St Nicholas’ offers composite classes, meaning that we combine year groups into one class. Year 1 & 2 children have their lessons as one, likewise Year 3 & 4 are together and Year 5 & 6 also. Whilst this is somewhat unusual in a British system, it is utilised as the norm in a number of countries around the world who enjoy excellent education systems, and there are a number of benefits to the arrangement;

  • Children are provided a wonderful opportunity on a social level to understand and therefore meet expectations more quickly. Older pupils in the class have an opportunity to be role models, normally something only reserved for the eldest pupils in a School. Thus, children in Year 2 are given the chance to set a positive example to younger pupils and can take on responsibility. As such, younger children are provided with an example of the expectations from their peers, and not just for their current age group, but for the future as well, helping us to embed high standards for all.
  • Children are provided with stronger support academically, as they have exposure to a wider range of activities. When employing composite classes, there is a much greater emphasis on differentiation in lessons, meaning that teachers are able to provide a greater breadth of activities. As such, a Year 3 child whom understands a topic is able to obtain access to more challenging Year 4 materials rather than simply completing more of the same, and by the same logic, if a Year 6 child is unsure of a concept, they have an opportunity to familiarisethemselves with similar activities at a lower level to help reinforce and remind. This means that in each lesson, every child is able to engage at the appropriate level to ensure effective learning.
  • Pastorally, staff are with the children for two years rather than one. This means that we are able to build an even stronger level of trust and support for children to deal with any uncertainties or worries that they may have.

Composite classes bring with them a great deal of positives, and we are delighted to be able to use them effectively at St Nicholas’. This arrangement supplements our focus to help each child on an individual level, and brings a greater deal of success to every one of our pupils.