14 Jul 2014

Next Year's Y5/Y6 Split Explained

Dear Parents and Carers of Year 5 and 6 children from September 2014,

I am writing to explain the recent decision to split the Y5 and Year 6 year groups across 3 classes. Class size was the dominant factor when making the decision. We have high pupil numbers in Year 5 and Year 6 next year and I do not want to risk having classes of 30 plus in Y5 or Y6.

The most important factor that impacts on pupil progress is high quality teaching. We have three excellent teachers moving to Y5/6 together with a teaching assistant who is undertaking her final teaching assignment before becoming a qualified teacher. The second most important factor in the provision of high quality education is high quality marking and feedback. High quality marking and feedback will be much easier in a class of 20 than it would in a class of 35+. For that reason, I have made the decision to split the classes.

The decision to split all classes, and not just create a separate Y5, Y5/6 and a Y6 class, was taken due to the fact that it would be impossible to choose the children to go in each class in a fair and equitable manner. The children were split on the basis that every child will have at least one friend and that there would be a balance of boys and girls and abilities.

As you may hopefully know, at Bielefeld School we teach to meet the needs of every child. Whether  your child is Level 5/6 or Level 2/3 we ensure that they are taught so that they can make at least good progress and are challenged and engaged. From September, a year 5/6 split will present no more of a challenge than having separate Y5 and Y6 classes. The ability range across next September’s Y5/6 combination will be roughly the same as the ability range across our current Y6. We will ensure that every child’s needs will be met by high quality teaching.

Another benefit of having 3 teachers working as a team is that, for the first time, we will be able to set the children in maths across 3 groups. This will aid the teachers when focussing on accelerating progress and ensuring all children achieve their best. We have traditionally set the children at Bielefeld School in maths by splitting them into two groups. By having 3 teachers, and having 3 groups, we will be able to attain even higher standards.

The current curriculum has been reviewed in light of the changes to the National Curriculum. In upper KS2 (Y5 and Y6) we have changed to a 2 year topic cycle so that next year’s Y6 or Y5/6 groups do not cover the same topic material. Near the crucial Y6 SATs time, the Y6 children will have extra SATs preparation as usual. This will focus on what the children need to do to achieve their very best in the SATs test. The Y5s will receive the same SATs preparation and tuition the following year.

More details will follow when we have completed the timetables and the children have had a few weeks to settle in. I am confident that we will continue to ensure that your children achieve at the highest possible level.

On a final point, when I last experienced Ofsted as a class teacher and DHT, my teaching was rated outstanding, as was pupil progress and achievement. The class I taught at that time was a mixed Y3/4/5/6 class of 15 children. I am therefore very confident that the 3 teachers in Y5/6 are, collectively at least, ten times better teachers than I ever was!

Together with the specialist provision in Art, Science, Music and Modern Foreign Languages you can be confident that your children are getting the best possible deal. Should you still feel you need to discuss this matter further, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank you for your continued support. Best wishes,

Mark Westmoreland