"Impressed by the high levels of engagement, fun and enthusiasm shown by pupils in all lessons" (Tim Coulson, Regional Schools Commissioner)
Tilney All Saints has three hard-working classes;
Dolphins (Foundation, Y1 - KS1)
Penguins (Y2, Y3 and Y4 - KS1/KS2)
Otters (Y4, Y5 and Y6 - KS2)
Mixed Classes at Tilney All Saints
Mixed Age & Split Year Group Classes in Schools
Mixed age classes are formed in many schools partly because of the way in which the pupil roll is configured in any given year (i.e. the number of pupils in each different year group). It is not uncommon for this situation to change from year to year, as the sizes of year groups can vary quite dramatically. The annual intake of children at Tilney All Saints Primary is usually about 12 children and with 7 year groups, this means that the school organises the children into 3 similar size classes which are, Dolphin Class (Reception, Year 1/2 mixed Class(, Penguin Class (Year 2/3/4 mixed) and Otter Class (Year 4/5/6 mixed).
Why is the situation different in my child’s school from that in other schools?
Different situations arise in all schools. Many schools in Norfolk have less than 100 pupils and may therefore arrange groups in 3 or 4 classes. Each one of these schools has no choice but to form one or several mixed age classes. In none of these schools is the formation of mixed age classes of itself an issue or a concern. Many primary schools in Norfolk (large and small) have formed mixed age classes, and 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 lead this. However the maximum size of any class with infant children will usually be restricted to 30 children, whilst this is more flexible in KS2.
Will my child be held back if she/he is placed in a mixed age or split year group class?
Definitely not! 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 here at Tilney All Saints Primary 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.
Much work is undertaken in small groups and will include children with similar existing achievement levels, no matter what year group they are in within the class. Furthermore, the school will plan the educational experiences for pupils in all classes in ways which ensure good progression and continuity, whichever year group or class they are in.
Forming a mixed age or split year group class may mean that my child’s friendship grouping is being broken up.
Although care is taken in allocating pupils to classes, their social needs are not ignored within the wider school community. 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, break times, special activities, forest schools). Certainly when children transfer to secondary school, new friendship groupings in different subject areas become a fact of life, and many children generally welcome this situation.
What are the benefits to the arrangements?
Children benefit in many ways from the opportunity to become an ‘expert’ for the younger children and a positive role model which the younger children often aspire to. This ‘vertical’ grouping often nurtures thinking & problem solving skills, vocabulary & social competences. There is often a greater sense of cooperation and opportunities to work with a wider circle of peers. The children usually have several years with the same teacher and this provides a perfect opportunity for the teacher to develop a deeper understanding of a child’s needs and strengths and is therefore in a stronger position to better support the child’s learning. In turn the child knows their teacher well, understands the expectations they have, and can build upon a level of trust that encourages them to ‘have a go’ or try something new.
Here at Tilney we have a very supportive atmosphere, with children big and small working together at every opportunity. All our children are members of a House; Saint David, Saint Patrick, Saint George and Saint Andrew. The houses compete for points earned by children individually each week, as well as taking part in regular inter-house competitions and challenge days.