FAQs about mixed age classes and split year groups:
What is a mixed age and split year group class?
This is a class in which there are children from more than one year group.
Why are mixed age and split year group classes formed in some schools?
They are formed in schools where the PAN (Published Admission Number) is either significantly less or greater than the recommended class size of 30.
Key Stage 1 children should be registered and taught in classes of 30 or fewer.
The number of rooms is also a significant factor.
We have approximately 315 children accommodated in 11 classrooms. Two of these rooms are within the EYFS learning environment. This leaves 9 rooms for approximately 270 children in Years 1-6.
What happens at Cliffedale?
Our PAN is 45 so there are 45 children in each year group from EYFS – Year 6.
We accommodate 45 EYFS children in 2 registration classes of 22 and 23 with access across the shared learning environment.
Other classes are grouped so that the ages closest together are mixed.
Years 1 & 2 (Key Stage 1 phase)
Years 3 & 4 (Lower Key Stage 2 phase)
Years 5 & 6 (Upper Key Stage 2 phase)
We have 3 balanced, mixed classes in each phase of the school.
Are mixed classes new to Cliffedale?
No, there have been mixed classes at this school for many years.
Last year, 2Ma, 4E, 4J, 6Mi and 6Mu were all mixed classes.
Why is it different in other schools?
All schools have to group children according to the PAN and the number of classrooms.
A small, village school with fewer than 100 children, may have only 3 classes in the whole school which will have to be mixed.
An average sized school, with a PAN of 30, would have one class per year group in 7 classrooms which would not have to be mixed.
Bigger schools may have a PAN of 60 enabling them to have 2 classes per year group in 14 rooms which would not have to be mixed.
Cliffedale falls between ‘average’ and ‘bigger’ and has to have mixed classes.
How does it work for my child?
The staff at Cliffedale are very experienced at planning and delivering a Curriculum to match the needs of mixed age learning. We operate a 2 year cycle of cross-curricular themes so that children do not repeat topics. Children work towards age-related expectations and are challenged and supported according to individual need.
Some aspects of work are undertaken as a whole class, others in small groups. Some tasks are carried out individually. Small group work may be according to stage or age and may be organised across classes so that different groups visit different rooms. The children really benefit from this variety especially when they are invited to work in social groups of their own choosing.
Are there any other benefits of mixed classes?
Yes, there is a strong sense of unity across each phase as they visit different rooms, work on shared projects and create displays together.
We believe our children benefit in many ways from the opportunity to learn alongside each other; we observe children becoming an ‘expert’ for younger class mates and a positive role model which others aspire to. We hear their language skills develop through broad, social interaction. We see their problem solving skills improve as they tackle group investigations. We watch them supporting each other as caring individuals and we see their confidence grow in a can-do environment.
We aim to create an environment in which our children can learn and feel happy and their teachers know them well enough to be able to meet their individual needs.