Mixed Age Teaching

What is Mixed Age Teaching?
Mixed age teaching is when two or more year groups are combined to create one class of children. This is especially common in small, rural schools where the pupil intake numbers are less than the usual class size of 30. At Frieth we have 5 classes to accommodate 7 year groups of pupils from Reception to Year 6 with approximately 130 pupils in the school. There is more information on how the class structures are organised on the next web page. 

What happens when your child goes into a mixed age class? 

Things that do happen!

They do make good progress, have individual attention, maintain friendships, make other friendships, play together, work together in smaller classes and experience another year group. They all access the correct curriculum for their year group, age and stage of development, although the pathways to the same learning will be different according to the class teacher, resources and needs of the pupils in the classes. For example: a year 4 child in a year 4 and 5 mixed class will be taught the year 4 curriculum, whilst a year 5 pupil in a mixed year 4 and 5 class will be taught the year 5 curriculum. 

Things that don’t happen!

They are not kept down or held back and they definitively do not miss out. Just as children reach all their baby milestones at different rates, so too their stages of their learning journey will progress differently as they move through the school.  The most important factor is how they complete that learning journey by the time they finish year 6. Our data shows that by the end of year 6 the younger, summer born pupils do as well as and sometimes better than their non-summer born counterparts. There is no academic disadvantage or advantage to being in either the younger or older part of the cohort. (See the Summer Born Attainment Report 2016 - 2018)  

What are the benefits to mixed age teaching?

There are however many proven benefits to mixed age teaching, such as:

  • There is a greater focus on individualisation.
  • This results in better differentiation.
  • Pupils form wider friendships.
  • Pupils relate to broader groups of other children
  • Younger pupils get the benefit of experiencing being the oldest in their class and the responsibilities that go with this
  • There is greater flexibility of learning opportunities

What is the whole school approach?

We work hard throughout the school to ensure that all children in a particular year group maintain their group’s identity. Opportunities will be created for all children in the year group to work together, take part in workshops and trips together, sit together at dinner time and play together. We hold a transition day for the children to meet their new teachers and spend time preparing them for the changes that will happen in the Autumn term.

 What are the teachers’ responsibilities when teaching mixed age classes? 

All teachers are responsible for the individual development of every child in their class. Mixed year group classes do not change this responsibility. At Frieth there is already a wide range of needs within each class and year group and the teachers are already proficient at adapting the curriculum to meet the pupils’ individual needs across the curriculum. 

 In mixed year group classes the teachers take the objectives and plan a programme of study to teach these objectives effectively across the ability range of the class. At times pupils will work at the same tasks but at different levels of ability and at other times the pupils will do completely different work specific to their needs within that area of learning. At all times the teacher is finding out about each individual child’s abilities and is planning and evaluating accordingly in terms of the differentiated outcomes of the tasks the teacher is asking the children to perform.