Primary School

Ready, Respectful and Safe

Mixed age classes and split year groups

Being a small school with year group numbers set at 20, classes in KS1 and KS2 are mixed year groups classes.

What is a mixed-age and split year group class?

A mixed-age class is defined to be a class in which there are children who are from more than one year group of the primary school. On occasions, year groups will be split between classes.
This is the case at Kirklevington Primary due to our small cohort numbers.

Therefore, Year 2 children and Year 5 children are the cohorts which are split between two classes. The expertise of the staff is used to ensure your child is placed in a class with their best interests in mind (RRS Article 3).

Will my child be held back if she/he is placed in a class with the young year group?

Definitely not! The ways in which teaching and learning 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 classes. 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, which ever year group or class they are in.

Are there any 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 can 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.

I am concerned that 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 – 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, opportunities are created beyond the standard curriculum for pupils to maintain contact with friends who have been allocated to other classes (such as at lunchtimes, playtimes, special activities, trips, school performances). 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.

If a mixed age or split year group class is formed, how are decisions taken about which children should be allocated to which class?

Experience has shown at Kirklevington that we take a number of influences into consideration and make a professional judgment based on this. Split year groups are considered very carefully, depending on each cohort of children. These include (and are in no particular order of preference):

All these factors will be taken into consideration by the staff when making a decision. Parents are informed about the new organisation and opportunities are made available for any family wishing to discuss their child’s learning. The one point where we seek out parental views before our decisions are published is in the case of twins. However, it is the Head of School who makes the final allocation based on their professional judgement of where the child will best flourish in both their personal, social and academic achievements.