As a parent of Rook’s Nest Academy, you should be aware that the annual intake number for students is 45. As a one and a half form intake this means that mixed year group classes are inevitable. Ever year staff look carefully at the best way to facilitate this. With this year’s year 6 being our final “bulge” class (60 students) we are able to move to a model which we hope will be able to be sustained for the foreseeable future.
Next year, the classes and staff will be as follows:
Nursery Ms Lenton
Reception Ms Crossland
Reception Mrs Hancock (previously Ms Fletcher)
Y1 Mrs Smith
Y1/2 Mrs Milfull
Y2 Mr Robertshaw
Y3/4 Mrs McNally
Y3/4 Mr Milfull
Y3/4 Mrs Dove
Y5/6 Mr Lai
Y5/6 Mr Morrell
Y5/6 Mrs Harper
Mixing the 4/5s across 3 classes this year has been successful in terms of attainment, behaviour and support for Special Educational Needs. This is why we have decided to repeat this model next year with the current Y2/3’s as they move up. Children will still work at their own level and careful consideration has been given to the classes they will be in. On Wednesday 30th June the children will be introduced to their teacher, classroom and fellow students on our transition day. The plans for which are as follows:
|Current year group||Plans for transition morning|
|Nursery||Come in at normal time to same area.|
|Reception (Ms Crossland 8.30)||Collected off playground by Mrs Smith|
|Y2 (Mrs McNally 8.30)||Into normal classroom and will then be taken down to the hall, where they will be sorted into new classes.|
|Y6 not on transition to OGA (8.30)||Straight to music room.|
|Rec/Y1 (Ms Fletchers 8.45)||Collected off playground by Mrs Milfull|
|Y2/3 (Mr Robertshaw 8.45)||Into normal classroom and will then be taken down to the hall, where they will be sorted into new classes.|
|Y4/5(Mr Milfull 8.45)||Collected off playground by Mrs Harper|
|Y4/5 (Mr Lai 8.45)||Collected off playground by Mr Lai|
|Y4/5 (Mr Morrell 8.45)||Collected off playground by Mr Morrell|
|Y3 (Mrs Milfull 9.00)||Into normal classroom and will then be taken down to the hall, where they will be sorted into new classes.|
|Y1 (Mrs Smith 9.00)||Collected off playground by Mr Robertshaw
As you will see, all children will come into school at their normal time, through their normal gates, to minimise disruption. The children will only have transition for the morning and therefore the end of school arrangements will also not change.
The reason for having a transition opportunity is so children are as prepared as possible for the start of the new academic year.
Here are some frequently asked questions about mixed year classes to hopefully put parents’ minds at rest.
HOW WILL TWO YEAR GROUPS BE TAUGHT ALONGSIDE EACH OTHER IN ONE CLASSROOM?
All children develop at different rates. It isn’t automatic that the oldest child in a class will achieve better than the youngest child. Children will be taught to their individual academic needs and not simply to their age. All classes in the school have a large range of maturity and attainment. Teachers will choose work appropriate to the standard a child is working at, ensuring that all needs are catered for. 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. We refer to this as ‘flexible grouping.’ 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 isn’t split into separate year group content, rather, there is an expectation for the end of the key stage. Subject Leaders have developed a progression of skills for children to work through in each year group. In the case of Maths and English, the two curricula are completely aligned, with the majority of objectives being matched with a 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.
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 WILL WE ENSURE THAT CHILDREN COPE SOCIALLY AND EMOTIONALLY WITH CHANGES IN THEIR CURRENT CLASS STRUCTURES?
Our previous 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 are enjoined to help others and seek support from their older peers rather than simply relying on adult support.