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 Post subject: mixed classes
PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2008 12:14 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2008 12:06 pm
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I have this week been presented with an issue regarding my reception age child.We chose the large primary he attends because there were 3 classes per year group all taught individually.We learned a couple of days ago although we havent been consulted yet that from September he will be taught in a mixed class of year 1 and year 2. As yet no reason has been given by the school for doing this but their numbers have been falling and I wonder if they are about to make redundancies?
What 's the general feeling about teaching mixed years with obviously mixed abilities? At the moment we are pretty concerned but as yet all attempts to get to the bottom of the issue are being sandbagged by the school.
All ideas welcome.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2008 1:45 pm 
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Location: Lincolnshire
I would guess that this is not an uncommon issue. We had it in our school when it was expanding several years ago. Some people were so upset when mixed years were introduced that they moved their children to neighbouring schools. Now the school has shrunk again but mixed year groups remain. Where numbers are changing or if there is movement generally in and out of a school it is a much more flexible arrangement to manage; if numbers have gone down the school may not be able to sustain the same number of staff as it has had.

My own experience is that it has been OK most of the time, but can be difficult if classes are very large. It undoubtedly puts more strain on the teachers. I think it rather depends what else the school is doing. In ours maths used to be streamed across two years resulting in 5 different ability classes when numbers were at their greatest, and there were quite a lot of children moving out of their main class during the day to go to either support lessons or gifted and talented groups etc etc. The children have been stretched more when in the lower age group and have tended to lose that when in the upper age class - swings and roundabouts!


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2008 2:48 pm 
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Thanks for your input. At the moment his year is split into three groups for literacy only based on ability. Within his group (the higher ability) there are five further demarkations- when the mixed class commences in September goodness only knows how many there will be. I am led to believe that the classes will be 2 x yr1, 2 x yr2 and a mixed yr1/2, each with about 30 pupils.I am also that his teacher who will be overseeing the y1/2 group is on a 1 year temporary contract like quite a few others in the school- hardly a great incentive to enthuse your pupils.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 7:19 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2008 10:20 pm
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As a parent of a 'bright' child that went through years 1/2 as a mixed class it was great to extend child in year 1. Child basically taught with other able Year 2 children whilst following a curriculum that allowed for and catered for lots of play... child blossomed under a 'temporary' teacher who inspired her class (think that the teacher wanted to 'do' really well so that school would take her on permanently - THEY DID!) I wouldn't worry about permanent/temporary status - better for school to be able to not re-employ somebody who doesn't quite match expectations...
Child didn't make so much progress following year and was really ready to move to year 3... very young year 1 group with much of teacher's time spent focusing on basic skills rather than on more able year 2 who are now florishing again in a mixed 3/4 class.
Sometimes schools choose the more able, older and mature year 1 children to go into a mixed 1/2 class - resulting in perhaps less spread of ability than in your average year 1 class.......


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 9:56 am 
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Location: Herts
My son (currently yr 3) has always been in a mixed class. A July born child, he has actually ended up the second oldest in his class. There are about 12 yr 3 children, the rest are yr 2.

Academically, I can't fault it - much. You could, after all, find a wide range of abilities within a "straight" class - a good teacher will set work according to each child's needs anyway. For my own son, this has meant he has maths and science lessons with yr 4 and yr 5. I have very mixed feelings about this. Although happy he is being challenged academically, my DS has become a little excluded from his peers. I wonder whether this wouldn't have been so prominent in a straight class.

Socially, it's very divisive - especially this year with junior & infant children in the same class. Children tend to stick to their own school year groups!

If I had a choice I wouldn't go for a mixed class. But the reality is that that choice doesn't exist for many of us. I would just advise you to give it a go (esp as your son will be amongst the youngest which people often think is beneficial) but keep a close eye on things.

Good luck!


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 10:27 am 
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Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2008 12:06 pm
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Many thanks for your posts.We have now spoken to the reception teacher
who assures us that because he is considered very bright it will be good for him to be in this mixed class as he will be able to access a more challenging but ultimately more beneficial course of learning.We are going to give it a try but remain watchful as to his progress.
His school is going through many changes at the moment having just decided to become a C OF E school and the head is waxing lyrical to anybody with the patience to listen about the fact that everthing is wonderful and the place can walk on water! However, whilst it is a decent school, when it comes to what I call really important issues like its 11 plus pass rate, it leaves much to be desired - but as I said, we'll give it a go and see how things pan out.Once again many thanks for the wise council offered.


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