 5 before Christmas go in with the 'young' Y1s. Somehow this seems to make for a pretty good mix when it comes to social / emotional development rather than just looking at the academic stuff.

colditz Wed 14-Oct-09 11:48:20

Mrs badger, our school does that too.None of Ds1's reception class were five before February!

twofalls Wed 14-Oct-09 11:51:21

Thanks MrsBadger, I am wondering if it is the same school (south of the river - trying to be cryptic smile).

I hadn't thought of it from that point of view (and i do know this school prides itself on the emotional welbeing of the pupils rather than just the academic. Also, the reception class is in the same building as the nursery so they don't get thrown into the big school straight away.

MrsBadger Wed 14-Oct-09 12:05:30

yes, I realised as I posted that it would be the same one...

IME it depends on the school and how good the teachers are. DD has been in 2 primary schools both of which had mixed classes.

In the first school it didn't work at all. In her current school it works very well.

I went to a small primary school with only 2 classes - infants and juniors. It worked well for me.

Teachers need to be able to focus on individual children rather than the overall class and set work accordingly. Some manage this fine, others don't. Can you talk to any parents at this school to see how they think its working?

twofalls Mon 19-Oct-09 09:44:57

hello again stripey!

the emphasis from this school is very much about individual target setting. In fact the head stressed on many occasions their objectives are about helping each child reach their maximum potential and their value added score (or whatever the score is that shows improvement rather than overall results) is very good so I don't think it is just PR.

I don't really know anyone else who goes there which is a shame but a friend is hopefully going to do some volunteer work their as she wants to be a teacher so she may be able to give me some insight.

happyharry Mon 19-Oct-09 11:36:52

My dd is in the same position. Her school has an intake of 45. Reception was lovely as they had 2 small reception classes in ajoining classroom but were pretty much free to mix is both areas. She has now gone into a year1/year2 joint class. I had reservations as she is May born and therefore one of the youngest in the class. She was also split up from 2 of her closest friends. However, she seems to be doing fine so far and sees her friends at break time. Next year she is likely to go into a single year group class. Like op other schools were not really an option as much further away. Also think this school is one of the best in the town.

Hassled Mon 19-Oct-09 11:45:05

I wouldn't discount a school just because of the mixed class thing - there are lots of small rural schools which have only ever had mixed classes. It can be a challenge, but can also work really well.

In the school I'm involved with, it does tend to be the older (Autumn born) Reception children who are mixed with the younger (Summer born) Year 1s, - that's how, in practice, it works out, although they think about each child individually IYSWIM. There are a few of the older YrR children who are better suited to being with younger YrR children, in terms of development and maturity, etc., and vice versa. Children vary so enormously at that age that the social aspect of mixing wouldn't worry me.

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