As mentioned in the last Principal News Update – we are nearing the end of the class placement process for 2017, having spent a significant amount of time configuring class groupings based on a range of factors as previously outlined in a post earlier in the term.
In placing students into classes, we have considered; professional teacher judgements, the social and emotional needs of students, behaviour, gender, friendship groups, and special needs. Parent input was also considered as per the optional invitation earlier this term. Requests from parents to have specific teachers or not to have certain teachers or students in their child’s class – were not considered.
- On Wednesday morning 14th December, students will have the opportunity to visit their new classes for 2017. They will spend 30 minutes in their new class with their new teacher/s and classmates.
- A letter with information about your child’s placement and end of year report will go home on this day.
- We ask parents and caregivers to have positive and supportive conversations with their child regarding their new class, having trust in them to be able to adjust to the challenges of a new learning environment and to make new friends. Students generally adapt to their new class quickly. As the new school year commences we encourage parents and teachers to establish positive relationships.
- Please note – Moving a student from one class to another inevitably changes the environment of multiple class groupings and for this reason, it is extremely difficult and rare for changes to be made.
Composite (Split) Classes
Each year, class groupings are configured based on student enrolments across each year level. This means that composite (split, multi-age) classes will occur, which changes from year to year. Grouping students in mixed year levels is a practical necessity and in fact provides flexible options to place students. It is most common in many small and country schools.
Occasionally, we have a small number of parents who are concerned about their child’s placement in a composite class, particularly in the upper year level of a composite and usually relating to having their child’s learning needs met. This is a valid concern, not just for students in composite classes, but for students in straight year level classes too.
Within any given year level there can be a span of 2-5 years of development. This is why our teachers work in professional learning teams across different year levels to plan, differentiate and assess learning to cater for varied students abilities. The wide range of student abilities is no different from any other classroom. Research by John Hattie informs us that the effect of composite classes has little impact on student achievement.
Respected world education visionary, Sir Ken Robinson says that the traditional 20th century model of schooling separates students based on their date of manufacture and often nothing to do with their strengths and interests. Increasingly, schools (Montessori / Waldorf) are realising that students can benefit from being placed in multiage groupings – based on their strengths and interests as well as having the opportunity to experience peer mentoring and leadership.
Teachers working in tandem – other roles.
Teachers are the same as most other people in the workforce in that they are entitled to work in a part-time capacity. This is common practice in most schools. There will be some classes taught by two teachers, both of whom will be working in a part-time capacity. This is referred to as tandem teaching. Teachers in these situations meet regularly to plan learning programs as well establishing shared classroom routines and practices.
There may also be instances of a class teacher taking on an additional leadership role within the school or Partnership of schools for 1 or 2 days per week. In these situations we do our best to employ relieving teachers who know the students and school well.