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-Policy on Splitting Classes

Policy on Splitting Classes


In the interest of providing the best education for all students, it may from time to time be necessary to divide and combine class groups into mixed classes, which are smaller in size and offer a better pupil-teacher ratio.

Aims and Objectives of this Policy
•To provide a framework for the splitting of classes
•To outline the criteria on which children are selected to be placed in mixed or straight classes
•To outline the criteria for placing children in particular mixed-class groups
•To set out the supports which may be used to ensure the best learning outcomes for all children in mixed classes
•To limit the enrolment of new children into split classes, subject to Section 29 of the Education Act.

Framework for the splitting of classes

At the time of planning the classes for the coming year, the Principal will look at the overall numbers in each year group and the number of teachers available to teach them. He will decide how best to organise classes with a view to providing the best educational opportunities for all children.

Criteria on which Children are selected to be placed in mixed or straight classes

In consultation with the class teacher, and if necessary with previous teachers of the classes involved, lists of possible groups are drawn up. Children who to date have shown an ability to work independently are considered able to cope better in a mixed class, where from time to time the classes are taught separately. Children who have special learning needs, at either end of the learning spectrum are generally deemed to be better left in a straight class, all other things being equal.

Criteria for placing children in particular class groups

When dividing a class into groups, to be placed in separate classes, there are certain criteria to be taken into consideration:
•Initial split of the classes will be based on age with the younger members of the senior class and the older members of the junior class forming the split class.

•It is considered best to form mixed-ability groups. Therefore there may be same amendment to the age based rule to help maintain a mixed ability class. The ability of the pupil will be determined by teacher observation, and test results.
•The dynamics of the class must be considered. Emotional, behavioural and social factors which could upset the dynamic of the new class will be taken into consideration when forming new groupings
• This decision will lie ultimately with the Principal, who must consider the needs of every child in the class
•It would be the intention that once a new class is formed, every effort would be made to keep that class together going forward.

The supports which could be made available to children and teachers in mixed classes

The Principal, the Class Teacher and Learning Support team will consult on how best to organise the learning support for the mixed class. In some cases, the Learning Support Teacher may work in the classroom with the Class Teacher, in a team-teaching arrangement. It is possible that the Learning Support Teacher may work in the classroom supporting one child or a small group of children, with the Class Teacher doing the main teaching of the lesson. Another arrangement for Learning Support which may suit the class is for either the Class Teacher or the Learning Support Teacher to withdraw small groups of children. Occasionally, especially in the case of Senior Infants/1st, 2nd/3rd, 4th/5th it may suit the classes better, if the teaching of Mathematics is taken separately by the Class Teacher for one class and the Learning Support Teacher for the other class.

All of these arrangements must be considered on a class by class basis, from year to year.

Enrolment of new children into split classes

The rationale behind this policy is for the formation of smaller classes within the recommended pupil-teacher ratio. The enrolment of new children into the split class is to be avoided as much as possible.

The allocation of teachers to mixed classes

It is the duty of the Principal as per Circular 16/73 to assign teaching duties.

Constructing and Reconstituting Split Classes

In June the teachers and Principal will attend class formation meetings. In line with the criteria set out for splitting classes, they will draw up a list of pupils for the classes to be split.Class lists are finalised in June and the pupils teachers and parents will be informed of their new class and teacher before the start of the school holidays.

It is the intention of the school that no pupil will spend his entire primary school days in  a split class. Accordingly, the Principal and staff will also consider reconstituting split class into single level classes when  teacher pupil ratios allow for it. This class reconstitution will be decided in June and the parents/pupils of those classes concerned will be informed before the start of the school holidays.

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