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Berry Public School

Berry Public School

Growing In Knowledge

Telephone02 4464 1158

Emailberry-p.school@det.nsw.edu.au

Class groupings

Classes are organised upon student numbers, they can comprise straight years or can be composite classes.  Composite classes or split-years will have students from 2 year groups in the same class. 

We take great care in ensuring that every student is placed in a classroom that best meets his/her needs. Factors such as learning and social benefits are of prime importance.

Schooling in NSW is organised into seven stages of learning across primary and secondary school

Learning Stages

Primary School from Kindergarten to Year 6 (K-6) encompasses four stages of learning.

  • Early Stage = Kindergarten (starting from five years of age)
  • Stage 1 = Years 1 and 2
  • Stage 2 = Years 3 and 4
  • Stage 3 = Years 5 and 6

Special groupings also occur across the school to promote students' academic and social learning. These include graded mathematics groups in Stages 2 and 3, reading/spelling groups from Stage 1 and buddy classes from Kindergarten to Year 6.

We have a highly productive learning support team that analyses all student performance data, then provides  advice to staff and support for students in the form of small group learning sessions and individual assistance with School Learning Support Officers (SLSOs).

Class Structures - Single Year Vs Multi-Age (Composite) Classes

Various studies into class structures have concluded that there is no difference in the academic performance of students attributed to single year vs composite class structures.  

Research does show far more important factors that influence student performance include the quality of teaching and teacher/student relationships. 

At Berry Public School we tend to have composite classes primarily dictated by the variability in grade enrolments, but also because of a range of factors that benefit students.

No class should ever be viewed as a "single year class" due the wide disparity in age, physical development, cognitive development and social development that naturally occurs in each grade level. Even in Kindergarten each year  there is often an 18 month age difference between the oldest and youngest students due to the Department enrolment policy. Children can start Kindergarten at the beginning of the school year if they turn 5, on or before 31 July that year. By law, all children must be in compulsory schooling by their 6th birthday.

Kindergarten

We attempt to keep Kindergarten as single year classes to assist with transition programs and because the Early Stage 1 curriculum is discrete from Stage 1.

When the numbers dictate that we form a K/1 Composite class, the teachers consult with the pre-school teachers to select the most confident, academic and socially mature of the older students in the cohort.

Year 1 to Year 6

For all other years the structure of the classes is dictated by the variability in grade enrolments. The enrolment figures rarely neatly fit to allow grade-based classes, and even when they do we generally create composite classes for reasons including:

·       The NSW Syllabus documents are organised as Stage Based continuums.

·       There are benefits relating to; student independence, responsibility and study habits. For example, younger children within a composite grade generally aspire to emulate older children in their work, and older children enjoy leadership and mentoring opportunities that lift their self-esteem.

·       The classes enhance social development by offering a wider range of friendship opportunities; and encourage more co-operation and tolerance.

·       They allow for greater separation of students with behaviour and social issues, which minimises disruption to teaching and learning. 

·       They ensure the classroom teacher is focused on working collaboratively on stage programs that ensure differentiation of learning activities that meet the students at their point of need. 

·       Student age/year level does not dictate their academic level. In reality a year 3 student could be working at any year level outcomes from year 1 to year 6 (and beyond). For example we often have Year 3 students perform at Year 9 level in school assessments and national assessments.

See also:

https://data.cese.nsw.gov.au/data/dataset/multi-age-or-composite-classes-in-nsw-government-schools

https://www.brisbanekids.com.au/composite-classrooms-pros-cons/

https://www.smh.com.au/education/many-parents-dislike-composite-classes-but-the-evidence-does-not-support-their-anxiety-20150413-1mk4g9.html