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Class composition

Discussion in 'Scotland - Primary' started by triadplus1, Jan 5, 2011.

  1. Could someone give me the reference/regulation for determining the placement of children into classes? As well, I'm interested in the practice of leaving the classes formed in p1 unchanged all the way through primary school.
    At my school, class placement is determined by the child's birthday, so you have 1 class of older p1s and one class of younger p1s. Why is this? And why do the classes not get mixed up each year?
    Who benefits from keeping the classes the same?
    Your thoughts/comments are welcome.
     
  2. Could someone give me the reference/regulation for determining the placement of children into classes? As well, I'm interested in the practice of leaving the classes formed in p1 unchanged all the way through primary school.
    At my school, class placement is determined by the child's birthday, so you have 1 class of older p1s and one class of younger p1s. Why is this? And why do the classes not get mixed up each year?
    Who benefits from keeping the classes the same?
    Your thoughts/comments are welcome.
     
  3. Milkandchalk

    Milkandchalk New commenter

    I'm not aware that there are any regulations for this. It is more up to the discretion of the school I think.
    I don't like the idea of having the same class for 7 years. The children need to mix and mingle and get used to change and transition. I suppose the children who benefit from this may be those who are on the autistic spectrum or find interacting with others very difficult. These children also need to be exposed to change and supported accordingly to deal with it.
     
  4. I was given the impression that age was the accepted determining factor. I agree with you, I think mixing the children would be beneficial for them (including children on the spectrum) as well as for teachers.
    Is there any research on this, I wonder.

     
  5. Flyonthewall75

    Flyonthewall75 New commenter

    I suspect this is a throw-back to the days when there were separate Easter and August intakes.
    Where there is a 2 class intake, some schools still decide to divide the classes by age so that there is approximately a 6 month age spread in each class.
    The problem with this arrangement is that it restricts flexibility in later years. As children come and go, you can end up with two numerically inbalanced classes within the year group because the HT may feel obliged to place any new pupils in the age appropriate class.
    I suspect most schools with a 2 class intake now simply form two P1 classes with a mix of pupils covering a 12 month age spread. As new pupils arrive, they can then simply be placed in whichever class has fewer pupils.
    Most LAs remind parents at enrolment that their children are likely to experience a composite class at some time during their primary schooling. This is fairly inevitable where funding is limited and staffing tight. LAs usually recommend that composite classes are formed by date of birth as this is the most objective method to avoid claims of discrimination by parents.
    If P1 classes have initially been formed using the older and younger class method it can also lead to real problems if at a later stage they have to be restructured into straight and composite classes because it is the children born in July / August who lie 'on the cusp' who experience the most disruption, through being shunted back and forth between classes in subsequent years.
    I don't believe there are any regulations as such as to how classes are formed or subsequently restructured but most schools would hope to maintain continuity and progression. In practice it is sometimes a bit of a lottery simply because of financial constraints. Yes, most parents would be delighted if their child remained in a straight class of 17 pupils with their friends, and a teacher of their choice, for their entire primary schooling. It's just not always practical.
    There is also something to be said for children learning to adjust to change so that they can develop the resilience to cope with challenges later in life.
     
  6. I'm interested in the rationale for this too, as I never encountered it until I started teaching here. In the Canadian schools where I taught, the accepted practice was to mix up the classes every year through their primary years.
    In addition to this, setting in language and maths was frowned on and even forbidden outright on the grounds that it is elitist, divisive, and generally problematic for a whole range of reasons. Whole-class teaching with mixed ability grouping and differentiation by instruction and task were the norm.
     

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