Our Pupil Admission Number (PAN) is 45. Schools are financed on a model of 30 children per class. In Key Stage 1 children are not permitted to have classes above 30. This is however, permitted in Key Stage 2, though wherever possible we like to avoid this. Therefore at Greenleas, we have no choice but to consider an organisational model which includes mixed aged classes. We are aware that some parents do have a concern about a mixed aged class structure, so we always make parents aware of our organisational structure prior to parents making the decision to apply for a place at Greenleas Primary School.
During the life of the school there have been a number of different ways that mixed aged classes have been organised. The arrangements are primarily based on the professional judgements of class teachers and the Senior Leadership Team and consider what is in the best interests of individual children and classes as a whole at that time. We always want the best for our children. Our staff in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 are very experienced and are aware of the complexities of teaching mixed classes. They work extremely hard to ensure that teaching is always effective.
Our current structure is:
- 2 EYFS classes: Up to 45 children
- 3 Year 1/2 classes: Up to 30 children in each, 90 in total
- 3 Year 3/4 classes: 30 children in each, 90 in total
- 3 Year 5/6 classes: 30 children in each, 90 in total
Our school hosts the Deaf Resource Base (DRB) for Wirral.
This is part of Wirral's ‘local offer’ for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.
Our Deaf children are valued members of our school and fully included in all aspects of school life. They learn alongside their mainstream peers in class and additional support is provided in the Base classroom, where appropriate. This includes specialist speech therapy, sign language lessons and support for curriculum work, where needed.
The Deaf children are encouraged to have a positive Deaf identity and have regular sessions where they study BSL with a Deaf teacher and a Teacher of Deaf.
Pupils throughout the school are encouraged to value the cultural diversity that our Deaf children bring to the school and have the opportunity to learn BSL in a club, during assemblies and of course, on the playground!
The Base enhances the inclusive ethos that is already embedded at Greenleas.
The information below may help with any questions you may have about our provision.
Mixed age classes have the following benefits:
- There are increased opportunities for flexibility in groupings, enabling learners to work with the appropriate ability, regardless of age
- Children are viewed as unique individuals; a mixed age class lends itself specifically to this approach
- The teacher focuses on teaching each child according to his or her own strengths – learning is highly personalised
- Mixed-age classes encourage a spirit of co-operation where learners are more likely to support each other than compete
- Giving older learners the chance to support younger learners socially builds their confidence and leadership skills. The younger learners also benefit as they see their older peers modelling positive, mature behaviours
- Older children model more sophisticated approaches to problem solving, and younger children are able to accomplish tasks more effectively because of the modelling by older children. This dynamic also increases the older child’s level of independence, confidence and competence
Challenges and Solutions
Teachers of mixed age classes face the challenge of responding to a wide diversity of learners within their classroom - this is the norm in any primary classroom and high-quality teaching and learning successfully addresses the full range of diversity.
Teachers skilfully weave the curricula together to cater for all learners, creating a bespoke experience that is tailored to the class and the individuals within it. Areas of learning are regularly revised and revisited in English and Maths - most themes having significant overlap between year groups (e.g. addition in maths and prefixes in spelling taught across all year groups, at different levels. This is the case with most of the Maths and English curriculum. Where there is no overlap of content, specific year group objectives will be planned and delivered separately. In some subjects, we use a two - year rolling programme. Most lessons take place as a whole class although staff plan creatively so that pupils are taught what they need in the way that will help them learn best.
We work on a rolling programme of topics and themes. This is monitored and tracked by subject leaders to ensure full coverage is achieved. Foundation subject expectations are set out over a Key Stage, with the additional flexibility to deliver content earlier or later, based on the learners’ needs. The content taught is aligned fully with the National Curriculum for each age group, so where the National Curriculum gives single year group objectives, these will be covered by the correct year group. This ensures that learning is progressive for all learners.
How do we achieve the best outcomes? By doing what we do well every day!
- The teacher is a facilitator and a coach, in addition to being an instructor, they have excellent relationships with the children in their class?
- Well-experienced teaching assistants support the class teacher meet the additional needs of children
- Learners in each age group engage in learning tasks appropriate to their level of learning
- A socially collaborative classroom is encouraged: children help each other and collaborate flexibly
- Flexible grouping is skilfully used: learning is flexibly organised in the whole class and includes adult-led groups, individuals within groups, collaborative groups, and individuals under the supervision and knowledge of the teacher
- Overarching Theme/Topic: The same general topic/theme in the same subject is covered for all learners, they all receive the same entitlement. No work is repeated the following year.
- The quality of the learning tasks is high: There are a range of opportunities for open-ended, explorative, and problem-oriented learning and well as acquiring factual knowledge
- Formative assessment is used well: To observe and diagnose how a learner is learning and is intended to improve teaching and learning
- Opportunities created for working with single age groups: where this is appropriate, both socially and academically e.g. specific curriculum areas, enrichment events, projects etc..
Will my child be held back if she/he is placed in a mixed age or split year group class?
No. There are no evidence bases or published studies to suggest that that being in a mixed age class has any detrimental effect whatsoever on the education of children in that class. 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 Greenleas are experienced at planning and delivering work to match the needs of mixed ability 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 the educational experiences for pupils in all classes in ways which ensure good progression and continuity, whichever year group or class they are in.
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.
For September 2023, children have been asked who they learn best with and our allocations have ensured children are with at least one friend that they have chosen.
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 Greenleas, 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):
- social learning group
- emotional development
- readiness to learn
- stage of learning
- gender and age (balance of class and year group)
- additional needs
All these factors will be taken into consideration by the Headteacher and class teachers 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. However, when finalising allocations to classes the final decision is made with strong professional judgment as to where each child will best flourish in both their personal, social and academic achievements.