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Tips For Mixed Reception/year 1 Class Needed.


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After having 4 years of teaching a class of 16 reception and 4 year 1's who have been selected because they would benefit from another year of EYFS I have been told that I will need to keep a greater number of year 1 pupils this September. This is because the key stage 1 class have accumulated a greater cohort than in past years and the general feeling is that it's not fair that I have 20 children whilst they have 30.

I am in a major panic, am not sleeping and need advice. I have worked hard to turn reception practice around in the school since I started there and have achieved a 'good with elements of outstanding' from Ofsted two years ago. Since then I have worked hard to improve things further in the hope of achieving the excellent status next time around.

I just don't see how my current practice is going to work with the extra year 1's and the burden of trying to cover their objectives and expectations bearing in mind in Key stage 1 they have 5 adult led literacy and numeracy activities per week. The school also does APP and big write which I assume I will need to do as well.

I have 1 full time TA but we operate free-flow and have a balance across all 6 areas of learning. Whilst one of us does an adult led activity the other is always available to observe and support adult initiated and child initiated. I just don't see how this will be possible anymore if I have to give 5 adult led sessions per week for both literacy and numeracy to the year 1's. Surely my reception children are going to loose out. I will not have the same level of time to observe and make assessments and this is going to have a knock on effect on my data.

I know many of you out there have probably worked with a mixed class for many years and I am hoping you might be able to offer advice with how you plan and some idea on the level of adult led provided. Please cheer me up because I feel like I could sit down and have a good cry right now.

PS: I have never worked with the primary strategy document and whilst I do recall the literacy and numeracy strategy documents from the dim and distant past the primary strategy website looks like a minefield. Do the units have to be followed exactly as they set them out?

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After having 4 years of teaching a class of 16 reception and 4 year 1's who have been selected because they would benefit from another year of EYFS I have been told that I will need to keep a greater number of year 1 pupils this September. This is because the key stage 1 class have accumulated a greater cohort than in past years and the general feeling is that it's not fair that I have 20 children whilst they have 30.

I am in a major panic, am not sleeping and need advice. I have worked hard to turn reception practice around in the school since I started there and have achieved a 'good with elements of outstanding' from Ofsted two years ago. Since then I have worked hard to improve things further in the hope of achieving the excellent status next time around.

I just don't see how my current practice is going to work with the extra year 1's and the burden of trying to cover their objectives and expectations bearing in mind in Key stage 1 they have 5 adult led literacy and numeracy activities per week. The school also does APP and big write which I assume I will need to do as well.

I have 1 full time TA but we operate free-flow and have a balance across all 6 areas of learning. Whilst one of us does an adult led activity the other is always available to observe and support adult initiated and child initiated. I just don't see how this will be possible anymore if I have to give 5 adult led sessions per week for both literacy and numeracy to the year 1's. Surely my reception children are going to loose out. I will not have the same level of time to observe and make assessments and this is going to have a knock on effect on my data.

I know many of you out there have probably worked with a mixed class for many years and I am hoping you might be able to offer advice with how you plan and some idea on the level of adult led provided. Please cheer me up because I feel like I could sit down and have a good cry right now.

PS: I have never worked with the primary strategy document and whilst I do recall the literacy and numeracy strategy documents from the dim and distant past the primary strategy website looks like a minefield. Do the units have to be followed exactly as they set them out?

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Hi

 

I understand how you feel. I'm fairly new to teaching (2 years) and in my NQT year taught a mixed YR/Y1 class - 19 YRs and 7 Y1s, it was a nightmare! I still teach the same class but only 16 YR and 7 Y1s and it is still difficult. I have to do APP and Big Writing for the Y1 and they have to cover what the other Y1s are doing in the other class and I too feel the Reception miss out. We do the 5 sessions of Numeracy and Literacy per week and my TA and me take a group each session and try to do observations somewhere in between (usually post its very rarely long obs) I also have to cover the Foundation subjects for the Y1s so my YRs do miss out on their CIL time as I seem to have to do so many carpet sessions. I'm still working on the best way to do it and look forward to any replies. I got good from Ofsted too but I know it can be improved it's just knowing how! MY County EYFS adviser couldn't really help with incoporating the Y1s.

I use Hamilton Trust they have some good mixed aged planning for Literacy and we have bought in to the Abacus numeracy scheme which has mixed age planning and is usually based on stories which makes it more fun for the YRs.

 

Good luck with it all and please don't worry I'm sure you will work out the best way to do it and if I can help any more please come back to me.

 

Jules x

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I cant offer any practical advice but I wonder how the Key stage 1 class that you mention has 30 pupils unless it too is mixed age?

 

How many more yr1 pupils will you have and how will they be selected? You may find that actually you dont need to do much differently to how you operate at the moment and will you not have the benefit of already knowing these children so you can more easily move them on?

 

The units of the literacy and numeracy framework are not statutory, the objectives are. You may find it helpful to look at the progression documents that are available for both literacy and numeracy to help you join the dots!

 

Good luck but dont panic now about September. Lots of things could change between now and then but do let your HT know how you are feeling and ask to go and see other schools with similar age mixes to help you.

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I just wanted to add some reassurance really. My own children's school is very small, and the first class is a mix of Yr R/Yr 1 and Yr 2. The teacher manages wonderfully, as I'm sure you will do. You might have to accept some adaptations to your previous approaches, but that is par for the course in teaching really isn't it. Rather than focusing on maintaining the foundation stage philosophy, focus on what those specific children will most benefit from, if you see what I mean.

 

The main thing she does is to do lots of small group work - so the Yr R children will be doing free choice, while the Yr 1 and Yr 2 will be doing focused activities, with some adult support where possible (she also has TA support). I'm sure it's not at all easy for her, but the children become very independent learners very quickly.

 

In many ways she can't have a 'true' foundation stage classroom, in the sense of there being so much opportunity for child initiated learning. However, the children cope and honestly my little girl is loving being in Reception even though she is 'missing out' on certain aspects of a CI provision. I would say her reading and writing is probably advancing much more quickly than if she had been in a truly foundation stage environment (sorry but that is how it is).

 

Probably the trickiest thing is carpet time, I've watched the teacher at work and she will introduce a concept while at the same time teaching the same thing at Yr. 1 and Yr. 2 levels. So for instance the Yr. R might be counting to ten, while the Yr. 1 are counting up in tens. The more able children pick up on elements of the Yr. 1 curriculum, so it's great for differentiation.

 

Apparently the Hamilton Trust is very good for mixed age materials.

 

And finally, just to say that the school was judged outstanding in a recent Ofsted and the inspector apparently completely understood the need for a mix of CI and adult directed learning in a mixed age class. (Although having said that it is of course not about Ofsted really it is about doing the best for the children - have to keep reminding myself about that as we are due an ofsted!)

Edited by Guest
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Thankyou to all three of you for replying. I went straight to chat with the HT this morning about how I was feeling and I wish I had gone to her earlier. She was very sympathetic.

It seems her concerns about about the class size in the Y1/Y2 class arose because we keep getting sent more children on appeal. It turns out they actually have room for 12 of my 16 year R children which would in practice leave me with 4. This is normal practice for my school, as I mentioned before, as these 4 are selected feeling they would benefit from a further year of EYFS.

She was concerned that if she allows the Y1/Y2 class to start in September with 30 she may well end up with more children arriving on appeal and taking the class size over 30. She felt that if that happened and the late arrival was academically more able she would be in the position that she would have to send one of the less able year 1 children back to my class in order to accomodate them.

She has now taken this up with admissions and it seems that for now I will be able to send my normal contingent up to class 2 in September. We would then have to contend any further appeals.

She has told me to stop worrying and to carry on as normal. This has relaxed me a little and I am going to try and put the whole thing behind me but the whole episode has really shown me how quicky things we work to achieve can so easily be upskittled. I'm certainly not going to take for granted the practice and set up I have now.

I really feel for anyone who is in the same situation and thankyou again to all of you for supporting me and rallying me around.

xx

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