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Teaching Mixed Age Classes


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Does anyone have any information about teaching mixed age classes - particularly teaching reception and year 1 children.


I would particularly like to know about timetabling areas of learning and provision for both stages.


I'm new to this site - so apologies in advance if this has posted in the wrong place.

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I know this probably will not help much but you shouldn't have a mixed Rec and Y1 class anymore as they are different Key stages! No-one in thier right minds would have a mixed Y2 and Y3 would they?


My advise would be to learn through play as the F/S suggests but ofsted would slaughter you for it as far as Y1 go. Unless you have a permanent assistant one year group or the other will lose out. Are you top heavy with one year group? Do you have a nursery class? Another rec class?


Will think about this one and post what I come up with.

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Hi Christine -

Firstly welcome in and thanks for posting! :D


Secondly, there are many mixed reception and year 1 classes that work successfully. With ideas moving towards acceptance of a play based year 1 format this is probably going to accelerate.


As you probably know, Wales has extended the foundation stage to the end of year 2, and perhaps the momentum should be in this direction...


By the way - what do you mean by 'Timetabling areas of learning'?


Makesensetome - do you have any direct evidence that Ofsted would strongly disapprove of a play based environment in year 1?


Some great conversation about reception/year 1 play based curriculum happened recently in this forum.


Welcome to the forum again Christine - if you're not sure of where to place topics, just place them anyway and I'll shift them into a more suitable place if necessary!


Regards, Steve.

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Hello Christine, and welcome to the site :D

Can you tell us a bit about your class, how many children, classroom layout and resources and so on? I'm sure that collectively we have lots of supportive advice :)

Many small schools have reception/year 1 mixes that work very well.....can we persuade those teachers to contribute here? :o

You are in an excellent position to show that a play-based learning environment is suitable for year 1 children too!

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I agree, Helen.


Christine, I'm not sure I've anything different to add at the moment than the contributions I made to the other topic Steve has referred you to.

I went to QCA for a discussion on making links between FS & KS1. It was led/ chairred by an independent Ofsted inspector!


I'm not convinced working in a mixed class would be easy but we are going to extend our FS principles into KS1 from September, although I'm still working with the KS1 leader to formalise our thoughts on this.

We are a large 3 form entry school so our timetable will be quite complicated but the idea is to offer formal and structured play based activities throughout the day, in a formal classroom and cross curricular areas.

I'm not sure I've explained that properly, its been a long week!! I'll get back to you to clarify if it doesn't when the brain will work!


Susan :o

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please do not get me wrong here - I strongly believe that the play based bit should continue through to year 2 at least. The ofsted problems are real ones especially if dealing with NLS and NNS.

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Thanks for the comments so far...


My classroom is resourced for reception children, although I have been promised further texts for Literacy for next year.


In September I will have 7 reception and 7 year 1 children. I am likely to gain at least 12 more reception children in January. I will have a classroom assistant for 16 hours a week.


Our school already has a mixed year 1/2 class, but this is the first year we will have to have a mixed year including reception. We have already had a classroom built to accomodate our rising numbers of children, and are now full!


Due to limitations on space, especially due to the children having to eat in the classrooms as we have no hall, most of the timetable is subject based. I have no immediate access to the out side.


I understand that most of this could be considered wrong - but I can only work with what I've got!!


Any advice would be gratefully received.


Thanks Chris :)

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Hi Christine,

What do you mean by the timetable being subject-based? I'm not a reception/Year 1 teacher, so I'm not familiar with that way of organising the environment!

Is there a way of setting up different up different areas eg a discovery area (science, maths-type stuff), language and literacy/graphics areas, etc, or is the space very limited? What scipe have you got for sensory areas such as sand/water/dough/small world/gloop?!

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Hi Helen

There is a fixed area that I have for role play, but other than that I am unable to have anything else set up all through the day. Everything has to be cleared away before lunch time. We tend to have a structured morning ie numeracy based time, followed by literacry based time, followed by 'geography' (or similar) based time. In the afternoons there are a selection of activities that the children will be required to do over a week, alongside a further selection of activities that the children can choose to do once completing a specific task. Both sets of activities include maleable, small world and sand/water stlye tasks/challenges/play. As I am the only adult setting up the classroom for most of the time I am obviously limited by the number of activities I can physically set up for each session. I also have other jobs such as hearing readers, checking spellings and keywords and visiting the nursery which are all done during lunchtime!! My head teacher and teaching assistant are both very supportive.


My initial enquiry was relating to gaining advice about ensuring both stages of learning are catered for appropriately. I had tried a few searches on the internet but couldn't find anything that covered teaching reception and year 1 children. I would still love to hear any ideas people have for planning and teaching this mixed 'stage' class!!

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  • 2 months later...

Hi Christinesheep, I do sympathise with you especially over the space issue. We alsohave rising numbers and after having a classroom taken off us and given to KS1, we now have 25% more children than we had last year. Sardines is an understatement. We havent quite got to the 'no hall' situation but we do have classes in the computer suite, and corridor areas!!!

Anyway, you are right to say that you have to work with what you have got and if OFSTED pay you a visit, they will see that- they may complain over the space issue but that would not be directed at you, but at your management and they will have to justify why they have arranged things the way they have. Are you expecting OFSTED some time soon? I know when we had ours last year, the Head deliberately made sure that we didnt have mixed classes by taking on another teacher (and hence us losing our classroom).


In terms of how you plan and assess, how are your 7 year 1? Are they the less able ones (which would make a lot of sense) in which case what you cover from the Foundation Curriculum is probably at the right level. Do you have evidence from their FS profiles that show where they are? It sounds to me from what you have said, that you need to plan for more free choice activities and this is then time that you can then do your observations for your majority reception children. Can you arrange your room so that children can self access as much as possible, and are used to putting away themselves- this may be hard work to get going if they have never done it before but pays off as you dont have to spend so much time 'setting up'.

When do you get your TA? It seems to me that whilst you have only 14 children, you could work with a group each and easily manage your lit/num that way. Once you have more children after Christmas, you will need to rethink- but one step at a time eh?


In terms of evidence, your observation will go a long way towarda that. I am never far away from a pack of post its or a digital camera- both I use all the time. You need time to plan your observation for your FS profile and also complete anything the rest of the school has to do (eg phonics, KO for maths etc) for your year 1s. Your TA should be able to help you with this .


Above all, dont feel guilty about things you cant control- been there done that, all you get is a headache and feelings of inadequacies. You are doing OK, believe in yourself, acknowledge that you are doing your best. Noone can ask more. :D

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