Organisation of Classes
Grosvenor Park Primary School has 45 places available each year.
Our Foundation Stage (Reception) department houses two classes (each with around 22/3 children). Both classes share one large open-plan teaching space.
The Key Stage 1 department has three classes catering for Year 1 and 2 children; class size legislation ensures that these classes do not hold more than 30 children in each class.
The Key Stage 2 department has six classes catering for children in Years 3 to 6; the school aims to keeps these classes with around 30 children in each class.
Every class in our school (assuming a class size of 30) benefits from AT LEAST a 1:15 child: adult ratio, as each class is supported by a well-qualified teaching assistant (TA) as well as the class teacher. We are lucky that many of our TAs are also qualified teachers.
In addition to the class-based staff, the school also employs a Learning Mentor/Playworker (who supports children at playtime and supports children’s emotional development).
Part-time teachers facilitate “planning time” for class teachers.
Grosvenor Park recognises that all children are different and learn at varying rates. Therefore, a range of teaching styles is employed to suit the needs of differing stages of development and to cater for the requirements of particular subjects. We aim to extend every pupils' learning capacity in preparation for the next stage of their educational career and their future lives.
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New parents often have questions about mixed-age classes.
Teaching a mixture of ages, year groups and abilities in one class is more common than might be expected. All local education authorities in England (including Lancashire) have schools operating mixed-age classes, and, according to the Department for Education, the number of schools taking this approach is rising.
We believe that there are great advantages in ‘vertically grouping’ our classes. International studies have shown that children can develop cognitively and socially through interacting with older and younger children.
It has been proven that children in mixed-age classes generally perform better than in straight ones. One important fact to have emerged is that children benefit greatly from the opportunity to become an 'expert' for younger children to learn from. Younger children look to the older ones to teach them and older children view the younger ones as in need of teaching and support. Educationalists have argued that this can nurture thinking skills, problem solving skills, vocabulary and other social competencies. In our mixed-age classrooms, we believe that this level of interaction between children has been effectively achieved and there is a great atmosphere of co-operation.
In every class, there is a wide range of abilities and interests and, having two year groups together, makes no difference to how teachers plan. Our teachers plan work to meet the needs and current achievement levels of individual pupils. Also consider that mixed-age groups enable more able younger children to work alongside older children who are working at a similar level, thus providing greater opportunities for their learning to be extended. Likewise, older children who are not yet achieving age-related goals, benefit from being taught by a teacher for more than one academic year and will not feel isolated, as they may do in a single-age class.
Due to careful planning, we ensure that all children have full coverage of the National Curriculum over a two-year rolling programme and no child will repeat topics.
How to arrange the mixed-age groups in our school has been well thought out. There are lots of models to choose from (for example using a child’s ability or using their age); we use an alphabetical structure. When assigning classes, we rotate alphabetical groups so that, as much as possible, classes with siblings are avoided. The reasoning behind having mixed-age classes across the whole school (as opposed to the traditional model of a Year A, a Year A/B and a Year B) is so that we could establish cohorts of 15 children who will stay together as one group throughout their time with us. We also consider this a fair and equitable arrangement for all children. In a traditional model, the composition of each class is changed every year and we felt that was far too disruptive.