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Composite classes

Discussion in 'Scotland - Primary' started by TEACHER16, Nov 24, 2010.

  1. TEACHER16

    TEACHER16 New commenter

    I have applied for a few jobs and they all appear to be composite classes and I do not have much experience of a composite class and was looking for an inisight advanatages / disadvantages, is planning more difficult etc so I can look at these areas if I get an interview. Any information would be greatly appreciated :)
     
  2. TEACHER16

    TEACHER16 New commenter

    I have applied for a few jobs and they all appear to be composite classes and I do not have much experience of a composite class and was looking for an inisight advanatages / disadvantages, is planning more difficult etc so I can look at these areas if I get an interview. Any information would be greatly appreciated :)
     
  3. IMO, it makes little or no difference. Normally, a composite class has the eldest of one year group and the youngest of the (older) year group. Often this means that the range of abilities may be less than in a single year group. I have taught many composite classes over the years and I have always treated them in the same way as a single year group. Only one thing - some parents of the older children are really opposed to composite classes - thinking (wrongly) that they will somehow be held back by the younger children. I have found that the younger children have a positive effect on the older ones.
     
  4. TEACHER16

    TEACHER16 New commenter

    How is this explained to parents? Is there any evidence we can show / tell them? Thank you so much for your response. I was just worried that maybe you cant do the same work with them all. What happpens if it is a p4 to 7 or p3 - 5 does it still make no odds?
     
  5. Hope this helps - speaking as a parent - my own children went to a village school in the North of Scotland - where multi-composite classes are the norm. They all had a fantastic education and the older children "helped bring the younger ones on." The teacher planned for the multi-composite class with clear differentiation in the same way as a teacher would in a "straight" class. Having taught in multi-composite, composite and straight classes my only advice would be - enjoy the experience as it will benefit you throughout your teaching career. Don't worry about the parents as most of them will have been taught through the same system and know both the advantages and disadvantages. Good luck.
     
  6. Flyonthewall75

    Flyonthewall75 New commenter

    Whilst even multi-composite classes can work, it is important to remember that village and country schools are a special case. Pupils have to be grouped in that way or the parents don't have a local school.
    In an inner-city, or leafy-suburb school, the issues can be different. How composite classes are constructed, and how they are re-structured from year to year, can have a bearing on how they are accepted by parents.
    If, as is common, they are constructed on the basis of date of birth, there will be a year's difference in oldest and youngest pupil - the same as a single stage class. Therefore for the purposes of group teaching, it should be possible for the children to be taught in much the same way as a straight class.
    The problem comes if a HT decides that the two year groups must be taught a completely separate curriculum with separate planning. That's when the whole process becomes very complicated and, in my view, makes a nonsense of having a composite class.
    Another issue is how the composite is split. If the balance is, let's say, 12 of one stage and 13 of another, parents are less likely to complain. However, what if, for unavoidable reasons, the split is 19 and 6? That is likely to raise all sorts of concerns about children being 'held back' or split up from their friends.
    Another problem can arise if a school has a two-class intake and still uses date of birth to form an older and younger class. The younger class will have an age spread, from March to July/August and the older class a similar age spread from July/August to January/February. As those two classes progress through a school, pupils will leave and others will be enrolled and placed in whichever class is appropriate for their date of birth which can lead to two numerically imbalanced classes within a year group.
    This, in turn, can then lead to the need for composite classes to be formed, and re-formed, in subsequent years. In this situation, it is the children born in July/August who lie on the cusp and they are the pupils who tend to experience the most disruption. Of course, some schools will decide to composite using criteria other than date of birth. Whilst this may in fact be the best arrangement, it is invariably subjective and can lead to all sorts of discrimination claims by parents.
    So, in short, there is no reason why composite classes cannot work just as well as single stage classes. However, a lot depends on how they have been constructed in the first place, how a teacher is expected to teach and plan for the class and the care that is taken to avoid unnecessary restructuring in subsequent years.
    Parents may be quite happy with the arrangements or they may, with some justification, be unhappy that their child's education is being messed about. For any relatively new teacher, I would suggest the best approach would be to plan for the composite class in much the same way they would plan for any other class.
    Sometimes it is best to leave the wider issues of how, and why, it is necessary to have a composite class for the Head Teacher to explain. [​IMG]
     
  7. TEACHER16

    TEACHER16 New commenter

  8. TEACHER16

    TEACHER16 New commenter

    Thankyou for all the replies. In one school I am looking at there is a three stage composite class where one of the years there are only three children in. Would this be difficult to plan for? I am hoping to go into other schools and get more experience of a composite class.
     

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