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Class structure (mixed-age classes)
At Hoole St Michael, our intake number is 17 pupils per cohort. Therefore, our school is divided into four classes
Due to our intake number, we operate mixed age classes at Hoole St Michael. New parents often have questions about mixed age classes. We believe that there are great advantages in having this organisation.
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 DfE, the number of schools taking this approach is rising.
Studies have shown that children can develop cognitively and socially through interacting with older and younger children. 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 cooperation. Mixed-age groups are also an environment in which more able younger children are able to work alongside older children who are working at a higher level, thus providing great 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 mono-aged 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 (unless they move from another school) will repeat topics.
We track our children's progress each term. In each mixed-age class, children are grouped when necessary according to their level rather than their age, ensuring that they are moving onto the next stage in their learning.
Our teachers' sound organisation skills, effective training and plentiful resources ensure that the myriad benefits of mixed age classes are realised at Hoole St Michael.