My child (6yrs 8 mths) has gone back to school and has been placed in a composite class (yr 1 & 2).
I wasn't ecstatic because it was hard enough to accept she (because she is an early June birthday) would not be moved to Yr 3 based on exceptional ability alone, but to be placed with kids that are still learning the foundations takes me to a whole other level...
Are composite classes suitable for a child that last year was assesed and (by national standards) is "above the standard"?
( At yr 1, she was working at an end of yr 2, start of yr 3 level)
She has always been advanced for her age but is not 'tested'.
She has told me her work is "too easy" and I know that my heart is telling me to get to the school and 'fight for her academic rights', however the way to approach or who to talk to are concerns or am I being too fussy?
I want her to be challenged and thriving not underwhelmed and stagnant.
Reflecting upon my grandson, who I dont consider to be even particularly academically inclined (although at end of year 0 he was as much as about a year above the standard in some areas) ..... and I would even have reservations about him being in a year 1/2 class next year. He is in a year 1/2 class this year and hes 5yrs 9mths old.
I would expect him to at very least be in a Yr 2 class next year - but hopefully in a year 2/3 composite - which is where I would expect to find an older year 2 child who is more academically inclined if not in a yr 3 class.
In your situation I would definitely be advocating for my child - but I wouldnt START at fussing/fighting for rights - and to be honest - these days I am sufficiently jaded that I wouldnt trust a school where I had to get to the stage of fussing/fighting for rights anyway.
Is there someone at the school you do have confidence in specifically? I feel more than comfortable in discussion with my grandsons Principal on a PEER basis - I would approach him directly due to that.
Darned education system - its like trying to play a game of chess but no one will tell you which pieces are yours to move!
The short answer is yes, you should advocate for your child, but brace yourself because it might be a fight.
The longer answer - this is what I see as a downside of composites - they work where there is a bit of streaming used to manage the range of abilities that the teacher is dealing with. They don't work where a random selection of children from two or more year groups are put together. Your child would be better in a year 2/3 composite class rather than a year 1/2 or just a straight year 2 or year 3 class. Your first step is to talk to the teacher about your concerns, ask to see specifically how the teacher intends to cater to your child's academic needs - ask for assessment data. If you get no success that way - there is no plan or no current assessment data then the alarm bells should ring and you need to go further up the ladder and talk to whoever does class placements, could be a DP or the Principal.
In my experience, year 2 is often used as a "consolidation year" by schools - which means that they catch up the children who are not achieving and supposedly fill in gaps in those who are. What this means is that the advanced child gets bored and frustrated (or spends a year doodling and looking out the window, like one of mine did!). If you hear the word "consolidation" then you know you are dealing with this attitude.
Advocating for your child can be soul-destroyingly hard work, but watching a child get bored and frustrated at school is worse. Sorry that this sounds harsh and negative, but unfortunately I haven't had the best experiences in advocating for my own children.
Sorry I have had a very negative experience with advocating for my child who really had a problematic year 2 for the above mentioned reasons, if he had been accelerated then, things would have been great. Unforuntately major opposition to acceleration. I have found composite classes work ok when they are they younger and can work with the top of the older group, but unfortunately this doesn't even work out.
It gets harder and harder to get them accelerated (moving from friends etc) as they get older - I say make the stand now, get her moved now and you may not have the problems with boredom that we have faced for the past 6 years.
Good luck, its a real battle. Hopefully your school is more accommodating than ours.
This is obviously a pretty common issue. My daughter was born beginning June and my son end of May. My daughter was also a yr 2 in a 1/2 composite class. However due to her dyslexia, the school didn't feel she was performing at a high enough level to move her. Instead they put her into a yr 3/4 class for certain subjects. Plus she attended the gt programme that they had at the time.
My son on the other hand was easily at the top of the 0/1 class at the end of his first 6 months and the school was considering moving him straight into yr 2. However by that stage I had had enough of continual advocation for my children and we left to homeschool. This is our 5th year of homeschooling and even though my daughter is prob average in spelling and writing, we've just been looking at curriculum for the year and both her and her brother (aged 11 & 9) are doing NCEA level 1 or year 9 science, history and geography - simply because these are subjects that they love and have had the opportunity to pursue at home.
Do advocate - do make a fuss! You may not be liked or appreciated at the school when you're finished, but as a parent you are your child's main advocate and you cannot sit back and let them be forced into a life of average. Especially when every fibre of their being wants more.
My eldest composited Yr5/6 - quite a mature child so great to get away from problematic and babyish Year5 group she had been through school with (some year groups are amazing and others are terrible, even the teachers can not like them as a group, so maybe first check out the quality of the year group your child is mixing with?) ... but then of course she was put back in with them at Year 6. And repeating the work. I moved schools after 6 months of a composite experience with younger child in Yrs 3/4 which was just grim - and knowing there were composite classes all the way up (and her year group were ruled by over indulged children with a feral group of 8 girls that were out of control) with difficult parents the school was desperate to please (favoured parents on the Board and PTA etc.). I moved because the school composited to allow for their lack of resource - not because it was best for the child. Find a school that is managed well and doesn't composite and change - best thing i ever did and I cannot believe the difference in school experience and teacher attitude just a few miles down the road in next borough! Take a good look at your other schooling options; my experience with teachers is that they mistake parental concern for the child with criticism of their teaching - and behave accordingly! They are often quite full of themselves but it isn't about them at all .. .we just want the best for our children. Good luck.
I've just moved my children to a school that does composite classes. I asked for extension for my son who is Y6 this year, and advised that I had changed schools specifically to get that extension as the previous school hadn't provided it. He has been placed in a Y5/6 composite class. I was very surprised, and not a little disappointed, but the school have asked me to give the teacher a chance. I have privately agreed to give her one term on a trial basis!
Having said that, she has started off the year by individually testing each child to ascertain their levels and needs, and is making them set their own goals for each subject based on those test results. They have a goal book that they must record their goal, and how they will achieve it. My son has never 'owned' an academic goal in his life. He's done homework or work (or not done in most cases because it was unnecessary and he just cruised through) because he was told to, no other reason. To have a goal that HE has set, that he has to work towards.... That could be a very good thing indeed. The teacher has acknowledged that he needs extension and seems very confident that she can provide that, even in a Y5/6 composite class. She has also mentioned that she'll make sure he's included in the G&T program the school runs.
So although I have concerns, I have allowed the teacher a term to prove herself, and she seems to be starting off well. It's just wait and see now.
Having said all that, I very much regret not stepping in way back in Y1/2/3/4/5 and demanding MORE for my child. So many wasted years....
My son has just started Yr2 this year and we are having much the same problems to the point where I had to stay home from work today because for the first time since he was 3 he threw a tantrum worthy of a 3yr old in need of supernanny in order to not go to school, he is in a composite class yr2/3 however he is currently at stage 7 math and level 30 reading-way above his year level and also way above any of the other children in his class, he attended GEC last year term 4 but we moved him to GKP this year which is working alot better for him, and his school principal is EXTREMELY supportive, however it is his teacher this year who is completely doing his head in as she is of the rote/repetition learning type and he constantly has to rewrite rewrite rewrite until it has 'no mistakes' he's even been told his writing is ugly (he absolutely hates writing but has pretty average handwriting for a 6yr old) and on Monday for math was required to write out the 2times tables ten times. I have a meeting with his teacher and principal on Tuesday to figure out a learning plan for him however unfortunately his teacher doesn't seem to care that he is 'gifted' and only sees him as a troublemaker who doesn't listen (because he's so bored!), I'm now researching homeschooling as an option even though he absolutely loved school last year, it's a very confusing and frustrating time for all of us at the moment trying to find a line between not pandering to his every whim while also making sure he's getting what he needs (and also not looking like an anal parent who spoils her child haha)
I really feel for you and for him - fancy having to rewrite and rewrite I can only imagine his frustrations. Working at those levels I would be either pushing (real hard) for acceleration or like you said looking into home schooling.
Our poor kids - a teacher really makes all the difference and if they won't meet their needs - they are going to cause problems in the classroom.
Good luck with your meeting with the principal and teacher.
My son (Y6 in a Y5/6 composite class) is doing amazingly well, and I no longer have any concerns for him. I'm thrilled with what his teacher is doing for him.
On the other hand, my Y2 daughter is in a Y2/3 class, and is struggling with the reading - it is too easy. She told her teacher it was too easy and he said he'd test her reading level this week. This week I asked her for an update and she said 'It's not about how easy the book is, it's about answering the questions.' And how hard are you finding the questions? 'Oh, they're easy!' Grrr... I think it's time to get her tested so I can leverage some action on her behalf.