Composite classes

Your child in a composite class

  • Some children are never part of a composite class whilst others never experience anything else. You can be confident that the professionalism of the staff in your school ensures that your child is working within a programme appropriate for his/her age, ability and aptitude. At both school level and education authority level quality control procedures exist to ensure that your child is making good progress within nationally agreed curriculum guidelines.
  • National guidelines on the curriculum indicates that pupils should proceed through learning experiences tailored to fit their personal level of attainment. This means that pupils in all classes will follow programmes constructed to help them progress at their own level. This applies to all pupils regardless of whether or not they are in a composite or single year stage class.
  • In addition the school will make every effort to involve pupils of any one year group in activities which bring the whole year group together. In this way pupils will be able to continue to identify with children of the same age especially at important times such as transfer to secondary school. At the same time the school will also try to ensure that the natural identity of each primary class group is maintained.

What is a composite class?

  • Primary schools have pupils at seven broad year stages. Primary one and primary seven. A year stage is defined as a group of pupils entering primary education at a common date.
  • Composite classes are those where children of one, two or more year stages are grouped together to form a class.

Small schools

Composite classes under 70

  • In schools with roll 70 or less, composite and/or multi-composite classes are a standard feature of the school.
  • Whether these are two or three-four stage composite depends on the number of children at each year stage.
  • Small schools are skilled and adept at providing appropriate teaching and learning opportunities and maximising the benefits of multi-age groupings for their pupils.

Why are composite classes formed?

  • Schools are staffed to agreed standards based on the total number of pupils within the school regardless of the numbers of pupils at each year stage. This means that head teachers are required to take management decisions to organise classes to make best use of available staff resources and space. Balancing up the various factors involves both educational and organisational considerations.

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