Composite Class Policy
Policy on formation of Composite Classes
1.Background and Rationale
The allocation of mainstream teachers to a national school under the DES is dependent on the enrolment figure on 30th September of the previous academic year.
This school is generally assigned 15 mainstream teachers. If the number of mainstream teachers and classes are not the same it will then happen that we have a composite (or split) class, that is, two class levels taught by one teacher in the same room.
2. Aims and Objectives of this Policy
To provide a framework for the splitting of classes
To outline the criteria on which pupils are selected for placement in mixed or straight classes
To outline the supports which may be used to ensure the best learning outcomes for all pupils in composite/split classes.
Framework for the Splitting of Classes
The Principal has a central role in the decision-making process for the splitting of classes (See Circular 16/73 and CPSMA Handbook)
The Principal examines the projected numbers in each class group for the following academic year. Following this, the projected numbers are examined in “bands”, e.g. Junior/ Middle/ and Senior bands.
Options are chosen. Generally the preferred option is dictated by the actual projected numbers at a “band” level, e.g. the largest band levels will need all straight classes the following year.
The band level with the smallest numbers is where the option for two straight classes and a composite class will have to be.
At the May staff meeting the Principal outlines the projected numbers for staff and a final decision is made regarding where the composite classes will occur in the following school year.
This decision is influenced by the projected numbers.
Criteria on which Children are selected to be placed in composite or straight classes
Because we prefer not to have any child in a composite class on two consecutive years, there is generally a “shake up” of most of the classes each year, e.g. if a child is in a composite class one year, we try to ensure that she/he will be in a straight class the following year.
The Fourth Class pupils in a Third/Fourth composite go into a straight Fifth Class the following year while some of the older children in the straight Fourth Class may be chosen for the composite Fifth/Sixth the following year.
Class composition / make up changes year on year.
The main criteria for allocating students to certain classes is age. Based on their date of birth, all the children in a class are ranked. The oldest children of the junior class and the youngest children of the senior section of the respective classes are placed in the composite class, e.g. the oldest of a Fifth Class and the youngest of a Sixth Class are placed in a composite Fifth/ Sixth Class.
There are some exceptions to this:
Children with special needs are treated on an individual basis.
In the case of a minority ratio in a cohort of boys / girls the minority cohort will be in the same class.
Children with particular family/home circumstances - bereavement or health issues may be treated on an individual basis.
At senior level, there can sometimes be a need to separate children who may have a history of not getting on with each other, bullying, confrontational issues etc. The opinions of class teachers are taken into account in this decision.
The Supports available to pupils and teachers in composite classes
We will endeavour to keep the composite class smaller than the straight class. In some cases, the straight class may have over 30 pupils.
The Special Education team in the school is available to give additional support to the pupils in a composite class.
These arrangements are considered on an individual basis year on year.
3.Criteria on which teachers are assigned to composite classes
It is the duty of the Principal as per Circular 16/73 to assign teaching duties. Every teacher on staff is expected to be willing to take turns at teaching a composite class.
4. Informing Parents
Parents are informed which class their child will be in the following year with their child's report and booklist by post in June. Classes will not always know their teacher's name in June, as the teacher appointment process may not be concluded until August, according to Department guidelines.
Parents are reminded that the process of forming new friendships is an essential life skill which is important for all our pupils to develop and that a positive and supportive attitude from parents is a key element in achieving a successful outcome in the new class groupings.
5. Grievance Procedure for Parents
If a parent wishes to discuss the composite class allocations further they should make an appointment to discuss the matter with the principal.
If they feel that the matter remains unresolved, they may make a written complaint to the Board of Management, following the regular Complaints Procedure.