Class types in primary schools

How we manage class sizes

We use two types of classes to help manage class sizes.

Composite classes

A composite class is formed with children from two or more different year groups, for example, P3 / P4 class. This might happen when the numbers at a particular year are too large or too small to form a class but not large enough to form two classes in a year group.

Guidelines for schools state that the main factor should be age. Selection by age avoids discrimination that may result from other methods.

The key requirement is for teachers to meet the needs of individuals. Classes follow the same curriculum with the same assessments. Children are taught at their own level and assessments are carried out when a pupil reaches a particular level rather than a particular age.

Classes with more than one teacher

Nearly all classes are now taught by more than one teacher at some time during the school week.

This happens because

  • teachers have a maximum of 22.5 hours of class contact each week but pupils have a school week of up to 25 hours
  • newly qualified teachers have a reduced number of hours in the classroom
  • specialist teachers may be used for certain subjects such as music, art, languages and physical education.

The feedback from teachers is that generally pupils enjoy the benefit from being taught by more than one teacher. This experience also prepares the pupil for secondary school.

Pupils meet their new teachers and classmates before the school year ends.

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