Class Structure

At William Stukeley CE Primary School, our intake number is 40 children per cohort – although, out of necessity, we do have an additional 20 children within a year group, in Key Stage 2.

Our school is divided into 10 classes. Therefore, some classes are necessarily mixed-age classes:


Class
Year Group

Ducks

Reception

Robins

Reception

Woodpeckers

Year 1

Kingfishers

Year 1 /Year 2

Doves

Year 2

Herons

Year 3

Owls

Year 3/ Year 4

Swans

Year 4

Kestrels

Year 5 / Year 6

Falcons

Year 5 / Year 6

Eagles Year 6

FAQs:

Why do some schools have mixed age classes?

It is fair to say that different situations pertain in all schools. Several schools in lincolnshire have pupil numbers which necessitate mixed age classes.  In none of these schools is the formation of mixed age classes an issue, nor a concern. There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that being in a mixed age class has any detrimental effect whatsoever on the education of children in that class.

Do mixed age classes have fewer pupils in them?

Sometimes this may happen within smaller settings, or when the needs of the children require this. The maximum size of any class within ks1 will usually be restricted to 30 children, however this is more flexible in ks2.

How will two year groups be taught alongside each other in one classroom?

The ways in which learning and teaching are organised in primary schools means that teaching and work is tailored to the needs and current achievement levels of individual pupils. The staff at the school are very experienced at planning and delivering work to match the needs of mixed age learning.  They provide challenge for the more-able children and support for those needing more help - whichever year group they are currently in. Furthermore, the school plans educational experiences for pupils in all classes in ways which ensure good progression and continuity.
All children develop at different rates. It isn’t automatic that the oldest child in a class will achieve better than the youngest child. All classes in the school have a large range of maturity and attainment. In the majority of lessons, the children will start the session together, with the teacher targeting questions at individuals or groups of children at an appropriate level. Children will then be provided with appropriate tasks to consolidate or practise what they have been taught, with the teacher and / or teaching assistant working with children who require additional assistance, or who need to be challenged to explore concepts in greater depth, or learn something new. On occasion, groups of children may be removed from whole class teaching in order to facilitate this.

How will teachers plan, ensuring coverage of both the year group curriculums, and preventing repetition of content?

With the exception of maths, english and science, the curriculum content is not split into separate year group content, rather, there is an expectation for the end of the key stage. Faculty leaders at william stukeley have developed a progression of skills for children to work through in each year group. Curriculum areas such as history and geography will be taught on a two-year cycle, ensuring that content is not repeated, unless it needs to be built upon. In the case of maths and english, the two curricula are completely aligned, with the majority of objectives being matched with similar but slightly trickier objectives for the older year group, if appropriate. Ensuring coverage of national curriculum objectives for both year groups in the same classroom will therefore be easily facilitated by normal classroom practice. In science, the year 5 children in swans class will be taught the same curriculum as the y5 children in falcons class, therefore ensuring coverage of all statutory requirements.

How will we ensure the highest academic expectations for all children?

Both national and local data for performance of children at the end of ks1 and 2 suggests that being placed in a mixed age classes has no negative impact on children’s academic achievements. This is supported by educational research, with some studies suggesting that children often perform better when placed in classes with a bigger age range. A mixed age classroom means that the children will have greater flexibility to learn with children of their own standard. Children who find aspects of the curriculum more challenging will be supported in the same way they have been in single year classes. Children working above the expected standard will be provided with work which both deepens their understanding and moves them on to explore new concepts. As part of our curriculum, learning will continue to be focussed on explaining reasoning and problem solving, both of which extend children’s understanding without them having to access a separate curriculum. Rich texts will be carefully chosen, ensuring that they are easy to learn but contain the relevant sentence structures and vocabulary to stretch children at the appropriate level.

How do we create the new classes?

Although care is taken in allocating pupils to classes, their social needs are not ignored; in general terms it is likely to be good for children to experience classes with different classmates so that their circle of friends and acquaintances can be extended beyond the traditional age boundaries. Where new classes are formed, it is of course, perfectly feasible for schools to create opportunities beyond the standard curriculum for pupils to maintain contact with friends who have been allocated to other classes (such as at lunchtimes, special activities, pe etc.) Certainly, when children transfer to secondary school, new friendship groupings in different subject areas become a fact of life, and this situation is generally welcomed by many children.

How will we ensure that children cope socially and emotionally within their current class structures?

Our experience of mixed age teaching shows us that children thrive in a mixed age class. Children learn to form wider friendships and relate to broader groups of children, creating a classroom atmosphere where children help others and seek support from their older peers, rather than simply relying on adult support.

How will we ensure that year 1 children cope with the transition into a more formal classroom environment?

The EYFS and Year 1 and 2 teachers work closely together to ensure that the transition from EYFS to a more formal classroom is managed effectively. The transition from Foundation Stage to Year 1 is carefully planned for those pupils who have not yet achieved a good level of development, by the end of Foundation Stage. The autumn term for Year 1 incorporates play based learning, as well as structured adult learning sessions, to aid transition to the formalities of a KS1 classroom.